Hayley White is the Only Female to Complete the 6633 Arctic Ultra Challenge

The 6633 Arctic Ultra has a fearsome reputation, with winds blowing up to 70mph, temperatures dropping to minus 40 degrees centigrade, and around 75% of competitors dropping out before the finish. In fact, most runners who attempt the race don’t complete it until their second attempt and only six of the 23 starters finished in 2018.

Hayley White, a Personal Trainer and extreme challenge- enthusiast from Northwich, for Mind Mental Health Charity, has completed the World's coldest and toughest ultra-distance, non-stop 380-mile self-supported foot race across the Arctic Circle becoming the first British woman to finish the event. Sponsored by McLaren Manchester, we interviewed Hayley about her toughest challenge yet!

Hi Hayley, firstly we'd like to say congratulations! How did you find it?

Thank you! It was incredibly tough to say the least. I always thought it would be a tricky, but until you’re there and fighting for it you don’t realise just how tough. It’s tough returning to reality, I’ve had a lot of interrupted sleep and waking up in sweats, but I’m getting there.

How did it feel crossing the finish line?

I was so exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally, that I honestly don't really remember it. I’ve completed various other ultra-distance races, and whenever I’ve finished there has been a huge emotional outburst, but this time there was absolutely nothing. I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet!

Over the 380 miles, what was the most challenging moment?

On day four I got caught out on a snow storm when I was trying to get an hour’s sleep in. I lost the feeling in my fingers and I thought I was starting to get hypothermia, so I was forced to leave after 20 minutes just to warm up,I was exhausted. Fortunately, other than that, the weather was pretty kind to us – in previous races it’s been minus 70, but it was a lot milder for us.

How do you get through those moments?

I ended up running the race alongside another competitor, Mark Whittle. We never intentionally ended to pair up, but after the second day we realised it made sense. I think the whole experience would have been a lot scarier without him, because there's a lot of periods where you are on your own, it’s very dark, and you end up hallucinating, so having Mark there was very reassuring.

What did you eat during the race?

I was consuming about 8000 calories a day, so it had to be quick calories, that didn't freeze, and weren’t too heavy. It ranged from dried meals that I added hot water to, to quick-intake food like cheese, chocolate, shortbread, etc. I went through 27 bars of chocolate, five packs of peanut M&Ms, six bags of Jelly Babies, three bags of Dolly Mixtures, Smarties... you name it, I ate it!

Do you have any highlights?

The highlight for me, actually, was when we’d finished, and we were driven back to Eagle Plains. We’d previously stayed there the night before the race started, and there was so much nerves and anxiety then. Being back there afterwards, and knowing that we’d done it, was amazing.

Would you ever take it on again?

Never. When you’ve finished it once, you’ve done it, and it’s a long time away from the family. The great thing about having completed it is that it’s justified to myself that I am an ultra-runner, I can do this kind of challenge. There are a couple of things on the horizon, but we’ll wait and see.

Hayley's trophy and sponsored McLaren equipment is temporarily on proud display at McLaren Manchester, Wilmslow Road, Wilmslow, SK9 3FB

Huge Congratulations from all of the team!!