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50 mile frozen lake skating race was very ice indeed for Upminster man

16:20 20 February 2013

Mark Horne at the ultra ice marathon

Mark Horne at the ultra ice marathon

Archant

Racing 50 miles in freezing temperatures across a connection of Swedish lakes might not seem like everyone’s idea of a holiday.

“It made a real change from a European city break, and I’d recommend it to anyone,” said Mark Horne, on his return from the ultra ice marathon - which he started in conditions of -10C (14F).

Mark, a former student of Cooper’s Company and Coborn School in Upminster, took part in the Vikingarännet – an annual ice skating race in the ice cold Swedish conditions.

The 26-year-old, who travelled with a group of friends for the race between Uppsala and Stockholm, explained that it was so cold the water in his bottle froze solid during the race.

He added: “The airport was an hour and a half away from Stockholm, which means that if I wasn’t going to get my race done in five hours, I’d miss my connections to get the flight home.”

Fortunately for him, he managed to finish the gruelling skating race in four hours and 23 minutes, one of the fastest times ever recorded by an Englishman.

“I got to the airport with ten minutes to spare,” he said “I haven’t actually seen my friends since we set off at the start line.”

Reflecting on the experience, he said: “It was really surreal, you feel like you’re on a big plain, you don’t feel like you’re on a lake until all of a sudden you come across a boat frozen and anchored into the ice not very far away.”

The Edinburgh University PHD student, who grew up in Ingrebourne Gardens, has a keen sense of adventure and also holds the record for the fastest run from Scottish coast-to-coast having run from Inverness to Oban, in shifts totalling 17 hours.

But what inspires him? “I don’t really know,” he said. “They are just things I enjoy doing, really.”

Mark is also leading a group from his university to Mount Kilimanjaro later this year in aid of Childreach International.

To donate visit his fundraising page at: mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/markjhorne.

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