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ESSENTIAL EVENT INFORMATION 2024

Due to the scale and nature of Rat Race Events, changes to the event course, structure and timings sometimes need to be made right up until the date of the event. To ensure you have the latest information and are fully prepared for the challenge that lies ahead, please checkback on this EEI before travelling to the event.

This EEI was last updated on: 21/12/23 

WELCOME TO FINLAND, NORWAY & SWEDEN.
WELCOME TO THE ARCTIC CIRCLE 2024.

 

Dear #ratracer

 

The countdown is well and truly underway to our surreal adventure in the deep freeze of the Scandinavian north! We are beyond excited to welcome you to the arctic wilderness as you submerse yourself in the sub-zero temperatures of this pristine polar paradise. 

 

Please find our Essential Event Information Document, containing what we hope is a comprehensive outlook towards your journey next year. If you have not done so already, do ensure that you are fully conversant with the website and then pour yourself a cuppa (or something a little stronger!) and read on… 

Rob Atkin

Event Director, Rat Race Arctic Circle

FILES AND DOWNLOADS:
KEY REMINDERS:

Make sure you’ve read this document thoroughly well ahead of your departure date to ensure there are no last minute panics or surprises, if you have any questions after reading this please reach out to us on events@ratrace.com

SKIP TO SECTION

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

  • Event Participation Form MUST be submitted NO later 15th January 2024.

  • Medical declaration MUST be submitted NO later than 15th January 2024.

  • The Q & A webinar will take place on at 1730 UK time on 16th January 2024. The webinar will be recorded and sent out to all participants the following day so you can watch it back at your leisure if you are unable to make the date and time.

  • You will need to provide you own  freeze-dried expedition meals for the wild camp night ( 1 x evening meal & dessert and 1 x breakfast). They must be the dehydrated type that only needs hot water adding before eating, we will provide the hot water. Use Ratrace15 on expeditionfoods.com  for 15% off at check out. Other options are  firepotfood.com or realoutdoorfood.com/products/

  • Remember to bring personal sports nutrition and snacks for the duration of the itinerary. There will be pitstop snacks provided but it is always good to augment these with your own selection. 

  • Adventure packs will be collected at Registration in Kilpisjärvi, Finland.

  • Kit: You will need to pass kit check before being able to complete our physical registration process on 15/03 in Kilpisjärvi. The Q&A webinar is a great opportunity to ask any kit related questions to ensure you are confident you are bringing the correct and appropriate gear for the conditions. If your kit is not right the Event team will reserve the right to prevent you starting the Event. Don’t worry – there are several touchpoints before departure to ensure this does not occur. See the relevant section below on kit, and webinar date. If in any doubt on kit, please do get in touch with us at expeditions@ratrace.com and we can help! 

  • Insurance: You need insurance. You will need a medical repatriation and evacuation policy that has a minimum of $500 000 trip cover on it. You will submit this to us pre-event and we will ensure we have the correct number to call your insurer if we need to evacuate you or provide serious medical attention. We also highly recommend a policy that covers you for curtailment and non-attendance.

  • During Registration, we will provide you with a safety procedure to follow in case of an emergency. 

  • Live events decision-making: In all cases while on the trip, the Event Director’s decision is final. They are at all times acting in the combined interest of the safety of the individual and of the group, as their paramount concern.  The event takes place on 'live' public roads, private roads and shared access trails. There are no closed roads. Always exercise caution.

KEY INFO

INTRO

Rat Race Arctic Circle is taking us to the top of the world. Well, very nearly. The Arctic region of northern Scandinavia is a beautiful landscape that is equally inspiring and demanding of all who go there. On this trip you’ll get to see and feel the power and beauty of nature in its rawest form. We have 3 excellent days of activity.

See you all soon!

Rob Atkin, Event Director 

TRIP MEETING POINT

You will arrive into Tromso the night before (14/03) or even earlier if you wish. You will overnight in this charming Arctic city at accommodation arranged by yourself. The meeting point is in the city at 0900 on Friday 15th March 2024, see itinerary section below for further info and exact meet location. 

 

We will then make our way across the border and into Finland arriving at our base in Kilpisjärvi.  Here we will check kit, meet our guides and brief for the days ahead. It is a 3-hour drive, including an opportunity to stop to buy some food and have a comfort break.

 

TRIP END POINT

On Tuesday 19th March 2024 we will depart Kilpisjärvi at 0830. Again, this will be a 3-hour coach journey with a comfort break in between. You will be dropped off back in Tromsø at the same location we left from. For those wishing to fly home on the 19th please ensure you book an afternoon flight from 3pm to allow for any delays. 

WEATHER  

Temperatures in March average = -8C but this disguises a huge range from +4 to -30C. It is often windy and speeds of 15-25mph with even stronger gusts being common. Needless to say the weather will play a massive part in the event. We have loads of contingencies and options to cope with whatever it throws at us but to go to this event thinking the plan is the plan will end in disappointment. The weather is very changeable and can move from one extreme to the other very quickly, we must all be flexible and mindful of how the weather will inevitably have an impact on our plans.  

STYLE OF TRAVEL 

There will be around 30 participants in the event. In general, we will provide lead and sweep crew (and other support vehicles throughout the course) and we will establish pit stops along the route, very roughly equidistant between one another and usually a minimum of 2 of these stops per day. You go at your own pace, bike, ski, hike with others, go on your own, whatever you fancy. We will not stop you unless you look unlikely to finish in daylight. As such, there is no formal cut-off time other than darkness. Daily stages could be influenced by weather or other factors – it is very much down to the judgement of the event team on this. However, unless we think you’re going to run out of daylight to finish the stage, we will not cut you off (injury or other factors notwithstanding). That is our pledge to you. For your part, just keep moving forward.  

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TIME ZONE

Norway +1hr GMT

Finland +2hr GMT

The event will operate on Finnish time for its duration in Kilpisjarvi

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PHONE CODE

Norway (+47) Finland (+358)

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CURRENCY

 Norwegian Krone (NOK) - Norway  EURO - Finland

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TEMPERATURE

 March temperatures average -8°C but can range from +4 to -30C.

ITINERARY

DAY ONE / ARRIVAL DAY

Friday 15th March 2024

You will arrive into Tromsø the night before (14/03) or even earlier if you wish. You will overnight in this charming Arctic city at accommodation arranged by yourself. The meeting point is outside the Radisson Blu Hotel in Tromsø at 0900 on Friday 15th March 2024.  After meeting, our first job is to visit the Tromsø Outdoors shop to pick up skiing and snowshoe equipment.  

  • Google pin to the meeting location is HERE 

 

We will then transit to Kilpisjärvi, about a 3hr drive. Our accommodation is twin rooms in either a large building or small individual huts. There is a restaurant attached for all breakfast and dinners. We will have a full safety briefing on arrival, get you fitted up with the bike and skis, have a brief ski skills session/tutorial with one of our local guides and then there will still be plenty of time for kit faff ready for the adventure to begin the following day.

 

ACCOMMODATION: Comfortable cabins of Kilpisjärvi. 

MEALS: Evening meal in restaurant. You must provide your own Breakfast and Lunch.  

DAY TWO / ARCTIC CIRLE 2024 BEGINS!

Saturday 16th March 2024

Riding directly from our base in Kilpisjärvi after a big breakfast in the cabins, your steed is the mighty Fatbike. For those who have not ridden them before do not worry – they are a real hoot and you will be amazed over what sort of terrain they can cover. We will ride over a lot of snow, both firm and softer stuff. We’re aiming for 30km by bike and whilst this might not sound far, in deep snow and in temperatures down to – 20, it will be enough! The time of year affords us much daylight and, hopefully, brilliant views. We will be supported today by our snowmobile teams, with whom we will meet up on the trail and who will refresh us with drinks and snacks. Our destination is the tri-point cairn marking the convergence of the borders of Norway, Sweden and Finland. After taking the obligatory walk around the cairn it's back on the bike to the cabins.

ACCOMMODATION: Back to the comfortable cabins of Kilpisjarvi.  

MEALS: Breakfast is in the restaurant associated with the cabins. Throughout the journey, we will provide hot and cold water from our pit stops, plus other snacks. Of course, you should also plan to bring some of your own preferred foods and snacks for the route, to ensure you have a top-up of calories available when you need it most! See below for the full spec on our ‘Pit Stops.’ Dinner is back at the cabins’ restaurant. 

DAY THREE / CAMP BOUND ON SKIS

Sunday 17th March 2024

After a short drive out of the village, we’re heading out on back country skis for 25KM to Lake Saanajärvi and our overnight wilderness camp. There are toilets here and classic polar expedition tunnel tents will be provided. We’ll get a camp fire going and relax telling stories and hopefully enjoying an unpolluted view of the northern lights.  

ACCOMMODATION: Tents at the wilderness camp.  

MEALS: Breakfast will be the usual buffet at the cabins restaurant. The day will be punctuated with our Pit Stop service throughout the ski leg and you will carry some snacks and fluids in your day pack. Dinner will be the freeze dried expedition meals that you bring with you.  A main course and pudding is our suggestion.

DAY FOUR / SNOWSHOE, SUMMIT AND CELEBRATIONS!

Monday 18th March 2024

A hot porridge (or another pudding!) for breakfast makes getting out of the tent well worth it. We set off today in snow shoes and set our sights on the summit of the mighty Saana, the mountain which dominates the skyline above the village of Kilpisjärvi. It’s a big 30km on the cards today as we head out to the tri point cairn for one final dance before returning to Kilpisjärvi for our last night in the cosy cabins as we celebrate a job well done.  

ACCOMMODATION: Comfortable Wooden Cabins, KilpisjärviMEALS: Breakfast will be your final freeze dried expedition ration pack -  go with a variety of porridge or a pudding if oats isn't your thing. So, that’s 3 packets you need to bring with you. The day will again be punctuated with our Pit Stop service and you will carry some snacks and fluids in your day pack. Dinner is back in the cabins restaurant for one last time enjoyed with a few beers to toast your achievements in the Arctic Circle. 

DAY 5 / DEPARTURE

 After breakfast we will transit back to Tromsø at 08:30. Choosing a flight after 3pm is preferable.  

EVENT INSTRUCTIONS

NAVIGATION  

All the trails are way marked with poles so they’re very easy to follow. We will station marshals at any key junctions if a specific turn is needed. There are 2 guides travelling with the group each day to help you out as needed and also to ensure you go the right way. The opportunity for an error is exceptionally low. GPX files will be shared with you one week ahead of the event for those who wish to follow using a watch or similar. 

COURSE CUT OFFS & WITHDRAWALS

We have already covered the specifics of this earlier in the Style of Event section, however, just to iterate this event and Rat Race in general is not about cut-offs. But, having a ‘cut- off’ and a ‘sweeping’ structure is an important part of our Event Management Plan and Risk Assessment processes. Cut off times are independent of any other factors that occur earlier in the course such as start time, punctures, snow depth, going the wrong way, time taken at Pit Stops, head winds.

 

Whether it is your fault or not, we understand that missing cut offs can be tough to take but please remember that should this happen to you, it is not the event crew member’s fault who breaks the news to you. Please also remember that the Event team’s decision is final on these matters You will be asked to board a vehicle or sledge and make your way to the overnight camp. If you are cut off, there will be no option to re-start from where you were cut off the next day. (The event only ever moves forwards). You may however re-start the next day from the camp location; subject to the discretion of the event team (if the cut-off was made on medical grounds, for example).

 

There are a number of reasons why you may be cut-off or withdrawn from the event. These could be medical, pace, kit, mechanical, personal or other factors. It is OK to retire and to be taken forward. We’d rather you re-started the next day vs suffer meaninglessly and spoil it for yourself. As far as the time available goes to avoid a cut-off, there is no ‘set’ cut off time each day. (ie. Time limit or published time). Instead, we require all participants to be in before nightfall. If this is looking unlikely you will be ‘swept’ forward. That is the cut-off. Above all else, please remember, this event is not about cut-offs. It is about getting the most out of this magical environment. We will not cut you off and sweep you forward unless we really have to. And if we do, it is for your own safety. 

COURSE CHANGES 

The nature of an adventure is that sometimes, the uncertain becomes certain! That is all part of the adventure. Whilst we will always strive to pull off ‘Plan A,’ it may well be that for any one of a number of reasons, we cannot do so and we need to wheel put Plan B, C or D. We do line up contingencies for many eventualities of course. But it is worth knowing that the course may change if we deem it prudent for your safety or for other operational or weather-based reasons and we must always reserve the right to do so. Ultimately our skill and judgement in organising such events is part of why you are entering, so we must be able to exercise this on your behalf where we deem it necessary. If we do have to make a route change, we will strive to inform you in good time (if that is possible). Usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end! 

'BEDDING DOWN INTO THE COURSE'

It is probable that when you set off on the Challenge on day 1, the first hours of the first day may be a bit hit n’ miss. Pace, temperature regulation, kit selection, footwear niggles. All to be expected. Embrace that ‘bedding down into it’ phase and listen to your body and to your kit. Expect some unexpected phenomena (not UFOs, just unusual kit or run issues that you may not have quite been expecting). Use this time to just get used to the environment, the gear, and the temperature. Go with it and relax. By Pit Stop 1 or 2, you’ll have worked out enough to be comfortable... 

PITSTOPS

Rat Race are famed for their pit stop and this event will be no exception. That said, we will have to operate them a little bit differently: this is mainly due to likely weather conditions. The plan is for all to have a ‘pocket stash’ of snacks to hand to eat quickly and frequently. The pit stops will be designed to be able to replenish items quickly and easily into the pockets. We will have a ‘sandwich bar’ each breakfast time for you to make a sandwich and then carry it with you in your packs. A warm room is the place for that faff not in an icy gale. There will be warm water available from flasks for top ups and cuppas. As always, you should bring your own sports nutrition and particular favourites. At stops we will also have some big jackets for you to throw on while you stop and fill up. Slowing down the cooling down process while stationary will make the experience much nicer. These will be a shared resource. 

TRACKING DEVICE 

​Tracking will go live on the morning of the first day (i.e. the start of the event) at 0700 local time. The trackers rely on GSM signal to report, which in our event location is sometimes available and sometimes not. This can mean there is frequently a delay on tracking or that the tracker will appear to have stopped in various locations. Sometimes, our team back at base will increase or decrease the reporting frequency, so those watching at home will sometimes not see your dot moving, or see you moving very slowly. Or they may see you adrift from others in the group (for example if you have not turned the tracker on!). They may see you ‘ping forward’ very quickly if you are in a vehicle or if your tracker goes from not reporting to suddenly back in service and reporting again.

VERY IMPORTANT 

As we have stated, the reliability and operation of the tracking devices in this environment is likely to not be 100%, 100% of the time. As far as our safety system is concerned, we know that and we have considered that as part of our other overarching plans and risk assessment.  

For those watching the tracking at home, it is important you explain that the trackers are not always going to give a fully accurate reflection of exact locations. What can happen, (if this is not communicated on the part of the participant to their supporters), is that where people see a tracker displaying erratic behaviour or not moving, this manifests in undue worry. Over a number of days, this worry can turn to panic and raising of unnecessary alarms, from the comfort of sofas in the internet-equipped watching World-at-large. We require you to ensure that, should you decide to share the tracking link, you are unequivocal in this explanation to your supporters. We cannot afford for an international incident to be commenced as someone sitting at home in front of their desktop has decided to contact the Emergency Services as they cannot see your dot moving. It is a deadly serious point we are making here. 

EVENT REGISTRATION & ADMINISTRATION

EVENT REGISTRATION AND PRE-EVENT ADMIN

Formal Registration for the event is completed in 3 phases:

1.) Online enrolment, payment – COMPLETE

2.) Submission of Event Participation Form & Medical Declaration by 15th January 2024

  • Event Participant Form: HERE

  • Medical Declaration: HERE

3.)Physical registration at Kilpisjärvi on 15/03/2024. You will complete a final physical kit check with our event team, do a short final paperwork exercise, have as sit-down with our medic, and present some ID. You will also receive your adventure pack.​

ID 

By entering this event you agreed that you have entered in your own name (not nickname) and will bring photographic ID to event Registration to prove your identity. Clearly, having got on an aircraft in a seat booked in your own name, this should not be too difficult! It is however a requirement for us to know categorically know who at the event, hence the final physical ID check. 

KILPISJARVI CHECK 

We will have undertaken the kit/Q&A webinar on 16th January 2024  in advance of you travelling to the event. However, we will reserve the right to inspect some or all of your kit at the registration day. 
 
As a minimum, we will be checking: 

  • Sleeping bag (Comfort rating to – 20 degrees)

  • A First Aid Kit  

  • Gloves 

  • Suitable water carrying/hydration method 

  • Freeze-dried meals (at least an evening meal and breakfast, we would also advise a dessert option)

  • Eye protection (goggles or sunglasses)

See full mandatory kit list HERE.

You may be asked to show any other items from the mandatory kit list. Clearly at this point, the die is somewhat cast in respect of where we are geographically. There is not instant access to sports shops and the ability to ‘fill in any gaps’ is therefore heavily reduced. It may seem obvious but we will say it nonetheless: If you do not have the appropriate kit with you when you register in Kilpisjarvi, you will not be allowed to participate. Please bring everything on the list and do not be tempted to leave that extra layer at home.  

Personalised Race Bib 

You should try and wear the race bib over all clothing so that it is always visible. 

 

Bike Board

You will attach this to your bike so it is easily identifiable as yours.

 

Numbered Bag Tags

These must be attached to your bag before handing them over to our crew for transport each day. The number on the tag will correspond to your race number. 

Event T-shirt & Rat Rag

 If you do not select your t-shirt size via the pre-event form in advance, you will automatically be allocated a Large.

EVENT REGISTRATION PAC

There will be one event pack issued per person. Your Event Pack will contain:

MANDATORY KIT

Some of the kit listed is to help you have a safe experience and have the best chance of finishing. Some of this kit is to ensure that if you are unable to continue without our assistance then we can be confident of you having the level of equipment required to keep you as comfortable as possible whilst you wait for that assistance. Some of it is simply to keep you from perishing. It is a serious list and we know everyone knows this, but we ask that you please do work with us on this. Please do not skimp on kit. Spare sets of kit will be worn. 

The Kit list is split into 2 sections – ‘Activity Kit’ and ‘General Kit (sedentary)’ on the following page. 

ACTIVITY KIT  

Specific kit for each discipline are provided as follows:

 

BIKE – Fatbike and Helmet. Bikes come with flat pedals. We don’t use cleats. This is because you will need to walk on occasions and need proper footwear for that.  

SKI – Skis, boots and poles.  

SNOWSHOE – Snowshoes and poles. 

GENERAL ACTIVITY KIT 
  • Mid-ankle flexible boot (not a stiff mountain  

  • boot) preferably with some insulation. 

  • Base layers – wicking next to skin layers with full arms and legs. Wicking fabrics are advised, such as polypropylene or silk or mesh ‘string vest’ type products.  

  • Tights or trekking trousers – ideally windproof  

  • Technical wicking tees/base layer 

  • Long-sleeved wicking layer  

  • Mid-layer (e.g. microfleece) 

  • Windproof and/or waterproof upper body and leg cover 

  • Rat Rag or similar neck gaiter 

  • Balaclava plus spare (spare is for when the first one ices up with condensed air from breath) 

  • Gloves - A 2 glove system works best. A thin glove maintains dexterity with a thick mitten over the top for warmth. Thick Ski gloves are ok but less effective and versatile.  

  • Woolly or fleece hats. Thick and thin types are a good idea to mix it up for different conditions. 

  • Spare base and mid layers 

  • Socks. Whatever you’re comfortable with and are used to but a thin liner and a thicker oversock works well  

  • 1 person foil bivvy bag (not survival blanket, must be a bag)

  • Running day pack to carry spare clothing, bivvy bag, first aid kit, drinks, spare food Recommended capacity 15 – 30L.

  • Hydration system: look to carry 1-1.5l in 2 insulated bottles with plastic mouth pieces.  Hot water for hot drinks and warm water is good for just drinking with electrolyte tabs or similar. Drinking cold water doesn’t feel great inside when it’s cold outside. BUY HERE 

  • Electrolyte replacement tabs 

  • Freeze-dried expedition meals for the camp night/morning (you will need at least 1 x evening meal & 1 x breakfast option, we would also recommend a dessert). They must be the dehydrated type that only needs hot water adding before eating, we will provide the hot water. 

  • Snacks 

  • Cap or wide-brimmed sun hat (Optimistic!) 

  • Waterproof Jacket and Trousers with TAPED or WELDED SEAMS as a minimum standard BUY HERE 

PERSONAL MED KIT 

Our minimum spec for mandatory medical kit (to be always carried) is as follows:  

  • Roller bandage 

  • Gauze or similar absorbent dressing 

  • Steri-Strips 

  • Antiseptic (spray or cream) 

  • Assorted plasters 

  • Rubber gloves 

  • Paracetamol (Not Ibuprofen) 

  • Prescribed medication 

  

BLISTER KIT 

Our mandatory Blister kit spec is Compeed (or similar adhesive blister dressings).  

If you wish to pack our enhanced recommended kit, we advise the following: 

  • Small dry bag to contain: 

  • Zinc oxide tape 

  • Self-adhesive dressing tape (e.g. Mefix) 

  • Small moleskin patch 

  • Scissors or penknife 

  • Compeed - various sizes 

  • Rubbing alcohol 

  • Benzoin tincture or Iodine 

  • Pin to pop blisters 

  • Lighter to sterilise pin 

  • Lube stick (to prevent blisters by lubing feet pre-run, particularly at possible hotspot pressure points) 

BIKE STAGE SPECIFIC KIT  

Bike helmet – Included with hire but you can bring your own if you wish.  

Cycling footwear – our recommendation is a mid-ankle boot with good insulation, plus double socks (liner and outer) 

Tights or bibs with seat pad could be your mid insulation layer and add some comfort.  For convenience we suggest ladies don’t use bibs. 

Overshoes can provide good insulation and wind-proofing if you have them 

GENERAL KIT (SEDENTARY)

This is casual clothing, standing around insulation and specific equipment. 

  • Down jacket with a 750 fill power. This is for when you’re stopped or just hanging around. It needs to be big enough to go over all other layers without being squeezed too tightly. 

  • Insulated boots – Sorel Caribou or similar. 

  • Indoor shoes/slippers for the cabins, bar and restaurant areas etc.  

  • Gilet or similar is a useful layering piece 

  • Sleeping bag: Comfort rating to – 20 degrees 

  • *2 Foam Roll mats or 1 roll mat and a self-inflating mattress – like a therm-a-rest.  

  • Headtorch rated to 150 lumens minimum.  

  • Spare batteries for headtorch 

  • Sunglasses or goggles with Cat 3 protection 

  • Casual clothing for use in evenings and transit stages – no formal wear required 

  • Towel 

  • Personal toiletries including any personal medication required 

  • Multitool or penknife (optional) 

  • Reading material (optional) 

  • Mobile phone 

  • Power bank for mobile phone 

  • International plug adaptor  

  • Overnight bag: Such as a duffel or rucksack 

  • Reusable Cup NOT metal  

  •  Spoon / Spork - A long handle version makes eating the ration packs easier! 

AVOIDING KIT CATASTROPHE IN TRANSIT 

It is not impossible that your gear may not arrive with you into Tromso. In general, the longer you are in Tromso ahead of the event, the easier this is to solve as it may arrive on a later flight and there are some great sports/outdoor shops in the city centre. Once we start travelling away from Tromso getting re-united with lost bags or finding any shops to purchase kit becomes much harder! To avoid the chances of total catastrophe, we would recommend that you do travel with some event clothing in your hand luggage.  
 
Experience tells us that if you arrive wearing or physically carrying some of what you need, the likelihood of getting you on the start-line increases dramatically, vs those who entire event kit is in their hold baggage, making its way around a carousel in the wrong airport far, far away.  

MEDICAL OPERATION & PARTICIPANT SAFETY

MEDICAL OPERATIONS

Our team is there for you in case you have an incident with which you require assistance. The team will shadow the progress of the challenge each day in vehicles and on snowmobiles; before establishing a med centre each afternoon/evening. Whilst the medics are there for ‘what ifs,’ they are also a great source of preventative advice; so please do use them to ask questions and check best practice, particularly in suspected foot injury or issues such as blisters or cold management issues. 

MEDICAL SCREENING 

At this stage we are inviting you to have a medical screening process, which can be completed via the link below. Please complete this as soon as possible – and certainly please, no later than 15/01/24. If you do have any condition that you feel we should know about, however small you feel it may be, please do share this with our Medics. Experience has shown that early pre-screening can assist both us and you greatly in enabling the care you need pre and during the trip. If you do not share information on conditions which are likely to affect your participation or decide to share them very late in the process, we are all under pressure and we will always reserve the right to cancel your participation if we feel there is a medical issue that may affect yours, or others’ safety. So please, do share anything and everything you feel our team should know about, at the earliest opportunity.   

IMPORTANT NOTE ON SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS AND MEDICAL INFORMATION:

We are very fortunate to have an excellent Medical Director providing oversight, planning and screening on all of our international trips, who in turn engages seriously professional and qualified staff to join you on the trip. Rat Race also conforms and has been audited to the rigorous BS8848 standard of expedition management. This means our approach to all things safety and medical is extremely thorough and it is designed throughout with your best interest at heart. 

Your medical screening details will be sent direct to our medical team and under medical confidentiality rules, this will only be shared with our medics and no-one else. If they decide this is info that is in the best interests of everyone for us as organisers to be privy to, they will seek and gain your consent before doing so. It is therefore important you complete the link to the medical survey only which can be found HERE. Do not send Rat Race medical information direct. If you have any queries at all on the medical side of things in relation to this event, you can email our Medical Director, Dr Patrick Musto confidentially on office@trailmed.com and he and his team will assist. 

INSURANCE FOR YOU AND YOUR EQUIPMENT 

We have asked that you have in place Travel Insurance cover and specified Evacuation cover to last for a minimum period of the event duration for the days you are with us on the published itinerary. Evacuation and medical expenses cover should total no less than $500 000. A copy of this cover/covers (if separate policies) is required to be received by us 3/2/24 alongside the other admin actions. We also recommend that participants have insurance to cover damage, loss, theft, injury and non-attendance. Rat Race cannot accept any responsibility for the loss of, theft, or damage to any Participant property or the circumstances of Participant non-attendance. If you are bringing your own bike, we ask that you have a policy in place to cover it for damage, loss or theft. It is up to you what level you cover it for (and of course several overarching policies will provide coverage for loss or damage of sports equipment) but we would advise that you place cover for the replacement value of the bike, if you can do so. Rat Race and its agents, staff and sub-contractors cannot be held responsible to any damage to personal equipment of bikes whether we are transporting them or otherwise; so it is important that you select a level of cover that you are comfortable with. You should submit copies of your insurance via the Event Details Form. Alongside this, we ask that medical screening is completed, plus an online waiver. Please see the actions list at the bottom of this document for details. 

Some suggested providers are as follows: 

For UK and Channel Island residents Rat Race’s own insurer brokers have a brand-new product: 

https://www.mannbroadbent.co.uk/sports-travel-insurance/

Note: This is Rat Race’s UK-based insurance broker, specialising in the leisure insurance market. This is a specialist sports travel cover product; however, Rat Race is neither an insurance broker or underwriter. We can recommend Mann Broadbent wholeheartedly as good people to deal with, but please remember that this is not a ‘Rat Race product’ and we have no say whatsoever on claims decisions made by the insurers, in the event that you raise such a claim via one of these policies. 

 

Other Providers: 

www.battleface.com 

www.bigcattravelinsurance.com 

www.internationalsos.com 

Note: We have no relationship with any of these providers, but previous customers have found them reasonable to deal with regarding some of our similar Bucket List challenges. 

Note: For all insurance, please remember that cover is offered based on several factors, (the nature of the event disciplines being one of them), but your own insurance profile, age, health and other details form a big part of this. As such, we are always happy to provide details to insurers in support of cover requests from customers, but we cannot influence their decisions as to whether to offer cover to individuals. 

WHAT’S THE WEATHER LIKE?

Well, it’s most likely going to be cold and fresh. It is the Arctic after all! But it can also be sunny and clear and in the daytime, average temperatures are -8C At night it will typically go down to around -10 but can also reach -20. We benefit from a good long day with plenty of daylight. But the weather is very changeable.  

POOR WEATHER CONTINGENCY 

The event will proceed in many conditions, but if it is deemed unsafe to continue due to weather conditions, the event may be halted if required and the Event will await more favourable conditions to re-commence. This may result in some stages being cut short and participants being moved forward in vehicles in order to achieve daily mileages within the time available. In all cases, the decision of the Event team is final in these matters. We will monitor weather throughout. 

SUN PROTECTION  

Whilst it is never warm, that sun will be strong. Exposed extremities such as noses, ears and lips will need good levels of sun protection. As will your eyes with sunglasses or goggles with at least Cat 3 protection.  

COLD WEATHER GEAR  

Clearly the cold is a big issue to contend with here, but this challenge is designed so that you do not necessarily need a whole host of specialist kit. It is true you will need a good down jacket and a decent sleeping bag, rated down to – 20. You can however rent these garments from the likes of expeditionkithire.co.uk and outdoorhire.co.uk. in the UK.  

Tromso Kit hire – This is available through our partner ‘ Tromso Ourdoors’ This MUST be booked in advance through tromsooutdoor.no/rentals. Your equipment will be ready to collect on the Friday morning with all your other equipment.  

 

HUT AND CABIN LIFE  

For the accommodation, a significant portion of the trip will be spent in our comfy cabins in Kilpisjarvi, plus a night in the wilderness camp. Bedding will be provided in the cabins. You will need a sleeping bag, an inflatable Therm-a-rest or similar AND a foam roll mat for the camp. The cabin is comfy but basic. There are power outlets, TV, showers, sauna and some creature comforts here; but you may wish to augment those comfort levels with your own bits n’ bobs – shower gel, overnight casual clothes, power pack for phone, a book, that sort of thing. We would also advise bringing a towel. A pair of sandals or flip flops are also pretty invaluable for the evening and for kicking back around the fire or around the sauna, just to air those tired feet. Camping is obviously basic. No amenities except a communal fire and a long-drop toilet in an outdoor privy. 

NUTRITION  

We will insist that you have some electrolyte replacement items with you – these are invaluable to re-instating equilibrium when you are exerting yourself. Experience shows that good electrolyte management can make or break these types of Endurance attempts. Whilst it is clearly not hot, you will be getting moisture beaten out of you with the wind and the cold. We will also ask that you have a flask, so you can carry hot drinks with you. In the Arctic, this can be a godsend when you just want a little warmth from the inside.  

EMERGENCY PROTOCOL  

In the event of a true emergency or serious Incident you will be notified of protocols at Registration on 15/3/24. If you are with an injured party whilst on the route, stay with the casualty and await assistance. In the event of a non-emergency incident but for which action is requested from the organisers, then you should send a message forward to the next Pit Stop with another participant if possible and/or await an event crew member approaching via vehicle or sledge. This might be medical, logistical or kit/ equipment breakdown as examples. We politely ask that you stop and help someone that is in difficulty – you will be the first person to find them – remember to take note of time, place (number of km, or minutes/ hours from last Pit Stop) and race number at the incident site. Remember we are all in it together and are in effect one big team. 

 

MUSIC PLAYERS  

While these are allowed, we would prefer you to take in the peace and tranquillity of much of your route. If you must listen to music, please control their volume according to your environment. Use your judgement and you MUST turn music players off when on live roads. Please also be aware that if you cannot hear general voice levels you might miss instructions from marshals, shouts from others on the trails or approaching traffic. If event staff ask you to remove headphones or turn music off/down, there will be a good reason. Please respect their request. 

LITTER  

We need to show that this event has exemplary control of littering. Please help us achieve that. Pack your litter into your pack, pockets and then give it to us to dispose of. 

GENERAL SAFETY AROUND VEHICLES 

This event takes place on public roads, private roads and shared access trails. Traffic is generally light. We do however have our own event vehicles/snowmobiles operating and you may therefore come across our own vehicles or those of the driving public. You must courteously give way to other users whilst on the route, whether they are cars, skiers, snowmobiles etc.

LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF  

Looking after yourself - it’s all in the head. It is both obvious and important to say that how much you enjoy your time in the Arctic is directly related to how well you look after yourself. Living in the cold can be hard and it makes the simplest of tasks difficult. Our experience is that many people default to a position of “I can’t be bothered to….” do whatever they need to do to make themselves feel better. This is due to the faff, hassle and often pain of getting stuff done. Taking gloves on and off, fighting through layers, getting hands cold or exposing skin all lead to lethargy. The reality is the opposite is true and you simply “MUST be bothered” to take these actions. To eat, drink, add a layer, change gloves, adjust boots etc. It’s a mindset that will serve you very well on this trip. Backing up this attitude is thought and preparation around kit, food and drink that will make the tasks as easy as possible. Pocket food is the way forward. Pre-prepared bags of nuts, raisins, dried fruits etc stashed in an outer layer pocket will ensure you can quickly and easily get to a snack. An insulated drinks bottle meaning you always have liquid to drink are examples of good prep.  

OTHER ADMIN MATTERS

TRANSFER DEADLINE

At the time of booking, on our website and within our introductory email, we made clear that your purchase is non-refundable. But up until 12 weeks prior to departure, you could use our transfer system if you wished to withdraw from the event. We respectfully remind all participants that unforeseen circumstances preventing attendance is what travel insurance is designed for and is the reason for this as a strong recommendation on such undertakings.


We want to be really clear that the transfer option is there for you if you need it. But it does have a deadline. That deadline is 22nd December 2023. This is 12 weeks prior to the event and our advertised standard transfer window for international events. After this time, we regret that we simply cannot change entries and if you are in, you’re in. So if you don’t think you’re in this time around, please do ensure you use that transfer window and get your transfers in by the dates above. You can do that by clicking HERE.

 
EVENT ETHOS:‘RACING’ AND OUR FINISH TIMES SERVICE 

Completing not competing. Rat Race’s ethos has always been about inspiring folk to undertake challenges in awesome outdoor locations. Arctic Circle is just that, taken to an epic level. This is not a formal race environment and there are no winners and losers. We do not award prizes for the fastest folk. There will be no splits. Indeed, there will be no timings. Rat Race totally appreciate the incredible commitment of those taking on the challenges we lay down and each participant is as important as the next regardless of how fast you can cover the distance. This is akin far more to an expeditionary undertaking than anything else. 

In delivering this unique challenge we prioritise factors such as safety, camaraderie, and environmental concerns. Respecting the wishes of local stakeholders with our route management and litter policies is vital in being able to bring folk together for this unique experience. Safety above all else is paramount, as you will fully appreciate. To reasonably balance all these factors, we emphasise that the event is not a formal race environment, rather it is a challenge in the great outdoors where great folk come together with a common purpose. 

EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY 

The event is very lucky to have secured the services of Leo Francis as the official event photographer. Leo has worked on numerous Rat Race’s Bucket List events including Arctic Circle in both 2022 & 2023. This means not only is he an excellent photographer in his own right; but he also really ‘gets’ these types of events. 

For this Challenge, we are doing photography a little different than run-of-the-mill standard event photography, but an entirely standard approach for us and it’s tried and tested – to 100s of customers’ satisfaction. Instead of Leo shooting and you then you selecting a number of photos post-event from a fairly unwieldy and piecemeal selection (leading to a lot of wastage in the shots and hours spent spreading the editing thinly across ‘anything and everything)’ we want the service to be as personal as possible. We think that something this epic deserves that. 

Leo will therefore be offering a one-price, advance purchase arrangement. He will shoot you in action and provide an amazingly varied series of shots of you out there doing your stuff; plus, a selection of general event photos, provided as a digital album. He will also include individual portrait shots of yourself, working with him directly to create some special shots. 

The price for this service is £125. If you would like to use this service, please tick the box in the event details form and you will be sent an invoice just ahead of the event. The service is available for participants and crew. The crux here is that Leo will ONLY shoot those who sign up to the service in advance, ensuring he is concentrating on those who have taken the plunge. This ensures that he can 100% focus on the job in hand for those who wish to purchase; and avoids the wastage of hundreds of shots on the edit-room floor. 

 

We believe this is an excellent service, at a very keen price, from a first-class photographer. It is of course not in any way compulsory. 

CONTACT DETAILS AND ACTIONS CHECK LIST

To facilitate the very best support for you whilst embarked on the event, we have prepared some contact information below that should assist you and loved ones both before departure and then throughout your Event experience in Finland. Please find a series of phone numbers and email addresses and instructions on which is to be used; and for what. Finally, we have included an action checklist so you may tick off the pre-event jobs arising from this Essential Event Information document. 

 

1.) For ALL pre-event email correspondence prior to departure: 

 

expeditions@ratrace.com  - Challenge-based questions, kit, training, route, prep 

events@ratrace.com - Admin-based questions 

office@trailmed.co.uk  - Medical-based advice or discussion on medical conditions in confidence 

2.) For specific arrivals and pre-trip issues to Mongolia in the immediate day’s pre-arrival: A WhatsApp group will be set up pre-arrival. This will include numbers of crew if in need to assistance whilst you travel to the event.  

3.) Emergency correspondence from people who need to get in touch with you (i.e. from those who need to contact you) IN EMERGENCY ONLY while you are embarked on the event: events@ratrace.com 

The originator should quote ‘Emergency correspondence for (your name)’ in the email title and they must provide a phone number for return comms. This will be patched through to our crew’s mobile phones, (or satellite messaging platform if we are out of reception) from our office and a satellite phone will be made available for you to return the comms to the originator. We would aim to provide a suitable response period of within 24 hrs for this service to the originator. 

FINAL CHECK LIST 

Submitted no later than the 15th January 2024.

Form HERE.

Submitted no later than the 15th January 2024.

Form HERE.

1730 UK time - 16th January 2024

So that’s it. I hope you’re as excited as I am about taking on this fantastic adventure in the new year. I strongly suggest you read this document a couple of times and really get the program and requirements in your head; it will ensure when you get to Finland you can focus on soaking up the majesty of the place we’re visiting.  

See you all soon!  

Rob Atkin 

Event Director, Arctic Circle 2024

 

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