Ben is one of the trustees of Universal Chance, and together with his sister Charlie undertook a Polar Marathon on our behalf in October 2013:
“The morning of Saturday 19th October and we wake up in Kangerlassuaq, Greenland, to a bright crisp morning with blue sky, fresh snow on the ground and a temperature of about -4 degrees. There’s a few nerves and still debate about how many layers of thermals to wear, -4 feels pretty cold without a winter coat on and the air in the Arctic desert is dry and you can feel the effects of dehydration before you’ve even started running. We all pile into huge off-road buses that drive us an hour and a half to the start line as the nerves build and before we know all 80 of us are collected at the makeshift start line waiting for the gun to fire.
After a gentle 1km start downhill there a steep 3km incline up to the glacier which really saps the energy out of the legs so early into the marathon. To make matters worse when we reached the top we set foot on what can only be described as a giant ice cube. Despite having spikes on our trainers the glacier was pretty precarious underfoot, but the stunning scenery takes your mind off the challenge of negotiating the terrain. Coming up to the 7km mark we left the glacier and finally onto a long down slope and the whole Arctic circle seemed to open up in front of us as we finally clicked into a good rhythm. We raced through to the half way stage and were feeling pretty good and after losing a few layers we’re off again. We keep up a good pace until the 20 mile mark when the hills start getting steeper, the legs heavier and the mile markers seem to take longer to come around. The 2 km hill just before the end nearly finishes us off but just as we feel we’re done the town Kangerlassuaq appears over the brow of the hill and we cross the finish line together in 4 hrs 34 mins. My little sister’s first marathon and she finished 4th out of all the women!
It was a great (if exhausting!) experience made all the better knowing that all the funds we raised would be benefiting Universal Chance and the great work they are doing with Buhinga School!”