TWO dog lovers said they were delighted to be able to represent their country in a world championship sled competition.

Craig Martin, 43, and Steve Bartlett, 60, both from Canvey took competed in the World Sleddog Association Dryland World Championships.

The event was hosted by The Alaskan Malamute Working Association and held at Firle Park Gates estate, Firle, Lewes in East Sussex.

It was the first time the huge event has been held in the UK.

The championship event saw more than 200 entries across a number of dog classes and teams from 15 countries competing.

The two Canvey racers said it was a fantastic event and experience.

Craig Martin said: “I took on the rescue class in the championships and came fifth.

“It was brilliant to be part of such a big event and mixing with the top racers in the world from as far as Russia.

“This is the first time the event has included a class for rescue dogs so it was even more special to be a part of the event due to this.

“This is probably the toughest course I have ever done because of the weather conditions and the mud and the hills.

“The dogs loved it and they get as much out of the event as we do.

“I have taken part in other race events in the past.

“Last year I took part in two races for the British Sled Sports Federation Championships.

“I volunteer with the Siberian Husky Welfare Association UK charity and have helped to rehome lots of dogs.

“I got into the racing as I had a Husky and couldn’t seem to tire it out.”

Steve Bartlett, 60, took on the two day Malamute class and came ninth on the day.

He said: “It was a fantastic atmosphere on the day.

“It was an experience of a lifetime and I am so proud of the dogs.

“My class race took part over two days and taking on the 5km course twice.

“It was a hilly course and is quite thrillseeking to take part in these events.

“I run Artic Rainbow Kennels on Canvey and so was also there to represent our kennels.

“We had lots of supporters at the event on the day which was great.

“I have been racing dogs like this for about 15 years in the UK.”