Arctic Challenge / Challenge Journal / About The Challenge

What does the challenge involve?

By Vicky Anscombe

The three-day event is not for the faint-hearted; competitors can burn thousands of calories per day, and at night they sleep in tents in the snow in temperatures that sink as low as -30ºC. There are rest stops available where hot and cold drinks and high calorie foods are provided, but if you haven’t done your training, you’ll soon become unstuck.

There are about five drinking stations available each day throughout the route, and competitors race for an average of eight hours a day. Before each race starts, the race jury will inform the runners how many hours they have to race that day.

Competitors are encouraged to cover 53.3 km a day in order to complete the race, but they can ‘split up’ the sections by racing harder on day one, and taking it easier on days two and three, covering 57km first then 46-47km for the next two days. What people do in the evening and when they go to bed - and get up - is up to them.

The race presents its own unique set of challenges. As well as facing exhaustion, frostbite and sunburn, people competing in previous races have had to deal with water bottles freezing, snow blindness and insomnia due to over-exertion.

You’re entirely self-reliant for the entire race - taking care of your equipment, feeding yourself and making sure you’re in the right place at the right time are up to you. However, the race organisers take care of security - patrols pulled by dogsleds are on hand to make sure everyone stays safe, and at the end of the day, exhausted skiers are ferried to the camps by snowmobiles. The camp’s distance from Sisimiut ranges from 6-40km.

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