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Are you looking for the perfect gaiters?

INSTAgaiters getting some action in the winter

Our sponsor Kahtoola makes really good spikes for your shoes, to give you grip on ice and snow. They also manufacture some incredibly light waterproof gaiters, their LEVAgaiters. However, this post is about the ultra light and very functional INSTAgaiters. These are intended for use during spring, summer and fall – when you are out on a trail and there is no snow on the ground. They actually do keep snow out of your shoes in winter, too! We tried it (see main image of this post).

Now Kahtoola released a fun video, showing us all why gaiters are a great idea during the warmer months, too:

MLAU 2025 starts March 2nd

Copyright: Jonas Palsson

The Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra 2025 start date is confirmed:

We will begin our adventure on March 2nd!

For details on entry fees and entry deadlines, please have a look in our “Application” section. As always, you can save some significant money if you sign up early (i.e. by May 31st, 24). Anybody interested in signing up, please send an email to info[a]thegreatoutdoors.de.

If you are new to the MLAU and are looking into timing/travel, please note that athletes without prior cold weather experience need to participate in a 4-day training course. If you are in doubt about your qualification or have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

 

Photo gallery by Jonas Palsson

Copyright: Jonas Palsson

This year we had the talented Jonas Palsson with us as our official race photographer. Being a photographer for a race like the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra is not an easy task. You are out there no matter how cold it is. Initially, you have everyone very close together and all of a sudden the athletes are spread out over more than 100 km. Day and night you spend looking for the right places and the right moment, to catch the scenes you are looking for. Jonas did a great job with all of it. Of course it helps that he spends most of his time outdoors, is a qualified guide, knows the Heart of Lapland and rides a snowmobile himself. In addition, he has got that creativity we admire with good photographers. Now all of his photos are uploaded in our gallery. Enjoy (and please respect the copyright)!

Last 500 km athlete reaches finish line

Copyright: Callum Jolliffe

All remaining athletes in the 500 km race have reached the finish line. That’s a total of 15 finishers out of 19 athletes who started. In a race like this, non-stop, in the winter and over that kind of a distance – that is an extremely good ratio. Especially, considering how soft the trails were on the first two days. It was a real pleasure seeing all back in Överkalix. After Florian, Mathieu, Thierry, Peter and Tommy, we were able to welcome:

Pascal Bleys (Belgium)
Anim Swart (Canada)
Kasper Johansen (Denmark)
Josephine Bush (England)
Enrique Trull Maravilla (Spain)
Paul Fosh (England)
Pat Cooke-Rogers (England)
Phil Cowell (England)
Alla Bova (USA)
Thanh Vu (Vietnam)

They are all extraordinary athletes and it was so much fun to be part of their adventure here in Swedish Lapland. We have many posts in our Social Media channels about how it all went. More is still to come. Also, soon I will have a full photo gallery here on our website, in case you do not like or use facebook and/or Instagram.

A big thank you to all athletes in all distances and disciplines – finishers or not. Thank you to the amazing crew, Sam, Callum, Sophie, Shannon, Catherine, Kate, Kelly, Thomas, our snowmobile guides Henrik, Daniel, Roland, Arnold, Robin and Jonas, our race photographer Jonas Palsson, checkpoints/checkpoint hosts Ann-Sofi, Hans and Robin from Jockfall, Grand Arctic Resort Överkalix, Lansjärv Folkets Hus, Leipojärvi Snowmobile Club team Eva, Jan, Leif and all the others, Nattavaara Hembygdsförening, Sveaskog, transfer drivers Anne and Hakan, Niclas and Linnea and all others who got the Lapland Arena project off the ground, Jockfall, Gällivare and Överkalix snowmobile clubs, and, again, Robin, Daniel and Henrik who also did a lot of trail grooming and marking, our sponsors Montane, Kahtoola, Racelite, Jockfall Fishing & Activities, Grand Arctic Resort Överkalix, SOTO, Wrightsock, Fjällcom, Sveaskog, Firepot, innova, Reko, Acapulka, Swedish Lapland, Gällivare Kommun and Överkalix Kommun.

Florian Reiterberger wins 500 km distance

Copyright: Callum Jolliffe

At the beginning of the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra 2024, German biker Florian Reiterberger was struggling. The trails were soft and he was forced to push his bike over long distance. Florian had already won the MLAU 500 km in 2022. This time, it looked like he may not finish at all. However, as the temperatures dropped and the surface got more solid, Florian was able to gain speed. Add to that his ability to go for days with very short breaks, it meant he soon was in the lead. And the Bavarian kept that lead until the end, arriving in Överkalix March 8th at 11:47. He looked a bit more tired than normal – mostly because those first couple of days took a lot of strength out of him. Also, he was not feeling 100% to begin with. Hard to imagine what crazy fast time he could do feeling perfect and having perfect trails … Now Florian is recovering and enjoying some free time in Överkalix, joining us whenever he can to welcome other finishers. As a matter of fact, when Peter Felten reached the finish line today, Florian was on the phone, giving Pat Cooke-Rogers advice on how to fix a problem with her bike on her way to Nattavaara. Amongst other things, Florian runs a bike shop (www.radlgarage-eggstaett.de). If you plan on doing a fatbike race in winter and want to talk to an expert, Florian Reiterberger is your man!

At 08:17 today (March 9th), our next two 500 km athletes reached Överkalix. Mathieu Bonnier and Thierry Corbarieu crossed the finish line togehter. Mathieu on skis and Thierry on foot. Both are from France and have a lot of experience. Mathieu was very happy about how it went for him and his skis. However, he had a rough day, not feeling great and having major back pain. So, it was good that he did not have to go back out. Thierry looked 100% fine. He still had enough strength in him to lift his pulk over his head – for that special finishing photo. They are now also resting here in Överkalix.

Next up, March 9th at 15:17, was Peter Felten, another fatbiker from Germany. Like Florian and all others on bike or foot, he had a tough couple of days at the beginning. But he found his rhythm and once the trails were hard, he had no more problems.

Last but not least, Taiwanese runner Tommy Chen arrived. Like Florian, Mathieu, Thierry and Peter, he is a veteran of our Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra race. Coming here with this kind of experience is of course incredibly valuable. Tommy is an elite marathon runner who also loves extreme races. He just goes and goes, always very happy when we see him and grateful for the experience, even if it involves some occasional suffering. Tommy came in March 9th at 17:05.

Congratulations to you all!

Copyright: Callum Jolliffe

Guy Belchier wins 185 km race

Copyright: John Summerton

Guy Belchier (UK), our first place winner in the 2024 Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra 185km distance, arrived at the finish line March 5th at 07:55 this morning.

Looking fresh, accomplished, and proud, Guy crossed the finish line next to the Grand Arctic Resort in Överkalix, the same spot from which he set off less than two days ago.

Well done for an incredibly well paced race in some very challenging conditions!

Congratulations also to all other finishers. Rank 2 went to Steve Bentley (UK) who reached Överkalix at 13:28 and 3rd place is Mark Frantzen (Germany) who came in at 20:02. Ludovic Seuillot (France) who was the fastest skier in the 185km came in before Mark but received a 6 hour time penalty for going the wrong way and requiring our assistance to be put back on track.

For the full results, please check out our results table.

Early morning update from Day 2

Copyright: Jonas Palsson

Before anything else, our updates on instagram and facebook are more frequent. So, please check out our channels there.

An early morning update from our Race Headquarter at Jockfall:

It is 4am here and very quiet now. We had a busy afternoon yesterday, both at our checkpoints here in Jockfall and Polar Circle Cabin #1 but also out on the trail. Every day our snowmobile guides do one more check before the front runners. Today they had to discover that the unseasonably warm temperatures caused a dangerous situation on some of the lakes ahead of us. So, the decision was made to find a way around these problem areas. Time for some serious re-marking … And we had to make sure all athletes understand what is going on because the GPS track they have – if they use it to check their position – would at some point tell them they are not on the trail, even though they are following the markers. They are all briefed that the markers are what matters but it’s still a confusing situation. We were able to tell the athletes in time, especially the ones in the lead who were closest to the problem.

Instead of lakes with overflow, a section of the trail leading to Överkalix further south, is now on a ploughed backcountry road. The runners and bikers will LOVE that. Of course that stretch won’t last forever and they will soon enough face softer trails again.
Overall, we are now seeing more scratches – just that it’s not so much because of the cold and the distance. Instead it’s soft trail and the distance. Athletes who decided not to continue are Jens Klinkhammer (Germany), Thomas Werner (Germany), Vedangi Kulkarni (India), Daniel Gruber (Germany) and Stefan Zahlten (Germany). Each had different reasons. They are all resting and recovering.

A group of athletes are still here in Jockfall. Everyone else is on their way or resting further south, on the way to Överkalix.
Our 185 km finish line is ready for Guy Belchier (UK) who should rank first in this distance if nothing unexpected happens. Currently leading in the 500 km is German biker Florian Reiterberger, with a number of participants on his heel.

It’s still not very cold but it does feel a bit colder tonight. At least that will help “cool down the engines” as the athletes work their way along the trails. Hopefully, it’s also enough to firm up the surface at least a little bit.

Day 1 at the MLAU 2024

Copyright: Callum Jolliffe

Yesterday morning, March 3rd, the participants of the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra 2024 started their adventure at our Grand Arctic Resort start line. Even though the weather was less than ideal, everyone was in a great mood and enjoying the superb atmosphere. It was really nice to see so many local visitors who were there to join us and also to have a great time in the “Lapland Arctic Ultra Arena” – an initiative by the Överkalix Kommun. Local businesses supported this project and there was a program for several hours that also included a kid’s race.

With temperatures above zero degrees it was no surprise that the trail turned soft. It was very challenging to walk, run or bike in conditions like this for hours on end. The only ones who were able to move fast, were our skiers. In the case of the locals Felix Granberg and Andreas Vennberg, it was actually very fast. I told them that I would look forward to seeing just how quick a good skier can be on the kind of trail our race can offer, and it felt like they were on a mission to do exactly that. Felix won the 20 km race, arriving in Rödupp at 11:15 and Andreas Vennberg finished the 50 km race at 14:31. Mind you, conditions were not perfect for them, either. With normal temperatures and better trails they would likely have been even faster.

We had two athletes who did not show for the 20km race but all others finished. Signe and Anders Malmer, both also from Sweden and on skis, placed 2nd. 2nd in rank after Andreas, in the 50 km race to Jockfall, was local biker David Frosman. 3rd came German Katharina Zirngibl on foot. Richard Weremiuk and Paula Cairey, both from the UK, had to scratch. All other 50 km athletes reached the finish line. For the full rankings, please check out our Results Table, which will be updated soon. Congratulations to you all and a big THANK YOU for having joined us in the premier of the 20 and 50 km race distances. I also want to thank all helpers at the aid stations that were in place to support us for these race distances!

In the meantime, the athletes in the 185 and 500 km races were also challenged by the soft trail. Way ahead was and is skier Mathieu Bonnier from France. However, other athletes who normally would make us work hard to be able to keep up, amongst them fatbiker Florian Reiterberger from Germany – who had previously won the 500 km distance – were suffering. Biking was almost impossible, which meant these participants had to push their bikes a lot. Most athletes on foot used snowshoes. I saw many of them at the 20 km mark in Rödupp. Since we all know that we can’t change the weather, our athletes kept their spirits high. Some of them were clearly suffering and I am sure using a swearword or two on the way. When we met them they still were able to make jokes about it.

Overnight, all athletes have kept moving and a few are now (it is 3:30am) taking some rest time. Mathieu reached the Jockfall checkpoint, where he plans to have an early breakfast. Others will soon arrive here, too. Further back, our participants are fine, too. They are doing the right thing, which is to not go over their respective limits on the first day.

The Jockfall crew is ready for more arrivals and our crew at Polar Circle Cabin #1 is also in place. We do not expect it to be significantly easier today but hopefully slightly colder temperatures tomorrow night help to compact the trail a bit more.

Welcome to our new sponsor Wrightsock!

Ideally, as an event organiser you get to work with sponsors that make products you like. I have always been a big fan of Montane, I have known and used Kahtoola products for more than 15 years, I love the way Firepot expedition meals taste and I think SOTO make incredible stoves. Now I am super happy that we can add another brand to the list of our sponsors that is absolutely amazing:

Wrightsock is a US company that makes double layer socks. We get supported by their German distributor.

Over the years, I have used all of their socks. From thin to thick, low-cut and crew lengths. No other socks I have ever used, match their performance when it comes to the perfect climate for my feet.
They use a recycled Polyester inner layer that wicks moisture off the skin. Making sure your feet stay dry. Staying dry means staying cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter and ensuring your feet are more comfortable. Interaction between the inner and outer sock layers absorbs friction that is normally transferred to the skin. If you have not tried a Wrightsock, I really recommend you give them a chance. You will love it!

So, a big welcome to Wrightsock as our official partner for socks and supporting sponsor!