1st place at Slovakian Championship 2020, Danubia Sled dog race 2020 (Canicross)
3rd Place at Fitmin Series 2020, Slovakia (Canicross)
3rd place at the Slovakian Skijoring Championship 2020, Oravská Polhora (Skijoring)
3rd place at the WSA SPRINT/MID CHAMPIONSHIP on snow, Zuberec (Skijoring)
Many other podiums at Canicross events in Slovenia, Italy, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary
My name is Stefan Sterk, I’m 47 years old and I live and work in Slovakia. My sport journey was definitely not typical at all. I have finished university of Math and Physics in Bratislava, Artificial Intelligence and my first job was in IT. Sport and dogs were for me just fun and relax. In 2008 I have decided to change my life and I became a Certified Fitness Trainer and I have moved myself from computer desk to the gym. Step by step together with changing my life I was changing my clients and their lives to be more sport and nature friendly. Then a little later I fell in love with running and in 2013 I have finished my first marathon. This was also the time when I have met the love of my life Jana Mareková.
Together with Jana we have learned more and more about individual mushing sports and then of course, started to spread our passion, love and knowledge to other people. Here in Slovakia these sports were rather unknown with almost no racing possibilities. That is why we started with organizing small races which became more and more popular also for people from abroad. We are founders of non-profit organisation Speed4dogs Slovakia, which organize many Canicross events in Slovakia with full support of Slovakian sled dog sport association. We are proud, that Speed4dogs was main organizer of Slovakian Canicross Championship in 2019 and main organizer of International FITMIN CUP race in 2019 and 2020.
In a very difficult COVID 19 year we have organized the very 1st International Fitmin Virtual Race in sled dog sport community. This gave to us and to many similar friends the motivation to train and race again! Shortly after, we have organized the second virtual race Fitmin with 270 starts from 31 countries! We have received lots of positive feedbacks and were very proud about this! Something almost unbelievable in the “COVID year” happened in September 2020. We have organized a real international race, FITMIN CUP 2020. We were racing 2 weekends in 3 different locations of Slovakia with our friends from UK, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Italy and Slovenia.
Another very important part of my life is deeply connected to my coaching profession. In 2018 I became certified trainer of Sled dog sports under Slovakian association of sled dog sports. Together with my life partner Jana we are searching for new talents. We love to introduce our sport to all, but specially to young generation. We organize trainings, training camps and seminars to educate people and we also train young talented people. We are very honoured, that members of our club are pretty successful at local and also International events.
Back to myself. I run with dogs from 2015. My first real race was ECF European Championship 2016 with small 15kg Pipi - mixed breed dog. Soon I have realized that to be really fast I need the breed which was born to pull. Then I got my first real sport dog, Scandinavian hound Ilvy from Stefan Donker (Europian and World 6-dogs sled champ). Ilvy is 4 years old now. She’s rather smaller hound (24kg), but very well focused female. We have won a lot of podium positions together at canicross races in Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy and Austria. Our best success is 1st place at Slovakian Canicross Championship 2020 and 3rd place in WSA SPRINT/MID CHAMPIONSHIP on snow, Zuberec in Skijoring.
Since 2020, I am a happy owner of a puppy. My second dog is a Scandinavian hound named Lucifer (currently 34,5kg in 10 months) and he is half-brother of Ilvy. I am very much looking forward to our first competition.
The main rule of our training is variability. My main concern is to train hard, but to see that my dogs love the activity we do together. I never let them to be bored and that’s why we also train on bike or scooter and in winter we love skijoring.
Since I want my dogs to train and compete hard, I definitely support them with the best food and food supplements. That’s also the reason, why I’m lucky to be part of FITMIN TEAM! Fitmin gives to our dogs all macronutrients and micronutrients they need. Together with Jana we have 4 sport dogs and we feed them with raw meat + PURITY line dry food. Essential part of their food is also FITMIN joint & prevention (APOTHEKE line) and I love to use treats FITMIN PURITY SNAX NUGGETS in obedience training. Last but not least is Fitmin salmon oil, which supports healthy heart and gives my dogs nice and shiny look of fur.
The very important part of my life with dogs is also spending as much time as possible together to build up a bound which can later help in the critical part of the race to support each other. We spend all vacations together with our dogs, we eat together in the same room with our dogs and we also sleep together in the same room with our dogs. And that is the main spirit of our success.