The World’s Coldest and Toughest Ultra Race
Available in DVD
Just as you are thinking that winter is behind you for the season, here is a video that will likely make you think that you never saw winter over the last 12 months. Join 30 athletes as they set out along the Yukon Quest Trail to travel either a marathon, 100 mile, or 300 mile race distance. Eight nations are represented as these athletes set out on the third annual event. With mean temperatures in the -20° celsius (-4 degree Fahrenheit) range, and with marathon distances between checkpoints, these competitors haul their own gear to facilitate survival on the trail.
This 2005 DVD release puts you right into the action as this race starts in Whitehorse the day after the dog sled race sets off on their journey. There is little previous introduction as to the preparation of these athletes, yet the intensity growing as each event gets completed and the longer distances remain. The marathon has the top three runners finishing within nine minutes of one another with the winner coming in at 14 hours, 46 minutes. This time alone may illustrate to you the conditions encountered up the hills and through the valleys in this harsh, yet beautiful, territory.
"I could not get the rest of my clothes off. Everything was frozen solid. You really think you’re going to die." ~Michael Odenwald (Germany)
"But it’s hard, very very hard, and a few times you just want to say ‘I give up’ and go home on the snowmobile; but for some reason you don’t." ~ Tammy Reis (Canada)
"The hardest day today. The hardest for my foot. The longest distance between checkpoints. 17 hours, I never stopped for 17 hours. Very cold in the Yukon, very cold." ~ Stefano Miglietti (Italy)
"There is no easy way, unbelievable, nothing is easy here." ~ Thomas Muhler (Germany)
This 54 minute event documentary was made by Yukon resident Werner Walcher who brings a picturesque point of view to this environment. Several long shots, pulling away from the action, demonstrate how remote and vulnerable these runners are when out on the snowy path, remote woods, or frozen waterways. The music is used well with two especially memorable tunes by local Yukon artist Barbara Chamerlin entitled "Run Too Fast" and "Walk A Mile". With race maps, volunteers, and race director Robert Pollhammer all contributing, you really get a sense of the tasks at hand for all involved. To obtain this title contact the filmmaker at YukonImages.com and then when you have completed your training this summer go to the race site at ArcticUltra.de to submit your entry if you dare to try this race experience for yourself.
Postscript: Seven of the runners who competed in 2005 returned for the 2006 Yukon Arctic Ultra where the total field doubled in size to 60 entrants from 12 countries. The 2006 marathon was won in 15:27, showing that the 2005 race conditions were about as good as can be expected in the Yukon. Good luck to everyone headed North in 2007.