Canadians are known for enduring cold winters and the country’s runners  have a name for training through it. One American runner should be made an honourary canuck for he will run through enough snow and cold to last a lifetime.

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Meet Peter Ripmaster.

Ripmaster is a family man from Asheville, North Carolina with a wife and two children and the owner of running store Black Mountain Running Co. He’s someone who has a genuine love for the outdoors taking part in rock
climbing, skiing, ice-climbing and fishing and more.

Ripmaster is also a runner, but that didn’t start until later in life. He ran 50 marathons in 50 states to raise money for breast cancer research, after his mother died of the disease. With running, something clicked.

That running adventure led him to try a 50K and then 50 miles and eventually 100 milers to 200 milers. Then, he decided to run 350 miles of the Iditarod in 2015. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is long-distance sled dog race run in early March from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. It’s a well-known and much celebrated event in the area. 

Ripmaster is taking it one step further this year– he’s running all of the over 1000-mile Iditarod race called the Iditarod Trail Invitational in the snow and wilderness of Alaska.

That race differs from the sled dog race. It’s a 1,000-mile ultra event done by fat bike, foot and skis. It runs the week before the dog race.

“I’m hungry to test my resolve to the fullest in attempting 1,000 miles on the Iditarod Trail, by foot in The Iditarod Trail Invitational,” he says. “We shall see. If I finish, I’m very intrigued by the YAU (Yukon Arctic Ultra). I’m blessed to have a beautiful wife, two healthy children, too many animals to count and one adventure after another.”

I chatted with Peter via email and asked him a few questions before his run.

NP: What drives you to push yourself to run these far distances?
PR: I wonder the same thing very often. I reckon I’m searching for something that I’ve yet to find.

Rochambo #iditarod2015

A photo posted by Elizabeth Manley (@emdashing) on


NP: How will you run the Iditarod and how long do you plan for it to take?

PR: I will run the 1,000-mile Iditarod hauling a pulk sled behind me with all my gear in it. There are many checkpoints but some can be 150 miles apart and it might take four to five days to get to the next checkpoint depending on weather. I usually do over 90 per cent of the trail by myself.

NP: How do you plan to stay concentrated, motivated and sane during this run?

PR: I rarely think of the enormity of this trail. I think checkpoint to checkpoint or mile to mile. Motivation is a non issue as I am motivated by feelings, or beauty, or competition. Sometimes, I’m even motivated by pain. I go to a deep place during this race.

Peter will be starting to run the entire Iditarod Trail on Feb. 28.

You can also reach me on Twitter @NoelPaine or on my personal blog, No Paine, No Gain or runningwriter@hotmail.com.


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