Number 43 reporting from the Icecap
Just back from our recce. It took us over two hours to drive the 40km to the ice, the full length of the longest road (or more acurately a rough potholed track) in the whole of Greenland. The truck I was in got stuck twice as it could not get up the hills due to the thick layer of ice that covers much of the track. The first time we were towed up and continued on. But the second time, the tow rope snapped and we had to walk the last 3km to the Icecap.
It must be magnificent to see, but today it was a whiteout. It has snowed steadily for 24 hours and the low clouds mean visibility is poor and the blue ice is buried under at least 20cm of snow.
We had the opportunity to test our spikes over our trainers as we walked or ran a few km on the glacier. Under the broken snow were patches of black ice. Easily confused with asphalt, the black ice owes its colour to the complete lack of air bubbles in it and is therefore unforgiving and dangerously hard. Best to step on fresh snow and avoid the black bits.
When not concentrating on where my feet were placed, every time I looked up and I took in the enormity of the landscape that forms the world's biggest ice cube. I hope it is brighter on race day as the views must be nothing short of spectacular.
Once off the ice, after around 8km the route loops back past the start line and down a track back to the air base. There is no flat. The undulating terrain and sharp climbs will bite into the quads and I have promised myself to take it easy for the first half of the race.
The talk amongst all the runners is about what gear to wear tomorrow. The recent snow and chance of snow during the race are making us all revise our race strategies. It is unusually warm as well with temperatures at around -4 to -6C so many are opting to shed an additional layer. But the wind could make it feel like -10 to -12C. Tonight there is a briefing before the pasta party when we can learn more. It may be a case of deciding when we get to the start. Last year, a runner suffered bad frost it in three of his fingers despite wearing a good pair of gloves.
Above all, there is a huge sense of excitement. The snow and thick ice have provided the tough conditions we were all hoping for to make this race a great adventure!
The next few hours are about loading up with carbs, final kit preparations and resting.
The local Inuits are excited too. The population of the town has increased 30% with our arrival and in the little grocery store, I met a couple of locals who will be stationed along the route to hand out some drinks. I believe some of the locals will be running too.
Tomorrow I will run wearing race number 43.
19/10/2012 07:09:15 pm
Really exciting to hear your update. Surely the 'balmy' -6 deg puts the mankini option back on the table.
alice and hugo struthers
20/10/2012 05:16:00 am
Good luck David...sounds completely insane...hope you have some good thick socks x
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Co-founder of Oxford Capital Partners. Husband, father, adventurer and polar marathon runner. Represent Great Britain at master level in Modern Pentathlon.