The largest field so far assembled for this race came together this morning and gathered in Galivare, Northern Sweden, ready to travel to the start line of the Ice Ultra. We have 38 runners from 15 countries including Canada, the US and Zimbabwe. Also, for the first time, we have two local runners who journeyed for just a couple of hours to join us.
A little after midday, the runners and all their meticulously organised kit was loaded onto our transfer coach and set off to meet us at Stor Sjofallet Mountain Centre, the starting point of the race.
What followed has been an afternoon of hustle and bustle as kits are packed, repacked and faffed with endlessly – each runner attempting to perfect the kit they’ll be carrying on their backs for the next 5 days. All runners have been registered, bags have been labelled, safety briefings attended and medical briefings anxiously absorbed. The runner’s heads will be spinning as they wriggle into their sleeping bags tonight. It’s always difficult to sleep the night before a race of this magnitude.
Conditions have been strange up here in Swedish Lapland. We’ve had some unusually warm days recently followed by a couple of very cold and windy days. What this has left us with are trails which are frozen over and pretty hard underfoot. The wind has also scoured the snow off high ground exposing the bare rock and ice beneath. It’s likely the runners will only spend a relatively limited amount of time on their snowshoes. Temperatures are also a good 20°c warmer than this time last year. That said, the forecast is for it to get increasingly cold and if there’s anything we’ve learned over our years racing up here it’s that the weather forecasts can change fast. The runners will need to be ready for anything.
The race begins tomorrow morning at 8am local time (7am UTC). Tomorrow’s stage is approximately 50km in length and takes in a couple of relatively short but steep climbs. If the clouds clear the views up there should be stunning.
You can follow the action live on here and on Facebook as well as Instagram and twitter. Be sure to keep an eye out for our Instagram stories too as we’ll be adding as many video clips there as we are able to (signal can be difficult to find in the wilderness.
Tomorrow morning our live GPS tracking system will be available on the homepage of our website. This system, provided by our good friends at Extrac, will allow you to follow the runner’s live throughout the race.
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