Wolves, snow, ice roads and even frost bite…there are some fundraising challenges that really do push brave participants to the limit.
Professional dog walker Hilary Clinton knew that the punishing 6633 Arctic Ultra Challenge, the non-stop self-sufficient 380-mile foot race through the frozen landscape of the Canadian Arctic, would test her spirit of endurance.
It’s billed as the world’s toughest, coldest, windiest event of its kind but Hilary was determined to compete as a tribute to her Sheffield-based cousin, Roger Clinton, who was a St Luke’s Hospice patient as he faced the final stages of his fight against cancer last autumn.
Hilary, who was born in Beverley and is from a Sheffield family, now lives near Inverness in Scotland so was at least able to get in some training amid the snow of a Highland winter and she also had the experience of previously taking part in the Yukon Challenge., which had taken her into the Arctic Circle.
But as Arctic temperatures plummeted to minus 40 and frostbite started to attack, medical experts decided that Hilary needed hospital treatment and brought the adventure to an end after six tough days.
Hilary, who had been walking solo and was completely self-sufficient, pulling her limited supplies of food, tent and sleeping bag along with her on a pulk sled, had intended to complete the challenge in nine days.
“The really frustrating thing is that I had completed 326 miles and was only 50 miles from the finish but my feet were beyond cold, I could feel the frost bite and I could only move around four paces before I found it hard to breathe,” she said.
After pressing her alarm button, Hilary was rescued by the challenge’s medical team and spent the next two days in hospital.
“I have frost bite in my toes so every step is hard at the minute and I did have frost nip in my fingers but that’s healing up nicely now,” she added.
“But I have raised £2,600 for St Luke’s and I have to say that I was having a great time, it was an amazing experience.
“I saw wolves in the wild, which was brilliant, I met some lovely, amazing people and I experienced the ice roads - but then Mother Nature bit me.
“I definitely want to raise more money for St Luke’s now – but it will be somewhere warmer next time.”