In 2015 I celebrated my 50th birthday by taking on the world’s toughest and coldest 300-mile Arctic race – the Yukon Arctic Ultra.
The race was the toughest physical and mental challenge of my life. I walked through ice fields with blocks of ice as big as houses, crossed frozen rivers with huge cracks that went down for meters below and one night saw fresh wolf prints in the snow. One of the toughest things to deal with was the extreme fatigue, I fell asleep while walking and hallucinated many times.
I was walking for about 16 hours a day while pulling a 20k sledge containing everything I needed to survive. The -50 C temperature left little room for error with food going solid, material brittle, zips failing and any bare skin prone to frostbite.
It was really important to me that this challenge wasn’t just about completing the ultra. I had just started working with Humanity Direct when I heard about girl called Grace who need surgery so she could hear properly and return to school. It was all the motivation I needed and I was determined to fund the operation.
Crossing the finishing line and discovering I had won was very emotional, I had been so focused on reaching the next target and the next checkpoint that when I finished I was delighted, but emotionally drained. It had taken 6 days and 19 hours and I had lost a stone in weight.
I’m really proud to have won the race but knowing that Grace got the surgery she needed and was able to go to school was even better. I’m looking forward to taking on this virtual Run to Uganda challenge except this time my parents and my granddaughter will be able to join me.
To sign up to our free-to-enter virtual ultra and help run or walk the 6318 miles to Uganda please visit: bit.ly/2Agj2hA