23rd February, 2019
A short time ago Hugh Morris crossed the finish line in Jokkmokk and brought the 2019 edition of the Ice Ultra to a close.
The stage started this morning in very different conditions from the previous days. Compared to previous start lines where the temperature had been minus 30 or below, this morning was a much more clement minus 3. By the time Hugh brought the curtain down on the race, the temperature was a few degrees above zero and water dripped from every tree and rooftop.
This was a small mercy for the runners. It’s extremely hard to stay warm in cold conditions when you are tired and calorie deprived and there isn’t a runner among our group who isn’t exactly that.
We had company on the start line this morning. A group of people from Jokkmokk organised a sister race this year, the Ice Ultra Light. A dozen runners from Jokkmokk and the surrounding area joined our tired crew for the pre-race briefing this morning and set off alongside them with Jokkmokk in their sights. Between this and the presence or Niclass and Rianne, our local competitors in the full race, there was a lot of local attention this year and a very large group of spectators at the finish line. The party atmosphere made what is always an emotional finish even better.
The rise in temperatures made conditions much more slippery underfoot today but there was little more extreme than this to contend with on a 15km course with very little climbing to do. The big push was out of the way, all that remained now was to drag aching bones and blistered feet across the length of 3 park runs.
That’s not to say that the stage wasn’t competitive. Andre Hook and Simon Grimstrup continued their battle at the front of the pack. Favouring the flat terrain, Andre Hook took the win by a matter of a few minutes. This last victory though wasn’t enough to take the overall win from the experienced Simon Grimstrup. Simon had done enough in the mountains he so loves during the first two stages that Andre was always facing a near insurmountable struggle to wrestle the win away from the Dane. Simon Grimstrup arrived in second position today and took the overall win.
Wim Smout, aka The Ice Bear, completed an amazing performance by finishing 3rd for the fifth day in a row. He takes third overall. Not a bad effort at all for a mountaineer who claims to dislike running.
Abelone Lyng has had an incredible week on her first multi-stage ultra. She has crossed the line as 1st woman every day and finishes as 4th overall. An outstanding performance no doubt helped by her familiarity with this type of terrain, having trained in her homeland of Norway. Abelone’s feet have been battered by her snowshoes throughout the race and she has dug extremely deep to carry on regardless and take the win.
2nd woman was local runner Rianne Dessalaar. When crossing the arctic line last night she revealed that her home was only around 3km away. She explained how interesting it had been to see the local country in this way and how much she had enjoyed the experience. Rianne managed the rare feat of seeming stronger as the week went on and said at the finish that she felt that she could do the race again.
The joint 3rd women in the race were Georgie Hatton and Olivia Gokhale. Both are part of the amazing Exile Medics team and it’s been great to see our friends running such a successful race. The pair have taken every step together and have consistently and efficiently managed every aspect of the race. They should be immensely proud of what they’ve done.
As should everyone who completed the race or gave it everything they had before the conditions or injury took them out of contention.
We would like to thank everyone involved for making this racing the incredible experience that it was. We could not do what we do without the co-operation of our indomitable Sami race team, our friends at Exile Medics, Roger and his team from Samelandsresor and the venues who stage our camps throughout the race from Stora Sjofallet, through Aktse, Arrenjarka, Laxholmen and the Arctic Line. We offer special thanks to our friends at Yeti and Nordisk for their continuing support of the race, to Firepot for keeping us fuelled throughout these adventures and to Swedish Lapland who support us as we bring runners to enjoy this genuinely beautiful area.
We’d also like, as always, to thank you for following the race.
Until next time.