AN ANDOVER ‘musher’ is braving the snows of Norway in preparation for a dog sledding race in one of the world’s coldest climates.

Mel Andrews is currently training in the Scandinavian country as part of her training for the Finnmark 1000 km, which is the longest of its kind in Europe and held entirely within the Arctic Circle.

Miss Andrews, whose family home is in Gallaghers Mead, will take part in the race which is due to start on Saturday, March 5, 2016.

The 35-year-old, who is currently ranked the number one Briton on the prestigious Norway Ranking, will also take part in the International Federation of Sledding Sports (IFSS) European Championships which are due to be held in Norway in 2016.

Talking about her training, Miss Andrews said: “My dogs are looking really good and it is going to be so hard to choose which ones to give a place on the team.

“Its a great position to be in, especially as so many of the dogs are such good leaders.

“I am really hoping for top place finishes in both races.”

Miss Andrews’ tough training schedule includes regular runs of around 60km to 100km, which are run with long-term partner and fellow musher Nigel Garner.

This is usually followed by five or six hours of rest, in which Miss Andrews will camp out with the dogs before setting off again on another run.

After the rest the 35-year-old will take down the camp before the runs are repeated.

Although the former Harrow Way student will be gunning to win both upcoming races she will also be hoping to build up experience to take on the world’s toughest dog sledding competition, ‘The Iditarod’, in 2017.

The competition, known as ‘The Last Great Race’, will take Miss Andrews and her team of 16 dogs through 1,000 miles of dense tundra from Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast.

A good placing in the Iditarod will see her join the sport’s elite rankings and secure her place as Britain’s most accomplished female musher over long distance.

Talking the opportunity to take on the Iditarod she added: “Going to Alaska will be a real challenge as I will be flying 16 dogs from the kennel to race.

“I have a great team of handlers and support crew and a fantastic team of dogs.

“We are going to Nome with the intention of competing, not just finishing.”

In addition to racing Miss Andrews has been invited to be a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and is also leading three sled dog expeditions this winter.

These unsupported explorations will venture into Femundsmarka National Park and cover around 500km with a scientific purpose to investigate climate change.

The former Andover Leisure Centre employee also runs her own Rookie Musher Courses and a full range of Sled Dog Adventures called MAD Husky Tours.

Miss Andrews is looking for sponsors for the Iditarod 2017.

Anyone interested in sponsoring her should contact Nigel Garner: