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I always needed a goal when I was a racing cyclist, whether it was the hour record, the Commonwealth Games or the FBD Milk Ras in Ireland. I used to enjoy building my season around a single, big target.
Since being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2010, when I was 40, I have adopted the same attitude – setting myself big goals and working hard towards them. It led me in 2013 to tackle the Marathon des Sables, the six-day, 254km race across the Sahara Desert that is billed as the ‘toughest foot race in the world’.
It was savage under the Saharan sun, but I did it: I finished the Marathon des Sables. And I was completely blown away by the reaction from people, and how much it raised – in terms of both awareness of what is possible with Type 1 Diabetes and funds for charity.
Through press interest, local talks and then invitations to speak all over Britain, there was a snowball effect and I realised the Marathon des Sables was the beginning, not the end. I had to do something else.
When I began to think about what to do next it occurred to me that I should go to the other extreme: the ice and cold of the 6633ultra.com
From Eagle Plains, Yukon to the banks of the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk
A true Arctic experience - this race really does enter the Arctic Circle and can quite genuinely claim to be the Toughest, Coldest and Windiest Extreme Ultra Marathon on the Planet.
This race is only for big boys and girls unless you're mad!!!!
The 6633 Arctic Ultra is a non stop self sufficient foot race over a distance of 350 miles. The race crosses the line of the Arctic Circle, with the race continuing to the banks of the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk.
Competitors will be expected to carry or pull on sleds all their provisions for the race including food, cooking items, clothing, sleeping kit and other safety gear. Racers finish in Tuktoyaktuk and will be allowed 2 drop bags for limited essential gear at approx 120 miles (Fort McPherson) and 230 miles (Inuvik). All racers will be allowed to have a bag at the finish line for spare warm clothing etc.
Checkpoints will be spaced along the route at between 23 and 70 miles apart, where racers will be able to rest for a while and be able to prepare their own food. Hot water and Shelter are the only things guaranteed at the checkpoints.
The race is once again being organised by Martin, Sue and Kevin at Likeys together with significant help from a multitude of individuals from the UK and more importantly in Canada. All three of the organisers have raced in Arctic conditions on a number of occasions and it is this experience that they will be bringing to the 6633 Arctic Ultra to make it the most testing, rewarding memorable race that any self respecting ultra racer will ever do.