Thursday July 16, 2020

July 9, 2020

9 juillet 2020



BREAKFAST AT THE LEGION – Enjoy breakfast at the Orléans Legion from 8 a.m to 11 a.m. with table service provide by local Cadets. $2 from the sale of every breakfast will go toward the Legion.

NAVAN WINTERFEST from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Navan Fairgrounds. Plenty of winter activities for young and old alike. Chili lunch.


Vars resident one of only two men to complete Arctic Ultra Marathon
By Fred Sherwin
March 18, 2020

Whoever came up with the saying, “Winning isn’t everything,” could very likely have been thinking of the sport of ultra marathon when he did, because no sport epitomizes that sentiment than long distance racing.

Steven Jackson collapses into the arms of a fellow competitor after finishing the Arctic Ultra Marathon. WERONIKA MURRAY PHOTOGRAPHY

Whoever came up with the saying, “Winning isn’t everything,” could very likely have been thinking of the sport of ultra marathon when he did, because no sport epitomizes that sentiment than long distance racing.

Vars resident Steven Jackson is proof positive that winning isn’t everything – sometimes just crossing the finish line is a victory in itself.

Jackson (far right) and race winner Grant Maughan sport their medals after being the only two competitors to finish this year’s event. WERONIKA MURRAY PHOTOGRAPHY
The 25-year-old Jackson recently competed in the 6633 Arctic Ultra Marathon across the Arctic Circle and was one of only two men to complete the 617 kilometre course, doing so in seven days and 23 hours.

Although he didn’t win the race – that distinction went to Australian competitor Grant Maughan – Jackson became only the 37th person to finish the race in its 12 year history.

Nine competitors left the starting line in Eagle Plains, Yukon, at 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 and headed north to the finish line on the shores of the Arctic Ocean in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.

The race is run over eight legs, the longest of which is 120 km and the shortest of which is 37 kms. The competitors, who are responsible for their own food, clothing, tent and sleeping bag which they must pull behind them on sleds, can take as much time as they like between each leg but they have to complete the course in under 192 hours. Jackson finished the just one hour under the cutoff time.

What made this year’s race especially grueling was the weather. The temperature never rose above -30°C. During some legs, the windchill factor was as low as -40°C and on the final day of the race the windchill factor was -53°C in Tuktoyaktuk.

Now back in Ottawa, Jackson says he depended on his military training as a reservist with 33 Service Battalion and sheer will to be able to the distance,

While he walked for most of the race pulling his 105 lb sled, he had to jog the final 80 kms without the sled with the windchill factor hovering between -60°C and -70°C in order to beat the cut off time.

Jackson trained for five months before the race and put in 1,000 kms of road work, but nothing could prepare him for the sleep deprivation he went through – he slept a total of 17.5 hours in eight days – or the hallucinations he experienced.

“There were times when I was so tired I actually fell asleep while I was walking. I was literally sleepwalking on the course. I would be walking along and suddenly wake up and I wouldn’t know where was.”

The hallucinations started on Day 2.

“At one point, I was hallucinating that a tractor trailer had jackknifed in front of me and I was staring right in the grill. Another time one of long freight trains was passing as I was walking,” Jackson recalls. “The weirdest one was a wedding dress frozen in the ice. When they happen, you use a breathing exercise that helps them go away.”

The Cairine Wilson grad (Class of 2009) says it will take another week for him to fully recover. As for whether or not he has any interest in doing it again, Jackson says once is enough.

“I’ve always wanted to visit every province and territory in Canada and this was a chance to visit two of the territories at once,” Jackson said without a hint of sarcasm..




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