Run for the ArcticFrom The Field
In November last year, Pau Capell, took on his most ambitious project yet: running 250km through the Arctic to raise awareness of climate change and the disastrous impact it’s having on our planet.
Pau began his journey in Alta, Norway – above the Arctic circle – finishing in the small port of Nordkapp. He faced sub-zero temperatures, fierce winds and snow-covered trails, but the 2019 UTMB winner covered the 250km in five days.
For Pau, this distance was significant. After seeing the effects of climate change first-hand during long days spent in the mountains, he knew he wanted to help raise awareness of the issue. So, when he learned of research showing polar bears travelling up to 250km extra to find food to survive, his project was born.
‘When I first arrived in Norway, the cold really surprised me. It was daunting to think I would run 50km a day in such conditions. But I believe it’s important to experience new places and take time to appreciate new challenges. Two years ago, when I learned about the research, I wanted to do something as close as possible to what the bears experience.’
The North Face athlete sought the help of renowned glaciologist and Protect Our Winters Europe board member, Dr Heidi Sevestre, to better understand the impact climate change is having on the fragile Arctic ecosystem and the global challenges it’s likely to create.
‘We are tightly connected to the Arctic and we know that if we do not act now, the Arctic could increase in temperature by about five to 10 degrees by the end of the century. This means the sea level may rise much faster, heat waves could become more frequent or other extreme events will occur that will directly affect us.’
‘What’s important to understand is that we are the main cause of climate change, which means we are the main solution. So today, every action we take on a daily basis can have a positive or a negative impact on our climate. Let’s make sure it’s a positive one.’
POW Europe Coordinator Brita Staal spent her first living years in Alta, knowing exactly how harsh the conditions that Pau experienced can be. ‘The importance of spreading awareness on the impacts of climate change is growing by the hour, and it is important that we use our voices across all our global communities and walks of life to call for action. We hope Pau can ignite true climate action through this project.’