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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

WINTER’S BONE

CHARLIE NORTON WENT FROM THE BAKING TERRAIN OF THE MARATHON DES SABLES TO THE FREEZING HILLS OF THE YUKON. EVERYTHING WAS LOOKING FINE - UNTIL THE SNOW SET IN

Whenever I think back to the 2008 Yukon Ultra I still feel a bone-rattling shudder. I swore when I finished that I would never forget what I’d gone through and though I have forgotten the considerable pain of other ultra-races, when I think of those few days on the arctic trails near Whitehorse, Canada (down a section of the Yukon Quest husky dog race), it still sends a shiver down my spine. Looking back I can safely say it was one of the defining moments of my life.

I had a done a few ultras and enjoyed parts of the Marathon des Sables and the Himalayan 100-mile stage race. I had conquered the heat of over 50ºC and the relentless gradient of thousands of feet of climbing and wanted to see how I would survive in the cold.

The Yukon Ultra has three non-stop races: a marathon, a 100-mile race and a 300-mile race for the truly extreme athlete. I opted for the 100-mile and trained at altitude in a ski resort running up the slopes as skiers were coming down. I also did a lot of Pilates classes to improve my core and mimicked pulling a sledge (as we had to pull survival gear and a sleeping bag behind us as we ran). I even rang the Tesco press office to see if they had a giant freezer in which I could put a treadmill and train, but to no avail.

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About Men's Running

I started running in the mid 1980s. Ask anyone around at the time and they’ll tell you it was the heyday of British middle and long distance running. I got swept along by the Coe versus Ovett battle of the Moscow Olympics and the then addition of Cram for LA in 1984. Britons ruled the world and I loved every second of the battles, the highs, the lows, the medals and the media. These guys were my inspiration and I wanted to be them. They were the reason I started running and it was no surprise that my chosen events were 800 and 1500m. That I was best at these was just an added bonus. There are so many influential figures in our brilliant sport. Some are well known, others less so. So we decided to choose our favourites so that you could also get a little sprinkling of inspiration. Whether it’s Dean Karnazes eating pizza by the roadside or Ron Hill running every day for more than 50 years, we know there’ll be something for everyone. Read and get inspired and hit the road for your next run!