Brit Mark Whittle fifth in extreme 6633 Arctic Ultra event

Mark Whittle: fifth in “world’s most extreme ultra”

Mark Whittle: fifth in “world’s most extreme ultra”

Welsh runner looks back on his 380 miles across the Arctic circle

A Welsh runner has looked back fondly on his exploits earliest this month in completing the 6633 Arctic Ultra in Canada, the self-proclaimed “world’s most extreme ultra”.

Mark Whittle, from Cardiff, completed the 380-mile, non-stop, self-supported foot race across the Arctic Circle in eight days, 20 hours and 11 minutes, with winds blowing up to 70mph and temperatures dropping to minus 40C. He ran the entire way with Hayley White, who became the first British woman to complete it, the duo finishing joint fifth.

Starting at Eagle Plains in the Yukon Territory and crossing the Arctic Circle before finishing on the shore of the Arctic Ocean, the 6633 Arctic Ultra crosses hills, mountain passes, frozen rivers, ice roads and some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain throughout its gruelling nine-day duration.

Special equipment is required for competitors to tackle the event safely, with each racer pulling a sled behind them (known locally as “pulks”) and carrying all of their clothing, food and water for the entire way.

“For me, the 6633 was never a race,” said Whittle, the founder and head coach at WhittleFit triathlon coaching. “With such a high DNF rate and the extreme conditions in the Arctic Circle, my goal was to try and finish the race. So to finish in joint fifth place, and to complete the race on my first attempt, has left me extremely pleased.”