Words by Abi Butcher | Photos by IGO Adventures
It’s 6.30am and bitterly cold. The sun is still hovering beneath the horizon, seemingly as reluctant as I was to get out of bed an hour ago, when I had to line up for a marathon across the mountains of Norway. This is day four of the IGO Adventures N60 Challenge, a quadrathlon that’s had me ski-touring, cross-country skiing, fat biking and now running my way from Hemsedal to Geilo, on plateaus more often used by the British military to train special forces. Seventeen of us have been camping at night and increasingly exhausting ourselves beyond all reason by day.
It’s the first event IGO Adventures has staged. Founder Bobby Melville devised the idea while rowing across the Atlantic in 2014. During the 48-day race, which his team won despite having no previous ocean experience, Bobby decided he wanted to give “real adventure” to folk who couldn’t disappear off grid for months at a time.
“[The founder] wanted to give “real adventure” to folk who couldn’t disappear off grid for months at a time…”
I’m a ski and adventure travel journalist with a reputation for taking on physical challenges, and so it was that I found myself in Norway having had just 10 days to prepare thanks to a last-minute invitation to compete. Because I hadn’t trained properly, and have had an ACL reconstruction and several other operations on my left knee, I planned to walk this last stage, not run. But things had gone surprisingly well throughout and I’d finished day three, the cross-country ski, in sixth place and knew that I had more in me.