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13 July 2011

Running Ground

If not on a journey I train twice daily (even throughout polar winters) and three times every other day. The extra session is a killing weight training one. If you would like to know more about what’s involved read Cold Sweat, an article published in Summit magazine from the time when I lived in Arctic Canada. Read it and you’ll find out the routine and the reasons why I continue to put myself through it all. Another article along similar lines is Sessions From Hell first published in British Runner magazine. Rab Vapour-rise continues to be my favourite clothing to train in.

Accessible only by air or boat, there are no roads leading into or out of Ittoqqortoormiit. But we do have tracks, potential ankle busters. The uneven terrain and dubious footing could lead to perpetual running injuries but my Sorbothane insoles help avoid these.

In winter I stay within the periphery of Ittoqqortoormiit to avoid bumping into polar bears in the dark. In summer I run further afield to the back of beyond and have to do my best to avoid bears. I have yet to beat last summer’s record which was, running into six polar bears on different occasions.

The opening video shot looks at the stunning south facing setting of Ittoqqortoormiit, a view that is never without ice or snow. To the west is an area known locally as Qinngaaiva (Walrus Bay) that captures the beauty of where it is I run past sleeping dog teams, flitting migratory birds and Arctic flora gazing up into the perpetual daylight. It is also a wonderful area for enjoying leisurely hikes with family and friends but not without a firearm for protection against bears.

I treasured times with my main lead dog, Loads, for company as I filmed or took photographs.

With my disposable contact lenses from Ciba Vision my eyes remain healthy which is very reassuring living in such a remote location where professional eye care comes in from the Outside once every two years.

On one occasion while hiking this summer I stumbled across a large and rather impressive whalebone.

On the same day I found a hot spring shared by two polar bear skulls and a musk-ox head. The whole voodoo looking arrangement was bubbling away at a water temperature good enough to boil an egg rendering the fetid air as rank and thick as a dormitory full of cabbage eating schoolboys.

It may well have been summer but with temperatures never topping 10ÂșC there was no convincing this broad-leafed fireweed (Greenland’s national flower) to unfurl its beautiful petals. I love this flower with its purple edged leaves.

For more about Gary and his dogs go to www.garyrolfe.com

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