Taiwanese runner Tommy Chen on Saturday returned to the Yukon Arctic Ultra 10 years after finishing third in the self-supported 700km race.
Battling through harsh terrain and temperatures of minus-15°C, Chen yesterday had covered about 69km since the start of the race at 10:30am on Saturday, placing him 13th out of 24 competitors, the event’s Web site showed.
Chen, who became the first Asian to finish the event in Canada’s Yukon Territory in 2013 at the age of 27, still has another 25km to reach Dog Grave Lake, the third of the race’s 12 checkpoints.
Photo courtesy of Tommy Chen via CNA
Chen was racing on foot, while some chose to cover the Whitehorse to Dawson City route using skis or mountain bikes.
“I am finally back here after 10 years, leaving everything behind, and heading into the pure wildness so that I can release long-lasting depression and enjoy every moment of doing what I love,” the 36-year-old wrote on Facebook before the race started.
He said that he expected the 13-day race to be a physical and mental challenge, as he would be isolated from people without means of communication, receiving limited sunshine and racing 20 to 24 hours per day.
“The further north it gets, the more difficult it gets,” Chen said, adding that the bitter cold could push people to the edge of collapse.
Chen said he anticipated physical ailments during the course, as he had recently recovered from a severe cold.
Taiwan’s Cheng Lun-chiang was running in the traditional marathon portion of the event, which also includes 160km and 480km races.
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