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One runner finishes Yukon Arctic Ultra 300-Miler

The Yukon Arctic Ultra conditions sound like that of a frozen tundra nightmare in what could be the Canadian equivalent of the Barkley Marathons

Yukon Arctic Ultra
Yukon Arctic Ultra
Photo: Martine Wolff/Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra.

The 2018 Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 300-Miler sounds reminiscent of the Barkley Marathons.

Like the Barkley, a more than 100-mile bush race in Tennessee, in 2017, one finisher managed to complete the 300-mile race of the Yukon Arctic Ultra. According to Yukon-based writer Eva Holland, 21 people began the distance and the number of people in the mix to finish dwindled as temperatures dipped to -45 C, which temporarily halted the race. Speaking about the frigid conditions, a Feb. 6 post on the race website stated that “like on all the other days we have seen temperatures down to –40 C during the day. In all 14 previous races we have not had anything like that.”

The race is considered the coldest ultramarathon on the planet.

Yukon Arctic Ultra
Photo: Joe Bishop/Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra.

Race director Robert Pollhammer posted on Facebook on Thursday that South African Jethro De Decker was the lone runner to make it to the finish line of the 300-miler (483K). “It was a tough year,” Pollhammer says. Many of the participants of the 300-miler, let alone the lesser distances including the 100-miler, were taken off course and treated for frostbite and/or hypothermia at the hospital. Others in the 300-mile ultra DNFed because of a failure to reach certain checkpoints within the cut-off time. Athletes are checked at each checkpoint before being permitted to continue.

De Decker arrived at Pelly Farm at 3:45 a.m. local time on Thursday. De Decker was competing on foot as there is an option to cross-country ski.

RELATED: Yukon Arctic Ultra temporarily halted due to extreme cold.

Yukon News reported that three people remained in the mix to finish the 300-mile race as of Feb. 7 at 8:30 a.m. local time. Canadian skier Ilona Gyapay and Roberto Zanda, on foot, were the two others remaining before ultimately DNFing. Zanda was brought to hospital to treat frostbite and Gyapay too stopped because of the cold.

The Yukon Arctic Ultra begins in Whitehorse. The 2018 race began on Feb. 1.

Full results can be found here.