A member of the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team has become an Iceman. Jamie Pattison has won the inaugural Berghaus Iceman Polar Race, an extreme self-sufficient 100 km race over remote arctic Greenland and billed as the world’s toughest arctic race. His Team for the event included Natalie Taylor, a British Army doctor and Scott Webster, a professional Mountain Guide.
During the event, Jamie and his team had to fight with their surrounding environment before they could even think about the race. They had to avoid polar bears, deal with temperatures down to minus 30 degrees Celsius and blizzards from polar arctic storms that prevented any movement from their tents for two days.
On day one, Jamie’s team finished the leg in a time of 7 hours and three minutes; an hour and 16 minutes faster than the team in second place. It wasn’t without its challenges however, “Quite early on during the first day I realised my ski boots were a little too tight and slightly uncomfortable. I rather quickly loosened these off in an attempt not to slow us down when I really should have spent more time on this to get it right. After a couple of hours of skiing, the sun was high in the sky and was a glorious day, which made balancing pace and managing one’s personal needs such as eating, drinking and staying on the right side of chilly very challenging.”
The event organisers prevented the competitors from racing on day two and three due to the arctic storm which went in Jamie’s favour, “I was slightly pleased about this as it gave me a day’s grace to catch up on managing my feet and my intake of food and fluids”.
On day four, Jamie’s team finished in 6 hours with the second place team 58 minutes behind. On the last day, again Jamie’s team came in first place with a time of 9 hours and 19 minutes; an amazing 4 hours and one minute ahead of the next placed team. Winning the race as the only team to complete the course within the allotted time.
To safely undertake such a feat, prior planning and preparation was essential. With all his food and equipment being dragged behind him in a pulk, only the bare necessities could be taken in order to minimise weight. To train for the event Jamie spend many days in the Northumberland National Park dragging an old tractor tyre behind him, in addition to trips to Norway and the Cairngorms in Scotland.