The course of the Rovaniemi Winter Ultramarathon leads far beyond the Arctic Circle in the Lapland region of Finland. The race takes competitors through snow-covered forests, desolate wastelands, and across frozen riverbeds. In the longest of the Rovaniemi race options (300km, or 186m), competitors must find their way using a GPS device and they are all equipped with precise satellite trackers in case of an emergency.
This past February, Serbian runner and former special forces policeman, Jovica Spajic, took the win and established a new speed record, clocking a time of three days, three hours and 38 minutes (3d 3h 38m). Spajic rested for a total of four hours during the race, taking cover from the extreme conditions in traditional Finnish shelters called lavuu.
Prior to setting this remarkable record, Spajic established a reputation for excelling in the world’s toughest ultramarathons. His best race results include the Four Deserts in 2012, Icarus Florida Ultra Fest in 2014, and the legendary Badwater in 2015. The transition from extreme hot to cold came with success in the Himalayas when in 2016, Spajic established a record on the course La Ultra at an average elevation of 4800m (over 15000ft).
To combat extreme arctic conditions, winter ultramarathoners must be equipped with high-performing gear that not only keeps them warm and dry, but also allows for freedom in movement. Jovica Spajic chose a system designed and developed especially for him by KTC, a high-performance garment manufacturer with five decades of experience. From its outset, KTC has supplied the best outdoor brands in the world and its roster of clients now includes Mammut, Helly Hansen and Rapha.
Jovica Spajic’s winning layering system included base layers that blended silk, merino and synthetics, Climashield® midlayer softshells, and a robust, waterproof outermost layer.
The use of Climashield® CONTUR, combining 4-way elastic properties with a very low tendency for fiber migration, allowed KTC to create a jacket, trousers and vest that provided sufficient thermal insulation while remaining highly breathable. The advanced insulation technology was at the core of Spajic’s clothing system which had to withstand the demands of intense cardio exercise performed in extremely cold conditions.
Throughout his training process, and now also after the race, Spajic was able to provide KTC with valuable feedback that led to the creation of a new, state-of-the-art product line.
Jovica Spajic’s win beyond the arctic circle is testimony to his skills and determination, and we are extremely proud that Climashield® was able to contribute to his athletic feat.