Jax Mariash Aims To Make History in Ultrarunning

Jax Mariash, the world-renowned ultra runner, began the Ice Ultra for 2019 on Tuesday which is situated in the Swedish Lapland. Covering over 140 miles spread across five days, the Ice Ultra occurs inside the Arctic Circle which has been stamped as a UNESCO world heritage site as the last remaining wilderness in Europe. Temperatures average around -20 Fahrenheit and can quickly drop to about -40 Fahrenheit during the evenings, and that’s without the wind being considered.

These are the conditions you think about when you are on your way to becoming the first female to win a self-supported race on seven continents. With Antarctica, Africa, Asia, South America, and North America already ticked off on her list; The Ice Ultra primarily represents Europe.

The Queen of the Desert

Mariash is referred to as the Queen of the Desert because she was the first female to compete in the 4 Deserts Race Series. In 2016, they became the female world champion of the 4 Deserts. In 2018, she was the female champion of the Grand to Grand Ultra, a 170-mile race, spanning over seven days through the Arizona and Utah desert that started at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and ended at the summit of the Grand Staircase.

The Last Desert race that Mariash won was in icy, snowy, and cold Antarctica during 2016 which was the final race of the famous 4 Desert series. However, Sweden is going to present far more frigid conditions that she hasn’t experienced before.

The 2019 Ice Ultra

The route, varying between 9 and 39 miles every single day, will cross bisects pine woodlands, ascending mountains, and frozen lakes. Runners will encounter dazzling displays of the northern lights by night and herds of reindeer during the day. With a mere 7 hours of daylight, most of the running will occur during the dark.

Runners are going to sleep in crude cabins or tents, usually with nothing more than a reindeer skin between the snow and their sleeping bags. Runners will find a checkpoint for water supplies every 10 kilometers during the race and will be required to carry all their gear and food needed for the run on their backs.

The 2019 Ice Ultra will feature ten females from the 40 participants. Unfortunately, the race will not be able to handle a more significant group because the race only allows a limited number of snowmobiles within the UNESCO area. With hypothermia and frostbite as real possibilities, Kris King as race director and staff, which are made up of locals who are considered experts in both the climate and terrain, can quickly mobilize to get to anyone on the course in less than 30 minutes. Mariash is extremely scared of the cold and tends to get frostbite on her hands, toes, and nose. Therefore, she is planning to be dressed like she is going up Mount Everest.