Athletics - Brown: I will race again next year
SEAN Brown has vowed to compete in the 2007 Yukon Arctic Ultra, despite being forced to retire from this year's race. March Athletic Club runner Brown, 36, withdrew from the world's toughest race and, after returning home to the UK on Monday, he revealed
SEAN Brown has vowed to compete in the 2007 Yukon Arctic Ultra, despite being forced to retire from this year's race.March Athletic Club runner Brown, 36, withdrew from the world's toughest race and, after returning home to the UK on Monday, he revealed that injury had been the major cause of his withdrawal.The 320-mile Yukon Arctic Ultra represents the ultimate challenge for athletes from all over the world. Those taking part must endure brutal conditions and finish the course within eight days. In his first attempt at the race last year, Brown retired with a knee injury at the 100-mile Braeburn checkpoint and it was to be at the same point that Brown would retire from this year's race. A wrong turn between the first and second checkpoints took Brown off course for five hours and put him way behind the pace required to complete the race. However, as Brown explains, this was only part of the problem. He said: "I tried to up my pace to get back on schedule but the injury to my knee made it impossible for me to carry on."Describing the moment he strayed from the course, Brown said: "I had started the race really well and my pace was good. The knee injury had flared up before I set off for Canada and it was bothering me but I was battling through the pain."I came to a junction in the course and something told me to go left. When you are in the race the last thing you want to do is stop, even to unpack and check on a map."He added: "I carried on for about two hours and I knew that I had gone the wrong way when I came across virgin snow with no tracks left by other competitors."I couldn't stand the idea of back-tracking so I picked up another trail that followed a mountain pass and rejoined the course further on. I followed it for about half an hour before the weather closed in and I realised that it would be stupid to carry on, so I turned back."Brown said: "By the time I got back to the junction I had lost about five hours. I carried on and I still felt fine psychologically, but the knee injury gradually got worse."I tried to make up time and by the time I reached Braeburn my knee was really bad but I intended to carry on after getting some rest. "However, when I woke up I couldn't move my leg and had to admit defeat."Despite his disappointment, Brown is determined to complete the Yukon Arctic Ultra. He said: "Some people have vowed never to return but I love the race and for me, it is the ultimate challenge."He added: "It is a unique experience and you see things that are amazing. I saw a wolf pack on a mountain-side and, because there was little snow on the frozen lakes and rivers, you can see the water flowing under your feet as you walk across them." But Brown admits that he will have to be at his best for next year's race. He said: "I am going to see a specialist about my knee but I am going to train hard this year and really get in to shape."I was on the plane back to Vancouver with [the winner] Andrew Matulionis and [second-placed] Stuart Gillett and they are just unbelievable athletes."He added: "To stand a chance of completing next year's race I am going to have to get much faster but I am determined to finish it.