Jonny Pain and the Beachmaster - Arctic Edition
The first of the four events is a 250km traverse across the Swedish Arctic tundra as part of the Beyond the Ultimate (BTU) Global Race series – one of the world’s toughest ultra-endurance events. The race is broken down into 5 stages of 50km a day, which is a huge feat in itself, but the Arctic circle is Europe’s last remaining wilderness, with a temperature range of -1 to -40*C it's an extreme physical and mental test. To make things even tougher, the race stages are unsupported.
We first met Jonny in 2020, he and Fergus had set their sights on climbing a vertical marathon by ascending Ben Nevis 32.5 times in 10 days, so we know he's no stranger to extreme endurance. Jonny is also a certified strength and conditioning coach; specialising in hybrid athlete training, and has worked in the industry for over 15 years. He’s built an impressive CV of athletes from world champion jiu-jitsu players, MMA fighters and Olympic Judo players to boxing’s elite working with Billy Joe Saunders and Tyson Fury. His depth of knowledge and experience as a coach and as an athlete allows him a unique perspective on his own adventures.
The BTU Global Race Series is a challenge that no one has completed before in a single year, in fact all four races haven’t been attempted by any singular person as of yet. At 47 and a father of four, Jonny doesn’t exactly fit the stereotype of someone you’d expect to be the first to complete the series and hopefully complete all four in a year.
Why now, why the Beyond the Ultimate Global Race Series?
“I just want to see if I can do it, to put my body and mind through it all and ultimately see what I can achieve. Doing another ultra or a challenge of that sort, whilst exciting, it’s something I know and understand. The Arctic especially is something totally new, from negotiating snow shoes to the overwhelming environment I’ll be in and the vastness of the wilderness is what I’m looking forward to the most”
Why are you wearing a Beachmaster over a smart watch?
“I know how my body works, when my heart rate is too high or when I’ve got more in the tank, I don’t want to be a slave to technology. The Beachmaster’s H hour timing bezel will allow me to take quick visual cues on how fast I’m moving between stages, whether I’m on track or not, whilst allowing me to be ‘in’ the environment and the head space to take stock of my surroundings. There’s no point in being in a beautiful part of the world and be too focused on the stats on my wrist. Also from a practical perspective, with the watch being an automatic, I don’t have to worry about batteries dying in the extreme cold”
What other kit will you be carrying?
"Because it's a self supported event, I'm carrying everything other than my sleep system, so 5 days worth of food, clothing, safety kit, first aid kit etc, will all be on my back for the duration. Being a Thrudark athlete allows me to also put their kit to the test. For the Arctic I'll be wearing the following kit:
You'll be able to follow Jonny's progress via his and BTU's instagram. His YouTube channel also gives you a great insight into the planning and preparation from an athlete and coaching perspective - should anyone be mad enough to follow in Jonny's footsteps.
We'll be following Jonny through all four events and his testing of the Beachmaster so check back for the next instalment.