Almost all athletes looked strong as they got to Muktuk Adventures last night. So, we were hoping most of them will get through the night without major problems. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The extreme cold did eventually take its toll. Temperatures down to – 45 degrees Celsius are tough under any circumstances. But if it’s during the first night it’s particularly bad news. It actually still looked okay during the night but in the early morning hours the so called “Help” messages were starting to come through.
When going out to pick up Gavin Clark and Richard Charles I also ran into Stefano Ferronato and a bit later Hiroki Asai. I brought them to Whitehorse. Gavin and Richard have frostbite. They went to hospital and got it treated. Hiroki and Stefano could not keep warm enough and Hiroki had the hand-version of immersion foot but should be fine once his hands are dry.
Juan Pablo was picked up shortly after by Gary Vantell and also brought to town. His problem is frostbite on fingers, too. Other support requests came from further north. Jorgen Thorsted had to give up due to knee and back problems. More athletes who dropped out are Nick Griffith, Erik Scharpe and Jorgen Thorsted. Jorgen had problems with knee and ankles. For the other athletes I have no details, yet.
As I am writing this, Joe Bishop is checking on the team from Hong Kong who pushed the “Help” button, too.
Athletes who are still moving towards Dog Grave Lake have been checked upon by now. So far no further news about participants having to give up. Jovica actually managed to go past Dog Grave Lake last night without stopping. I do not have the details yet as to why this happened. He turned around eventually and is now at the checkpoint.
We are in what we refer to as “high alert status”. This means the race comes to a halt. Any athletes not scratching and reaching Dog Grave Lake today will have to stay there. The good news is that we have wall tent space there for them. It won’t be comfortable but will sure be warmer than outside.
The next steps depend on several factors, the main one of course being the weather forecast.