A 68-year-old runner from Aylesbury will take on the world’s toughest race on Sunday when he competes in the 436-mile Yukon Arctic Ultra Marathon in Northern Canada.
James Binks is a member of Bearbrook Running Club and has a passion for taking part in ultra marathons – races that exceed the traditional 26.2-mile marathon distance. But he expects his latest Yukon adventure to be the toughest yet.
He will have 13 days to complete the snow and ice covered route, meaning he’ll have to cover around 33 miles every day. He will be expected to sleep outside for six nights and is braced for temperatures that are likely to drop as low as -40 degrees Celsius.
He said: “People keep asking me why I’m doing it and the answer is simple, to me, life is about challenging yourself and I enjoy pushing my physical and mental limits.
“I like adventures and this will certainly be my biggest to date. But I know the obstacles that I’m likely to encounter and I’m as prepared as anyone can be.”
The freezing temperatures, terrain and distance make the Yukon Arctic Ultra Marathon an extremely hazardous race and there have been occasions in years gone by when none of the competitors that have entered the 436-mile distance have reached the finish.
The biggest risks are frostbite, hypothermia caused by excessive moisture on his body and the moose that are native to the area.
“Mousse aren’t particularly aggressive animals but the advice is always to get out of their way as fast as you can if you come across one on the route,” James explained.
“If you don’t they will quite happily run right through you and that would be very serious.”
James will have to navigate his way along the course using a GPS system and will also have two emergency alert systems should be encounter any major problems. You can track his progress by logging on to www.trackleaders.com