Arrowhead 135. Northern Minnesota USA. A gruelling deep winter ultra-endurance race for either
bike, ski or run over 135 miles with potential temperatures hitting -40ºC. This year Lee Peyton
took part on foot, finishing in 59 hours.
7 a.m. 30th January, Lee Peyton set out on the Arrowhead 135 Ultra. Here are some
extracts from his report as he grinds away at the long distance.
0 hours: slightly terrified. There were a lot of scarily-efficient looking runners wearing lycra,
although in those temperatures that was never going to be something to brag about. In terms of
average seasonal temperatures it wasn’t massively cold and I could foresee that being a problem.
At the race briefing they talked of temperatures of mid –teens Fahrenheit (minus 9C) and all my
gear was designed for far colder than that (during the Yukon Arctic Ultra in 2011 the temperatures
dropped to minus 42C)… I start the race with Steve Ansell, a Californian, who informed me
that over the course of the past six years he has completed 20, 100 milers. To put this into
perspective, I had completed one (the Yukon Arctic Ultra) and failed at one (the West Highland
Way race, dropping out injured at 70 miles). I’ve done a couple of marathons and a dunter of a
mixed bike, run and kayak up in the Outer Hebrides but I’m not a runner. I can plod with the best
of them but amongst such vaunted competitors I felt a bit out of my depth. I end up running well
over half the race with Steve, meeting up at various points over the 135 miles.
circa 39 hours: As darkness fell I could feel the exhaustion creeping up on me. I would find myself
walking along and then wake up as my knees buckled or I would stop to rest on my poles
again to wake up as I teetered backwards. We decided that this was inefficient and had a quick
“shiver bivvy” (according to Steve it’s basically a quick snooze on top of the pulk to be woken
by your body’s shivering) which temporarily alleviated our mental fatigue. Had some cracking
hallucinations during this period.
for his full accounts check out the following posts.
for all race info check out the Arrowhead site: http://www.arrowheadultra.com
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