Vars man taking part in grueling Arctic ultramarathon
Steven Jackson in the 6633 Arctic Ultra. (Photo courtesy of 6633 Arctic Ultra)
OTTAWA -- A Vars man is participating in what's been billed as one of the toughest foot races in the world.
The 6633 Ultra is a 617 km marathon from Eagle Plains, Yukon to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. Participants have 215 hours to complete the trip, and must carry all of their necessary survival gear with them on a sled they pull along the route. There is also a shorter 193 km race.
"This is a serious race and not to be taken lightly," race organizers say on their website. "Athletes experienced in this environment are very welcome as are those new to this nature of extreme event. However, all athletes will be required to make it clear within their application why they believe they are qualified to be participating in this event. The Race Director has the right to refuse entries from those deemed unqualified. However, acceptance into the race does not absolve the athlete from being wholly responsible for their participation in the event."
The race is named after the Arctic Circle, which lies 66 degrees and 33 minutes north of the Equator.
This year, a man from Vars named Steven Jackson is taking part in the 617 km race. As of the time of publishing, he was one of just two competitors remaining, trailing behind a man named Grant.
Other runners have had to end their race due to frostbite or other reasons. There are support staff on hand in case of injury or sickness, but otherwise, participants are on their own.
In 2019, only six people made it the whole way to Tuktoyaktuk. Twelve others didn't make it. It took at least eight days for each participant to run the entire route.
In Tuktoyaktuk Thursday, the temperature got down to a low of -37°C, with a wind chill of -52.
The race will wrap up at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, unless the runners make it to the finish line sooner.
On the race's Facebook page, they said they were setting up to await the arrival of the two men who remain in the race.