No pain, no gain for runner on RacingThePlanet Iceland ultramarathon
Ultramarathon runner Derek Kwik is a glutton for punishment - not even hypothermia and a twisted ankle could stop him finishing his latest challenge.
Last week Kwik, 45, endured extreme weather conditions to successfully finish the RacingThePlanet Iceland 250 kilometre ultramarathon, and in the process raised nearly US$70,000 for local charity the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. But he did it all the hard way.
The race in Iceland lasted a week. He ran the equivalent of a marathon every day and sometimes even farther. It was summer there, which meant there were 20 hours of daylight, and the remaining four hours were never darker than dusk.
No one was prepared for the winds, though; every day it blew at 30-40km/h. Combined with torrential rain that fell regularly, it made things miserable at times.
"The wind-chill factor was huge and quite a few competitors couldn't finish due to hypothermia," Kwik said. "From day one it was so cold that we wore all our warm clothes from the start so we had nothing warm to change into the whole week.
"It wasn't fun, as your clothes would be wet all day, and then at night after setting up your tent you'd have to sleep in them. There were no hot showers."
Kwik has braved challenging weather before. He is the first Hong Kong Chinese to have run across the world's highest, driest, hottest and coldest deserts. To date, he has run across seven deserts, through three jungles and over two mountains.
Another problem in Iceland was the terrain. Competitors ran mostly over lava rock, which was very slippery in the wet.
"People had to pull out with injuries," Kwik said. "I twisted my right knee and sprained my left ankle on the rocky lava fields. It was definitely one of the most challenging things I've done."