Chillisauce:Why on Earth are you attempting the Yukon Ultra?
Tim Williamson:In the summer last year I’d just finished hiking the 270-mile Pennine Way non-stop when I got a call from a mate of mine. He had heard of this race called the Yukon Arctic Ultra and we joked about me running it. He said he’d give me twenty quid if I finished the 300 mile distance. A week later I applied to compete in the race. I think he’s pretty worried about parting with his money now.
CS:What is the longest you’ve run so far?
TW:The longest I’ve run without sleeping is 104 miles. It was the Hadrian’s Wall route which is only 84 miles long but I got lost a few times in the dark. That was tough.
CS:How do you train for something like this?
TW:Before I started, if I knew how tough the training would be, I would rather have had a vasectomy than gone through it. I thought I was pretty fit – I’ve done a lot of long distance running but this has been a whole new level. My training’s mainly broken into 3 categories; running, weight training and resistance training where I’ve simulated dragging a sled by attaching my harness to car tyres and pulling them along the ground.
CS:You must be eating piles of food?
TW:I’ve been eating my way through the entire animal kingdom; chicken, fish, pork, venison, beef, duck, even pheasant. My weekly food bill has shot up but I’ve only gained 5kg in weight and that’s all muscle. I’m not a fan of all this ‘GM-free organic low fat stuff;’ if it’s food, I’ll eat it.
CS:What happens if you get lost?
TW:That’s one of my biggest worries. If I get lost, I can’t call for help unless it’s an emergency. I can retrace my footprints, as long as it’s not snowing. It sounds a bit harsh but that’s part of the race, that’s why it’s the toughest. I’m not taking GPS – I’m using map and compass. I guess I’m a bit old fashioned like that. I’ve managed without it until now, plus it’s a lot of faffing around with the added weight, changing batteries etc.