- Alexander Allen
430 miles in the Canadian Yukon: kicking off fundraising for the FCACT
Entries for the 2019 Yukon Arctic Ultra opened today, a 430-mile single stage race that takes place in the Canadian Yukon every two years (with ‘shorter’ 300 mile, 100 mile and marathon length events happening every year). Competitors have to pull all their tent, food, clothing and equipment for a race that usually takes up to 13 days and where temperatures have been known to drop below minus 45 degrees. The Fred and Charlie Allen Cancer Trust will be using it as our first major fundraising event.
Why? It is tough, relentless, cold and long. It brings constant hardship, trials and tribulations. It is often lonely, but punctuated by great camaraderie and support. It is not just a test of the human spirit, but a window into the naked soul of man. It is where Fred would have thrived, and where Charlie would have revelled in the great poetry and magic of the Yukon trail.
A version of a poem by the most famous of the Yukon poets, Robert Service, was read at Charlie’s funeral that epitomised Charlie's courage and fighting spirit against ultimately insurmountable odds. It will be echoing down the Yukon trail from 3rd Feb 2019 – just as they will both be looking on:
When you're lost in the Wild, and you're scared as a child,
And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you're sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: "Fight all you can,"
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.
"You're sick of the game!" Well, now that’s a shame.
You're young and you're brave and you're bright.
"You've had a raw deal!" I know — but don't squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don't be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit, it’s so easy to quit.
It’s the keeping-your chin-up that’s hard.
It’s easy to cry that you're beaten — and die;
It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —
Why that’s the best game of them all!
And though you came out of each gruelling bout,
All broken and battered and scarred,
You fought all the way – defied what they’d say
And now you’ll live on in our hearts
Training has already started...