This time 10years ago I was feeling extremely anxious about getting ready to head off to the Yukon for the first time. I had found myself with time to take from work but with out a plan of what to do; at the suggestion of Amanda, I contacted Robert to see if he could use a volunteer for the Yukon Arctic Ultra... after much pacing backwards and forwards and thinking, 'I can't' then, 'but why can't I, whats stopping me' - I settled on, 'I can and I will' and I booked flights to Whitehorse, Yukon territory, Canada. Having never done anything like this before and never having seen an ultra-race before, I was totally amazed and inspired by the place, the people and the racers. On my return home, I decided to take up running and see if what the racers out there told me was true – ‘you could do this if you really wanted to and committed to it’. As it turns out it was true – my first ultra-race was the YAU, I have been back 6 times and completed the 100mile and 300mile events and met so many amazing people along the way, including, of course, my partner Mike. I have no doubt that we will go back to the Yukon, and the YAU, though this year we will be watching from afar as we prepare for the challenge of the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska.
Good luck to everyone out there – organisers, volunteers and competitors, I’ll be watching those dots progressing on the trail on my computer screen
Marianne Heading discovered winter endurance racing in 2007, while working as a volunteer for the Yukon Arctic Ultra. This experience inspired her to take up running and go back to the Yukon as a competitor. Since 2007 she has been back to the YAU multiple times, completing both the 100 and 300mile races, in 2011 she became the first European female to complete the 300mile YAU and in 2019 won the 300mile MYUA. Events are not a very regular feature, but other races include the Semi-Raid Reunion, Roveaneimi150, ITI350, Karwendelmarsch and closer to home the Four Inns, the Druids Challenge, Equinox24, run to the castle, Hardmoors55. Being outdoors and enjoying the countryside and wildlife are a higher priority than being fast... luckily! Training runs and walks are often prolonged by a break to watch wildlife and take in the surroundings!