CS:What was the longest sleep you managed?
TW:The longest I got was 5 hours. The shortest was just 2 hours. It was a fine line to tread because too little sleep and I’d risk mental and physical exhaustion. Too much and I’d lose valuable time in the race.
CS:Did you have any really annoying recurring thoughts in your head?
TW:Sometimes without thinking I would replay the distance to the next checkpoint in my head. It got so annoying that about halfway to the checkpoint at McCabe Creek, I suddenly belted out the tune to ‘Can’t smile without you’ by Barry Manilow just to stop thinking about it all.
CS:How did you feel at the end?
TW:I felt pretty terrible because my leg was in a lot of pain and I badly needed sleep. At the same time I was over the moon that I had managed it and achieved 2nd place. A piece of me will always be linked with the race and even now I’d like to compete in it again one day.
CS:What was the most difficult part of the race?
TW:There was a moment at Carmacks checkpoint when I was a bit hesitant at going back out into the cold. Diane Patrick, who is the heart and soul of the race, told me bluntly ‘you’re wearing the Union Jack – get out there!’ My leg was a throbbing mass of pain and I could only manage a few steps at a time. I had sacrificed too much and fought too hard to give up so I hunted in my sled to find something to make a splint out of. I pulled out my bedroll and wrapped it tight around my lower leg, tying it with a spare shoelace. Sticking a small tree-branch down it for rigidity, I was able to limp on to the finish.