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RUN247 / Running News / Ultramarathon News / Serbian star Jovica Spajic powers to win in world’s ‘coldest and toughest’ ultra

Serbian star Jovica Spajic powers to win in world’s ‘coldest and toughest’ ultra

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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Serbia’s Jovica Spajic, who won the Montane Spine Challenger North last summer, has claimed victory at the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra – an event that is billed as the world’s ‘coldest and toughest’ ultra race.

Spajic was completing the Yukon course at the third time of asking after recording a DNF in both of his previous attempts.

He overcame brutal, icy conditions on the 300-mile route to claim first place, with only three other participants out of the original field of 18 crossing the finish line.

An issue on the course meant that the distance was shortened by 38 miles, with Spajic at the time well set to challenge the course record.

Contrasting conditions

The race is based in Yukon, northwest Canada, with temperatures dropping to as low as -40 degrees Celsius.

It starts at Shipyard’s Park in Whitehorse next to the Yukon River, with the route ending at Pelly Crossing in one of the coldest and most remote environments on the planet.

Jovica Spajic Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra win 2024 photo credit Mark Kelly
[Photo credit: Mark Kelly]

All in all a very different environment to the one Spajic faced last June when he also completed some unfinished business along the Pennine Way in the UK.

Having had to retire from the Winter Spine Challenger North when going well, he took on the same course in the summer version and formed an alliance with British runner Tom Hill as they pulled clear of the rest of the field.

They opted to finish the race together, Spajic proudly carrying the Serbian flag over the line in Kirk Yetholm.

Herron bikes to 100-mile win

The Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra is made up of three races: a marathon, 100 miles, and 300 miles, which are completed either on foot, fatbike, or XC-Ski, each starting from the same point of the non-stop course.

The route follows that of the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest trail, the trail of the world’s toughest Sled Dog Race, which has been running for almost 40 years.

This year’s 100-mile race was won by Scott Herron on fatbike, with Elise Zender being the fastest participant on foot, placing third overall. The marathon course was won by Adam Luciano, who finished an hour and 44 minutes ahead of runner-up, Leandra Brient.

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  

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