Interview with Nicola MacLeod

GJ: What is the biggest challenge in WPER?

MacLeod: We found the navigation from satellite photos — complete with clouds! — to be difficult. It was sometimes frustrating, always challenging. The greatest mental challenge was maintaining our team morale 48 hours into a trek through dense forest and keeping momentum through some of the coldest and wettest conditions I’ve encountered. There’s no doubt that this race was one of the toughest we’ve done, both mentally and physically. By the looks of things, this year will be no different!

Team Helly Hansen-Prunesco Maps.jpg

Plotting maps in preparation for the 2009 course

GJ: What was the key to finishing — and winning! — WPER 2009? And what will you do differently in the 2010 race?

MacLeod: We know now that taking the right gear is critical. Helly Hansen is a Norwegian company and we had the pick of their kit last time but chose to race reasonably light. We’ll be changing tack and keeping warm this time, and we won’t be using a single-wall tent!

Travelling in the dark was difficult last year partly because of map quality and technical terrain. This time we will get our sleep strategy right to make sure everyone’s healthy, fit and fast when it’s most needed.

Team Helly Hansen-Prunesco.jpg

Team Helly Hansen—Prunesco

The key for us to winning was just keeping going at a good pace and believing in ourselves. Our drop in pace through some of those forests was scary, but knowing now that everyone is having just as hard a time makes things a lot easier.

In terms of nutrition: Prunes are the food of champions! Seriously, some teams tried to carry too little food through this race and we know that the happiness that comes from good food is worth its weight in gold. Most of all pulling together as a team was critical. Getting each other through those moments of doubt or fatigue and believing in the finish — and your strength — is the way forward in this race.

Monitor MacLeod and Team Helly Hansen—Prunesco at http://www.teamhellyhansenuk.com.

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