Yukon not be serious? Duo crack an icy 300-mile Arctic ultra challenge

Jim Binks (above) and Bob Hodges (inset)
Jim Binks (above) and Bob Hodges (inset)

While most of us have been facing up to the wettest winter since records began, two ultra competitors from Bearbrook Running Club have been facing an even more challenging environment.

Following the route of the frozen Yukon river in North America, Jim Binks, 69, and Bob Hodges, 62, have successfully completed one of the most challenging events in the ultra calendar.

The event is more than 300 miles and competitors have to pull a pulk (sledge), with their provisions, over snow covered landscape and along the frozen water course. They also compete through the night, sometimes in temperatures as low as -41!

Not only did Jim and Bob complete the course but they finished joint fourth covering the distance, terrain and extreme weather in seven days and nine hours. In order to complete the distance in the time, miles had to be covered in darkness.

During a video transmission to their fellow runners celebrating at their annual awards evening Bob said: “It isn’t the dark that gets you, but the sheer penetrating cold, sometimes as low as -41.”

Prior to the race Jim had been concerned about bears, but was reassured that with a drop in temperature these had gone back into hibernation. He was also relieved that although they saw mousse hoof prints they did not confront these dangerous animals.

A Bearbrook spokesman said: “This is the furthest the duo has ever undertaken but follows success on the 100-mile event three years ago. They are no spring chickens, but it is a fantastic achievement regardless of age.”