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COLD PLAY

DAMIAN HALL BATTLES -36°C TEMPERATURES, FROZEN CLIF BARS AND ENDLESS, WHITE WILDERNESS AT THE ICE ULTRA

It has been hot lately,” says the Swedish lady next to me on the flight from Stockholm to Lulea, in Swedish Lapland, just shy of the Arctic Circle. “Only about -12˚C.” Gulp.

Like many men with a hero complex, I’ve read numerous mountaineering and polar explorer books, and the great, white wilds have always called at me. But visiting polar regions has always seemed difficult and expensive. Until I heard about the Ice Ultra.

It’s a five-day, multi-stage 230K race in Swedish Lapland, mostly north of the Arctic Circle and much of it on the legendary Kungsleden Trail. It’s a Marathon des Sables on the ice; you have to carry your food and kit (though not a sleeping bag as they need to be huge to keep you safe up here, and you stay in huts rather than opensided tents).

It was three in one: an Arctic adventure (with a safety net of the race infrastructure), a physical challenge (I like running), and a travel experience. I’ve been lucky to travel a fair bit, but have never visited Scandinavia, which always sounds perfect in every way, apart from beer prices.

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About Men's Running

The June issue of Men’s Running is all about pushing your limits to become the best runner you can be. Whether that’s learning to love ultra-long distances—with the help of GB 24hr runner Robbie Britton—finding inspiration from the likes of hard-as-nails runners Damian Hall or Scott Jurek, or discovering what it takes to become a world champion, our strapline ‘read this, run better’ has rarely felt so apt. Elsewhere, you can find out whether four months of hard training paid off for our Big Marathon Challenge runners, heed some must-know hydration lessons, find out what it’s like to run an ultramarathon in the Arctic, and learn about the virtual running app attempting to transform the tedium of the treadmill. All that, plus our usual Best in Test kit reviews: this month, we turn our attention to the latest top tech for data-driven runners.