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Suburban Iditarod Contestant Says Competition Tough For Dogs And People

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ADDISON, Ill. (CBS) — The only Chicago-area contestant in this year’s Iditarod sled-dog race in Alaska says the competition is tough for humans and animals.

Addison’s Charley Bejna had to bow out before completing the thousand-mile race between Anchorage and Nome.

He says preparing for the mental stress of the race is the biggest challenge.

“A month before the race, I started only getting like three hours a night of sleep, because on the trail and stuff, you really don’t get much sleep at all,” said Bejna.

But Bejna has a unique physical challenge: he’s a Type-1 insulin-dependent diabetic.

“I’ve had previous in years where you’re out on the trail and you can’t test your blood sugar because everything’s you know, it’s like 50-below out and everything’s frozen,” said Bejna.

He says that was not a problem this year, but he scratched from the race when he knew his dogs — as he put it — were not having fun any more.

“It’s kind of got me motivated to do a lot more training for this coming season,” said Bejna.

Because make no mistake: he’ll be back.

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