The 6663 Arctic Ultra is regarded by many as the toughest, coldest, windiest, ultra-distance footrace on the planet, only attempted by the most extreme ultra marathons competitors. Taking the challenge on in 2019 is personal trainer Hayley White, with sponsorship from McLaren Manchester. 1 of only 3 Females to be successful in competing, local Hayley, from Cheshire is representing Great Britain in the 385-mile race.
Hi Hayley, what can you tell us about the arctic ultra?
The 6663 Arctic Ultra is a 385-mile race over nine days, with seven checkpoints in total, along the Dempster Highway, pulling a sledge behind you. You’ve got to be self-sufficient and confident to sleep out in the wild because there’s nothing out there. There are 13 athletes so far this year, three of us are GB, and I’m the only female GB athlete.
When did you start running?
About twenty years ago. I’m a chronic asthmatic and I decided I needed to do something for my health and get fit, so I started going to the gym and working out. It took me about three months to be able to run three miles non-stop, but I came to love it because my asthma and fitness were so much better. I also felt good about myself, and I guess it became a little bit addictive.
What inspired you to take part in the race?
About four years ago I discovered trail running, going off road and into the hills and mountains. I don’t see going out for a run anywhere as a chore whatsoever, I’m very passionate about it. In 2017, I completed the Deadwater, and then I thought, what next? That was when I found 6633 Arctic Ultra, so I applied 18 months ago, and it went from there.
What do you think of your chances of finishing the race?
The honest truth is I’ve always been quite confident in my mental and physical ability. My preparation is good, and I’ve got the best kit, but it would be rather silly to be that confident, to not have the respect of the environment and that something could potentially go wrong, which is completely out of my control. I’ve had to learn a new frame of mind.
Why did you select Mind as your charity?
It was for personal and professional reasons. Sadly, as a part of my job, I meet people that I am quite concerned about with their mental state. From a personal point of view, my husband has struggled with depression. Thankfully he’s recovered now, but there are a lot of people that really struggle with mental health, and they need all the support they can get.
And finally, how do you plan to celebrate after the race?
I’m looking forward to spending some time with the family and friends, and people I’ve not had so much time with due to training! I’m sure I’ll then look forward to the next challenge, and how I can continue enriching other people’s lives from something that I love doing. I also want to really thank McLaren Manchester, because I didn’t know them prior to this, and their support has been incredible.