Arctic Spine Race Roster Announcement : 129 Mile Challenger Entrants

We caught up with the Challenger Race competitors to discover 'Why the Arctic Spine?'

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Welcome to our Arctic Challenger Competitors

The Montane Arctic Spine 129-mile Challenger Race kicks off in Abisko and concludes in Kvikkjokk, tracing a significant stretch of the Kungsleden Trail. Racers face the daunting task of completing this course within a strict 84-hour timeframe, a true test of endurance in tough conditions. Participants have the option to either go it alone or embrace the support and camaraderie of a team, which can consist of 2, 3, or 4 members.

We caught up with the Challenger Race competitors to uncover what motivated their entry. From surprising romantic gestures to the mesmerising Northern Lights, the Arctic’s extreme conditions hold an irresistible charm. For some, it’s a personal challenge of limits, while others savour the chance to tackle this demanding race with a trusted team. Amidst the anticipated highs and lows, there’s a determination uniting all our participants in their quest to conquer the Arctic Spine Challenger.

Arctic Spine Challenger Team: Exmoor Mountain Rescue

N.B. Learn more about the work the amazing volunteers at Exmoor Search and Rescue do, and how you can support them, here: Exmoor Search and Rescue

Caroline Barrett (GBR)

Why the Arctic: Caroline’s partner signed her up for what promises to be a romantic 129-mile adventure in -35°C temperatures with two other people. Luckily, having a very well-developed sense of adventure, Caroline is exactly the kind of person you can feel safe dropping this sort of surprise on!
Experience: Accomplished in numerous ultra-marathons, including the Mongol 100 and has previous snowshoeing experience.
Excited for: The exhilaration of being out on the Kungsleden in the heart of winter.
Not so excited for: The unavoidable task of meal preparation in the freezing cold and navigating downhill sections with a pulk.

Charlie Wilkins (GBR)

Why the Arctic: Embracing the chance to challenge himself whilst experiencing the beauty of the Kungsleden Trail was too tempting to pass up.
Experience: Extensive background in hillwalking and mountain activities, with a dedicated role in the Exmoor Mountain Rescue Team.
Excited for: Everything! From the mesmerising winter landscapes to the team camaraderie, it’s bound to be a journey filled with memories of a lifetime.
Not so excited for: Anticipating the moments of exhaustion, and the inevitable doubts about meeting the time constraints.

Eoin Murray (GBR)

Why the Arctic: Eoin is looking forward to the challenge of a self-supported endurance event in extreme conditions alongside a team he trusts implicitly. He is also the partner who signed up Caroline!
Experience: Multiple long-distance multi- and single-sport events, including Mongol 100.
Excited for: Working together as a team, overcoming every obstacle to cross the finish line, and sharing the experience of a lifetime.
Not so excited for: There doesn’t seem to be anything (so far)!

Arctic Spine Challenger: Solo Entrant

Rob Hopkins (GBR)

Why the Arctic: Rob’s fitness journey, evolving from cycling to triathlons, ultra marathons, and eventually mountaineering, led him to the Arctic. Introduced to skiing through Spine training, he’s eager for more challenges in this unique environment.
Experience: Extensive background in triathlons, ultra marathons, and mountain climbing, including Toubkal and Everest Base Camp.
Excited for: Embracing the Arctic terrain, finding solace in the mountains.
Not so excited for: Downhill skiing, though hoping practice will bring improvement!

Andy Bond (GBR)

Why the Arctic: Andy completed the Montane Arctic Lapland race in this area in 2022 and was looking for an excuse to come back.
Experience: As well as the MDS, and several UK Ultras, Andy has previously completed the Fire and Ice stage race in Iceland, the Rovaneivi Polar Circle race and the Lapland Arctic Ultra mentioned above, so he is no stranger to covering long distances in very cold places.
Excited for: A chance to experience the beautiful Arctic again and to maybe being one of the first to finish this race.
Not so excited for: Another vote for sleep deprivation.

Final Word

As the Arctic Spine Challenger Race prepares for its launch in February, each entrant adds their own unique spark to this formidable race. Whether navigating solo or as part of a team, they confront the Arctic’s extreme conditions head on. With the race countdown underway, it’s evident this adventure will exemplify human endurance and camaraderie.

About the Author

Jenny Hall

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