360 days to choose – life vs race
Joel Juht started the toughest polar marathon Yukon Arctic Ultra on the 3rd of February – a race with a goal to go through 700 km. Everything the athletes were warned about, came a reality after crossing the starting line.
“Hello friends, close acquitances and my good partners. I am writing to answer many of you, who have been worried about my current situation. Generally speaking everything is okay. There has been some minor complications, but luckily I was able to predict the worst situations. I promise to give a detailed overview of the marathon. This race is about choices – every decision could lead to severe injuries. It is difficult to imagine going through a situation such as this, but I will do my best to explain everything.
You never know what could happen during a race like this, every minute can change your situation – having 2 minutes to avoid frostbite, seeing hallucinations or dealing with serious health risks. These days and nights during the first 100 miles gave me an unforgettable experience and knowledge to do better as I go further. With only a week left until my birthday, I am currently trying to recover. I will be back in Estonia on the 20th of February at 1 pm.”
Yukon Arctic Ultra world record holder sees Joel’s performance as a heroic deed. “Even though I’m sure you are really pissed off about the whole situation, you are still a hero and a very unique athlete! Let’s catch up when you are back and had some time to think it tWe can look back at this journey as you recover and get great insight together.”
Joel Juht called help on the eve of the 4th of February. Race crew transported him to a checkpoint to rest. After his stay there, Joel decided to discontinue his race. “The call for help came a little before arriving to my next checkpoint. I knew I could go further, but it wasn’t a smart move at that time. Unfortunately it was impossible to recover from such severe chafting even after recovery time. If you have scar tissue, then band-aids will not let the wound breathe and it’s likely to get worse,” Joel explained. He is not sure what caused the injury but the decision was clear.
“Something felt off after the first 20 hours. Special ointments were not working due to dry air and high minus degrees. Checkpoints were too far apart to risk going further in this condition.”
Main organizer of the Yukon Arctic Ultra polar marathon writes regular updates during the race. Several athletes have discontinued their race due to health problems, frostbites, hallucinations, exhaustion, muscle pain etc. From the 40 contestants who started the longest distance of 430 miles, only 14 have remained.