Paul Fosh from Monmouth will have to endure frostbite-threatening minus-30C temperatures in the arduous Yukon Arctic Ultra race
Paul Fosh from Monmouth will have to endure frostbite-threatening minus-30C (-22F) temperatures in the arduous 430-mile Yukon Arctic Ultra race in north west Canada, with just 13 days to finish the trek.
He’s no stranger to the Arctic Circle, having completed two previous races in the Yukon, including the Ultra 300-mile course in 2016, but this will be his longest yet.
The 52-year-old father-of-two, who runs Paul Fosh Auctions, said: “I love the challenge, both physical and mental but know that probably less than a quarter of those entering the race will complete it.”
Last year, because of the extreme conditions and the toll it takes on the body, only one person finished the 300-mile race.
And tragically, experienced ultra race athlete Roberto Zanda from Italy lost both his lower legs and his lower right arm due to catastrophic frostbite damage sustained during the race.
Property auctioneer Paul said: “Over time, you become thrilled to be part of the small percentage that have completed the race.
“I have invested a lot of time, effort and money to get myself out there and I want to do myself proud. I don’t ever want to fail at anything I do.”
All of the 441 entrants, 41 of them in the 430-mile race, are entirely self-sufficient and carry all their belongings, food, clothes, tent and other equipment on a sled called a pulk.
“A lot of people underestimate the mental challenge," says Paul.
“There are those of us that almost enjoy the pain, but if it was too easy there would be no pleasure at the end.”
He is aiming to finish within 10 days by averaging around 43 miles a day, and said: “I know my level of fitness is right to achieve this goal, I have been doing a lot of training for this one as it is the most demanding race I’ve ever done.
“Someone once told me to train hard and play easy. Admittedly, that was in the context of rugby, but I think it can apply to this too.”
Despite the 13-day time limit on the race, there will be very little time for sleep, which means that competitors will spend a lot of time walking both day and night.
“Walking in the daylight is much easier psychologically because you’ve got such fantastic scenery to look at.
“At night, you could be anywhere, you’ve just got your headtorch beam to follow.
“One of my biggest challenges is complacency."
posted Wednesday January 30th