Arctic Challenge / Challenge Journal / Events / Motivation

Chemmy Alcott reveals the drama behind The Arctic Circle Race's abrupt finish

By Vicky Anscombe

When The Arctic Circle Race ended at the beginning of Day 3, we were all pretty worried about Chemmy and the gang. What had happened overnight - and why had the race been called off?

Luckily, we managed to catch up with Chemmy this morning as she was on her way to Iceland and spoke to her about how the team felt after the cancellation, the events leading up to the race being pulled and their plans for the next few weeks.

"I kept a lot in the tank on Day 2," Chemmy explained, as she thought that Day 3 would be going ahead as planned - but didn't know just how tricky the conditions were going to become. "I was sharing a tent with Max, and at 3am on the third day, we were awoken by a storm - it was like our tent was being thrown off the ground."

The day before, the weather had worsened; thick fog had hampered the racers and slowed everyone down. Chemmy admitted that if she'd followed official race guidelines she'd have been stopped as she couldn't see the flag in front of her (guidelines state that competitors must always be able to see the next flag). Simply by guessing, she kept herself en-route.

An hour after they woke up on Day 3, the racers had been ferried to safety; five tents had been blown away in the night, and the race organisers made the decision to stop the race in just under an hour. The competitors were taken down the mountain on ski-doos, and waited in a local sports hall in Sisimuit for their luggage to arrive.

"It was a massive, massive let down for everyone. However, there was thick fog and gale force winds, and safety always comes first - I know that well. Most people were gutted that they couldn't carry on, but we are still really proud of ourselves; we managed to do over 100km in the two days that we were racing.

"The weather was obviously out of our control; however, we're still so pleased we hung in there to get that far. There were 140 people who started the race and 50 had to drop out - lots of people didn't make the cut. Our achievement is still there."

Chemmy Allcott

The four other members of The Arctic V are currently in the process of recovering and planning their next epic trip, and Chemmy is now in Iceland, filming an advert. Looks like she just can't keep away from the Arctic; and with good reason. 

"The rawness and the power of the environment we were in was breathtaking," she adds. "I'll be back for The Arctic Man in 2016!"

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Chemmy Alcott The Arctic V The Arctic Circle Race skiing #WeLiveNow

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