6633 Arctic Ultra......setting the scene with coach Mark!


So I've decided on my A race for 2019, it's going to be a VERY special race, it's called the 6633 Arctic Ultra and is billed as "the toughest, coldest, windiest ultra distance footrace on the planet". Yikes!!! 

The race: The 6633 Arctic Ultra has been run by Martin and Sue Like, who run the Likeys outdoor store in Brecon, for the last 10 years. It's a non-stop, 380-mile self-supported foot race in Canada, starting at Eagle Plains in the Yukon, passing through the Arctic Circle on the Dempster Highway, continuing North until you reach the banks of the Arctic Ocean and finishing in Tuktoyaktuk. Competitors have 8 days to negotiate some of the most remote and inhospitable landscape known to man (where the winds can blow up to 70mph and temperatures will plummet to about -40'c), which is in part why the race has a 75% DNF rate (yes, not very many people have actually finished this race!). Yes, we'll have to battle the extremely strong Katabatic winds, but on the flip side we'll see some amazing scenary and we might get the opportunity to see the amazing Northern Lights! 

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The training: Unsurprsingly the training started quite a while ago. I'll go into more detail in the coming months into what training and races I'll be doing in preparation for the 6633 Arctic Ultra, but in the past few months I've hiked and ran a lot in the Brecon Beacons, hiked/ran the majority of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, raced the Brutal Midnight Marathon & the Brecon Beacons 10 Peaks race and most recently hiked/ran 165 miles from Prestatyn to Merthyr on Offa's Dyke and the Taff Trail. In addition to that I've increased my strength training to try to keep the injuries at bay and provide the strength endurance to make it through the 8 days of gruelling exercise, and added in a lot of weighted hikes and tyre pull sessions to simulate pulling the sled. 

image3 1Equipment: With the extreme weather conditions you'd probably guess that there would be a requirement for some specialist food and equipment, and you'd be right! As temperatures are often at -40'c the clothing and equipment has to be able to work at those conditons, and, more importantly, keep you safe and warm! As for the food, most food (and drinks) will freeze solid when it's in your sled, so food choices are very important and a lot of work will be done here to ensure I get adequate calories during the race. As we're self-supported, our pulks, or sleds, become our own little mobile homes, carrying everything we need from food, water, clothing to equipment; so every item will be carefully considered, any useless pieces of kit that makes the pulks heavier will be discarded!  

Why the 6633 Arctic Ultra? Honestly, I'm not 100% sure why I chose the 6633 Arctic Ultra, but I do know that after many years in the triathlon world I needed a different challlenge. I considered doing a double or triple Ironman, but even that wasn't enough. I needed something that really scares me and takes me out of comfort zone.....and the 6633 really scares the crap out of me! You have to cover the 380 miles in 8 days, which is about 50 miles a day, which means for 99% of the race we'll be hungry, very tired, very cold and sleep deprived! This is the challenge; and this is why I have spent hours and hours researching the race, read every race report out there (there aren't many!), spoken to past competitors and researched every piece of equipment on the kit list, but you don't really know how you'll cope with the extreme conditions until you get out there. As I have no Arctic expereince, I know this will be my biggest challenge to date! 

image5 1Goals for the race: I'm going into this 'race' as a challenge or an expedition, not a race. Due to the extreme conditions and the very high DNF rate I am fully aware that finishing the race will be an emormous achievement in itself. Of the 23 starters this year, only 6 people finished the 380 mile race (and only 1 person finished the race in 2011!), so if I'm able to finish the event then I will be over the moon. Obviously I will have a plan for the event (probably a very detailed one!), but anything is possible out in the Arctic Circle and the goal will be to 'simply' keep moving forwards towards the finish line at Tuktoyaktuk. A mantra I've used before will be at the forefront of my mind during the event......."Keep on trucking!". 

What's next? Basically, lots of training and more research! I have planned some big training sessions (watch out for my next blog post), a couple of big training 'races' and we have a training weekend with Martin and Sue at Likeys next month. I'll keep you updated with how the training is going, however, in the meantime, if you have any questions about the 6633 Arctic Ultra please send them to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Wish me luck! 

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2015 Raleigh Tested Feb 10

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Ironman 70.3 World Championships race report: Emma Edworthy

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Well what a surprise it was being on the start line for the Worlds in South Africa one sunny, hot and windy Saturday in September. This year was my first dabble into the world of 70.3’s after realising that doing a full every year was just too much – not just for me but my long suffering friends and family ;-).  Amazingly we qualified in my first one in Lahti in Finland –in fact if coach had not had ‘the chat’ with me before I went I might not have even gone to the slot allocation.

Anyway we qualified and there was the slight issue that I was already signed up to do the inaugural Dun Laoghaire 70.3 less than two weeks out from the Worlds. However, there was no way I was not going to do that as I was combining it with staying with my bestie and a road trip with Bow after to retrace the steps of my great grandma. I was not the easiest race by a country mile – holy pants – it is now being marketed as the hardest on the global 70.3 circuit – it was not an easy day in the tri office – weather was awful to start – swim was long and really rough. Bike then goes up in to the Wicklow mountains which with a 20mph head wind was particularly awful (3pmh at one point and a guy on a TT bike zig zagging in front of me so he did not go backwards!!). The run was not bad – flattish and the sun came out! But to try and save my legs coach and I had agreed to take this one easy – however that was just physically impossible on the swim and bike – so only option was easy run – so I walked the last two miles, had stich anyway. So was best I could do less than two weeks out to save something. Turns out we got 5th even with the walk – result!

Read more: Ironman 70.3 World Championships race report: Emma Edworthy

Cardiff Olympic Triathlon race report: Lyndsay Patterson

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The lead up to the race, I think I seemed pretty relaxed, but I was questioning some things, such as; when should I put socks on (I never wear socks at sprints), and nutrition, Humm, how many gels should I pack and when should I take them. 

I used SWYD Sprint as race prep so I doubled my gels, and hydro tabs and had the same breakfast (but added a coffee- as a 3:50 am start Sunday, it was going to be needed).

Collecting my race pack Saturday, I met up with my mate. And still seeing the venue, I was ok. I think it helped doing a bike recce a few weeks earlier and having my mate race it last year, I felt I had good knowledge what the course was like. 

I still needed to pack my bag and getting home closer to late afternoon was not ideal. But I got it sorted and chilled out with an alcohol-free beer and some plain dinner for the evening. 

Sunday alarm 3:50, up dressed and out the door with bag and bike in hand 30 minutes later. We arrived in good time with no stress parking at the venue. Transition was quiet and I was the first to rack in my area.  The next guy showed up and put his bike the same way as mine. Then another guy on the other side did the same. So, I swapped my bike and rejigged my stuff to my annoyance. I still had lots of time, so it was ok. I met my friend and her mates and we headed down to the swim start. Craig gave me some last-minute words of encouragement walking up. I felt very calm, though one last nervous loo stop doesn't do any harm. The race was delayed by about 10-15 minutes and we hung around waiting to get in the pen. Still feeling calm and just chatting with my mate was helpful. 

Now it’s my wave, it was a quick turnaround. Walked down to the dock and said to Ellie, 'is that deep enough just to jump in', yes and so I did. I did not need to dunk myself as I was fully submerged. I looked about and I was at the front- not where I wanted to be so I crawled back a little and positioned myself on the left towards the front. And we are off. It wasn't as bad as I thought being in a big group, but it was hard to sight, so I followed those in front until the first buoy was clear. I avoided thinking about being in the water and started to count 1-2 when I took a stroke to get into a rhythm. I did start out with a few head up front crawl just to get around people. I settled in the swim maybe within 200-300 m and only with a good few mouth fulls of water. Getting closer to the first buoy the next pack was on me and it got busy.  I was at the corner with a few head up strokes I got round and off I went. I was prepared for the hissing sounds from the generators, which I’m glad I got a heads up about. I tried to stay on some feet but didn’t catch, though I used those in front to help sight as the buoys were on my none breathing side and I was aiming for the big building. The swim was comfortable and didn’t drag on too much. Then I made it, found the platform and that’s me out of the water, YES!!!!

Read more: Cardiff Olympic Triathlon race report: Lyndsay Patterson

Ironman UK race report: Lawrence Cronk


Ironman UK in Bolton, my fourth Iron distance race. Why Ironman UK? A question I got asked a lot when as a Welsh

man Tenby would be your first choice. Simple answer, it fitted in the calendar nicely with my best mates wedding in Barcelona the following week.

As usual that final 4-6 week block before the taper throws up all the doubts as to whether you will be ready, the training gets more and more monotonous, the fatigue builds and your food bill escalates! I’ve been here before, trust in the plan and trust in the taper, you’ll be fine.  

In the two weeks leading up the race Ironman warned us that a key part of the bike course had been affected by wildfires and they were exploring solutions. The solution was a 95 mile alternative. A bit of a blow for those first time Ironman athletes and social media saw plenty of opinions as you can imagine, some even suggesting they would ride their own extra 17 miles then re-join the race! Ironman confronted this in the pre race briefing and made it pretty clear that between negotiations with the council and emergency services the extra 17 miles of closed roads couldn’t be found. I wasn’t particularly phased by it, just mildly annoying that I have to mention the caveat when someone points out I went sub 10 hours. 

The day before the race was hectic. A split transition with the swim being 16 miles away from the run meant a lot of prior planning, bouncing between the hotel, registration, briefing, two transitions and then finding time to drive the new section of bike route. I’d travelled to Bolton twice in recent months to ride the course, I thought it would be daft to leave the new bit to chance given the prep that had gone into this.  

Read more: Ironman UK race report: Lawrence Cronk