Ahmad Fathi becomes first Bruneian to compete in Yukon Arctic Ultra

|     Fadhil Yunus     |

BRUNEI Darussalam’s ultra-marathon runner Ahmad Fathi bin Dato Paduka Haji Junaidi made history after becoming the first person to represent his country at the Yukon Arctic Ultra 2019 in Canada recently.

The Bruneian completed the 300km distance race under freezing temperatures of -37 degrees Celsius, covering various places such as Rivendell Farm, Dog Grave Lake, Braeburn, Ken Lake, Carmacks, McCabe and Pelly Crossing before completing the race at Pelly Farm.

Race organiser Robert Pollhammer said, “Ahmad Fathi is the first athlete from Brunei Darussalam to ever have tried this (competing in the Yukon Artic Ultra). He is in great shape, too. He had a very good race strategy and his layer management was excellent.”

Ahmad Fathi said that Yukon’s cold temperature was a new challenge, especially as he was a competitor who hailed from a country of warm climate.

The ultra-marathon runner surpassed Indonesia’s Hendra Wijaya, who earned a reputation as the toughest marathon runner in his country, whose race was abandoned after 89 miles and five days of trekking.

Ahmad Fathi bin Dato Paduka Haji Junaidi. – AHMAD FATHI

The Yukon Arctic Ultra is billed as the world’s coldest and toughest ultra race with the starting point of the race originating from Whitehorse and finishing at Dawson City for those who signed up for the 430km distance. The participants may travel by foot, snow bikes or skiis.

“Everyone is supporting me back home. Everyone is following my progress, I need to show them I can get this done,” Ahmad Fathi told CBC News before he continued his trail toward McCabe Creek, one of the checkpoints of the 300km race.

Ahmad Fathi is no a stranger to ultra-marathon events, having competed at the Tor Des Geants Endurance Trail Race two years ago.

His trekking journey has taken him across the world including Japan, France, New Zealand, Australia as well as Thailand and Hong Kong.

He made headlines as the first Bruneian to complete the Ultraman Australia in Noosa in 2015. His finest hour was a second place finish at the 100km Sabah Marathon in 2014.

France’s Thierry Corbarieu emerged the winner of the Yukon Arctic Ultra after crossing the line in Dawson City on Tuesday about 5.18pm local time. His closest competitor, American Christof Teuscher arrived in the early morning hours on Wednesday.