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Colleen O'Neil Tuesday, 17 December 2013 13:29 TWEET COMMENTS 0

Ultra-Cold Ultrarunning - Page 2

Racing in the cold. Photo courtesy of Chris Scotch

Temps can drop to 10 degrees below zero or shoot up to the mid-30s. Racers can expect rain, sleet or snow.

“It’s an educated guessing game,” says Scotch, who’s completed many winter ultra races, including the Arrowhead 135 in northern Minnesota and the 130K Actif Epica in Manitoba. “You want to have everything you might need, but you can’t carry your entire closet. That’s one of the fun challenges of winter racing.”

For a race like this, runners typically pull a sled laden with extra clothes, calorie-packed snacks, portable stoves, snowshoes, gaiters, sleeping bags and bivy sacks, among other items. The list of required items for the 75- and 150-mile distances of Tuscobia can be found here.

The race is semi-supported, and athletes get a hot breakfast before the start, as well as soup and drop-bags at checkpoints along the route. A laid-back, post-race party with lots of wintery swag and prizes await runners at the Chequamegon Canoe Club.

With so many of the existing winter endurance events being over 100 miles, Tuscobia's 35-mile option offers a perfect gateway into winter racing for first-timers.

“To do longer races, you need experience,” says Scotch. “With Tuscobia, you can kind of ease into it—and then come back the next year for the 75-mile or the 150-mile race. It’s accessible to almost anyone.”


Pulling a sled. Photo courtesy of Chris Scotch

On the other hand, the 150-mile race attracts some of the toughest winter endurance athletes from across the U.S. and Canada, many of whom are preparing for Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Race or the Arrowhead 135. And Scotch and his fellow race directors have recently created a winter series that includes the Tuscobia, Actif Epica and the Arrowhead 135. Anyone who completes all three races makes it into the “Order of the Hrimthurs” (the Hrimthurs are a tribe of Nordic frost giants). So far only five racers have made the cut.

On December 27 this year, 168 racers will start the Tuscobia Winter Ultra to run, bike or ski across the Wisconsin outback. For more information, visit http://tuscobia.wordpress.com.


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