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Rock and Ice Ultra 2009
Part 1
21 -26 Mar 08

Welcome to year 3 of the Rock and Ice Ultramarathon run over the lakes and portages in the local Yellowknife area. The race for skiers, runners/snowshoeing has 3 races running concurrently: a one day 45 km race, a three day 150 km race, and a 6 day 250 km race. 

Worked as the Master Safety again and responsible for racer safety and tracking for the first two days of the race.  Had pretty much the same awesome set of local search and rescue guys working as the safety team again this year.

Challenging conditions on Sat 21 Mar i.e. -25c, and 40 kph winds created a whiteout with horizontal driving snow on the course until late afternoon. When the whiteout finally cleared about 4 pm, a 2 story cabin burnt down and there was fire smoke across the last 10km of the course. Of course, my guys were first to the fire and confirmed everyone got out but the family dogs.

Top Australian racer went to one of my safety guys completely totalled….luckily my guy was a third year nursing student who accompanied the guy to the hospital w advanced hypothermia and…and get this, arrhythmia. Needless to say, the aussie's 6 day race was over 2 hrs into the race.

The guy with the taped up face is a world class marathoner/mountain runner. His pulk consisted of a cardboard box containing 6 days of rations and little else. His race lasted until Prelude Main when the guys found him flailing around and out of control. He visited me in my CP for about a hour before his ride to the hospital arrived.

l visually inspected every racer for hypothermia and frostbite at the end of Saturdays race. Lots of the former, less of the latter, but lots of very spaced out folks with 1000 mile stares. To wit:  had an Italian racer whose toes were white….asked him if he could feel his toes, so he touched them and said ‘yes’. I then had one of my team translate into French if he had any sensation in his toes….’no’ this time.  Yeehah, another medivac. On second thought, that example was probably more of a translation issue than a spaced out issue but…

The last 2 racers finishing Sat’s leg were a Japanese couple at 0020 Sunday morning.  He had broken a snowshoe and ran 8 km in 2 ft of snow on one snowshoe and a running shoe on the other foot. His foot looked like hamburger….but he got up on Sunday for day two of his 3 day race! Hard core.

I had asked a colleague if his kid was going to come back from Whistler to ski…and his son Thomsen did. And Thomsen just won the 3 day event….doing over 45 km on day 3 morning in just under 4 hrs.

All pictures on this page courtesy of Gutti.

Go here for Part 2 of the race

click on a picture to see a larger image. hit arrows at either end of the slideshow for more pictures.


6 day racer. pretty standard setup



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