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Ice-cool Damian revels in gruelling Arctic challenge

DAMIAN Hall admits he loves running in the cold – and he wasn’t just referring to last week’s white-out in Wiltshire.

The Corsham Running Club ultra running specialist has just returned from northern Sweden where he won the Beyond The Ultimate Ice Ultra 230k Arctic race.

Now if you are talking snow, ice and cold then this is an event in a Premier League of its own as Hall had to combat record-high snowfall and temperatures that reached as low as -36C, the coldest in the history of the event.

“I know it has been cold recently but coming back home last week actually felt quite warm to me!” said Hall.

“It was seriously cold out there and while I had all the best gear possible I decided the best way of staying alive was to run as fast as possible.”

Hall’s tactics worked as he completed the race, held over five days with overnight stays in log cabins, in a time of 27 hours 34minues, more than eight hours ahead of German paratrooper Thomas Wittek.

“It was a cracking adventure and I really enjoyed it,” added Hall, who was running as an ambassador for British sportswear company inov-8.

“There was only a small field of around 30 runners as it was such a remote place and eight of those dropped out on the first day, some with frost-bite, so that was a little un-nerving as they were experienced people.

“We all took the necessary precautions but the conditions were just so, so cold. Liquid in my water bottles froze. My food froze. My eyelashes turned to ice. My inov-8 wrag turned to corrugated iron around my face. I loved it!

“You definitely had to look after yourself in those conditions.”

All photos courtesy of Mikkel Beisner/Beyond The Ultimate