If you already have hundreds of kilometers behind you in the desert heat and arctic climate, you have to look for new challenges – this is the attitude of the Estonian ultrarunner and adventurous street dance pioneer Joel Juht, who in August will be the only Estonian on the threshold of a new extremely difficult challenge – 250 kilometers in the middle of Iceland’s volcanoes.
Joel Juht, who has been involved in ultra sports for eight years, will start the six-day Fire and Ice Ultra race on August 28, where you have to literally walk 250 kilometers through fire and ice on your feet.
Although Juht, who has made a name for himself in the field of street dancing, hated running several years ago, today it is a natural part of his life. “I’m not fast or a good runner, but I can endure even the most difficult conditions. Difficult weather will definitely be an obstacle in Iceland, as all our four seasons can pass within one hour,” he said.
A place only some people have seen
Lava fields, rapids, glaciers, volcanic ash and rocks on grassy roads are just a part of the upcoming ultramarathon.
Since it takes place in an area that is part of the UNESCO natural and cultural heritage and is not inhabited by people, you even have to apply for a special permit to get there. There are only a handful of people in the world who have seen this area with their own eyes before.
“This experience makes you feel as if you are the last person on earth,” former participants describe the unprecedented ordeal on the event’s website. They call it a grueling but also scenic and unforgettable journey. At the starting point, the altitude is more than 1000 meters above sea level, and during six days both body and mind will be exhausted. If the first day starts from Central Iceland, every hour and minute you move closer to the North Pole.
A big support from Fenix Adventure
Since the challenge is expensive, Fenix Adventure offered their support to the Estonian ultra-athlete – Fenix Casino’s project supporting extreme sportsmen. According to Marje Braunbrück, marketing manager of Fenix Casino, it was decided because this challenge will test not only one’s own abilities but athlete’s ability to handle nature in such a special place as Iceland. Fenix Adventure is designed to support brave and outstanding people and what they do.
“The most important thing for us is that the activities and journeys of all our athletes, including Joel, are safe and that everyone returns from their trip healthy. As a supporter, we contribute to the safe journey of our ultra-athletes, making sure that they can equip themselves with everything they need,” emphasized Marje Braunbrück.
“We want to encourage others to connect more with nature, and we believe that Joel is also a great role model for new adventurous people. The extreme testing of strength and pushing the limits of ultra-athletes takes us back to our ancestors, where they faced nature and defied difficulties. We have also supported other unstoppable Estonians ultra-athletes, such as Rait Ratasepp’s participation in triathlons and marathons and Kaspar Eevald’s freediving and conquering the world’s highest mountains,” added Braunbrück.
Preparations for half a year
According to Joel Juht, the preparations for the new challenge have been going on for almost half a year, and the goal of the training is to successfully complete the competition. “I do both longer runs, hiking, the gym and training in the sand hills. In fact, the work is just starting now and the loads are getting bigger and bigger,” he added.
Joel is trained by Eiko Toom, a trainer with long experience, according to whom the goal is to increase aerobic capacity. “Once a week we have general body preparation in the gym, while on the sand hills we imitate the terrain that is needed for competitions,” said Toom. “His Iceland project is about a test of strength between man and nature, and this in beautiful and special Iceland,” added Marje Braunbrück.
Last year, Joel Juht covered 500 kilometers on the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra tracks in northern Finland, and one of his first crazy ventures took place already in 2017 in the Sahara desert, where he ran 247 kilometers at the Marathon Des Sables.
Joel’s journey to the Fire and Ice Ultra marathon can be followed on the Fenix Adventure blog.