Germany’s Florian Reiterberger described winning the inaugural 500km Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra as the toughest challenge of his career.
Using a ‘fat bike’, Reiterberger held off the challenge of Great Britain’s William Robertson to complete what is billed as Europe’s longest non-stop winter ultra race in five days four hours and 50 minutes.
Robertson, who was also using a ‘fat bike’, clocked 5:11:30 to take the runners-up spot, while Romanian Tiberiu Useriu was third home and the first of those competing on foot, recording 5:20:31.
Reiterberger told the race’s social media channels: “This is definitely the toughest thing I’ve ever done, definitely. Maybe it’s because of the soft trails, it’s a real challenge. But if you want to do this you have to deal with it.
Challenge is all that counts
“It’s never been about winning or being the first one or anything like that. It’s always about the challenges and about the beauty of the nature and the country and that is all that counts for me.”
He added: “I feel great, absolutely great. It was an amazing experience. The trail was the biggest challenge. It was so, so soft. So wet and really, hard to ride a bike on. All the other parts were an absolute joy.”
Since the race was self-supported, competitors either carried their kit on their bike or behind them on a sled.
Reflecting on his achievement of being first home on foot, Useriu said: “It was an adventure for mind and for body. Such a race, you can’t think you can win. So much can happen to your body over 500km.”
The Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra is the sister race of the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra (MYAU), which made its return last month.