© Callum Jolliffe/Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra
Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra racer Shelley Gellatly is one tough cookie. The 56-year-old Canadian has finished the race – billed as the ‘World’s toughest and coldest ultra’ – multiple times across several of the ultra distances, including second-place finishes overall at both the 100-mile and 300-mile races more than a decade ago.
The non-stop race is self-supported and runs through Canada’s snowy Yukon wilderness, sometimes reaching temperatures as low as -50C. Having undergone chemotherapy for Stage 3 breast cancer, Shelley has to be especially careful not to develop frostbite as she no longer feels the cold in her extremities like she used to. Last year, she was forced to retire when she developed mild frostbite in her fingers. This year, she attempted the 300-mile distance on skis for the first time (racers may compete on foot, skis or bike) but sensibly withdrew after being unable to warm her feet up.
Shelley rocks and I’m very happy to bring you this Q&A with her which covers her many Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra (MYAU) race experiences, including a handful of DNFs which don’t bother her one bit.