Headteacher from Finborough School, near Stowmarket, completes Polar Bear Challenge in Greenland
A Suffolk headteacher has completed a two-day running event in the Arctic Circle, described by its organisers as the ‘coolest marathon on Earth’.
Steven Clark, who has been in charge of Finborough School near Stowmarket for nine years, ran a marathon and then a half marathon on consecutive days as part of the Polar Bear Challenge on October 26 and 27 in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.
The 50-year-old said he took on the challenge to inspire his students and to show them that at any age you can push your physical and mental boundaries.
Steven said: “The thing that drove me with this challenge is our school mantra about developing character and I strongly believe that it develops throughout our lives and I wanted to practice what I preach.
“I hope I have shown the children that even at my age life can pose challenges, whether you seek them out or they are thrust upon you, and you have got to find a way through.”
Steven said the main ones he faced during the challenge were recovering from the marathon to do a half marathon the following day and tackling the unforgiving terrain.
He added: “We were running with spikes on our shoes because of the ice and there were sections where you had to pull yourself up with ropes – it was like nothing you can imagine.
“Also, Greenland is a very isolated location literally in the middle of nowhere and, though it was beautiful, temperatures were hitting between -15 and -20 degrees.”
Though he admits to not being an avid marathon runner, it is not the first time Steven has taken on challenges in unique environments.
He said: “I ran a marathon last year in Iceland around a volcano and when I was teaching in Australia in 2000 I was given the opportunity to run the test track for the Olympic marathon route – finishing with a lap in the Olympic stadium.
“I think the thing is, life is about taking opportunities and capturing those moments out there when they arise.”
The father-of-two said he would like to take on the next challenge, though he has not found one just yet.
Steven added: “I quite like doing these unique challenges and hopefully I can do a race somewhere that is a little warmer next time – there are some interesting ones in South Africa and a marathon on The Great Wall of China.
“I have found that in my life, having travelled the world with my work, these kinds of challenges give you a strong global prospective and shapes the way you think about everything, so I want to continue pushing boundaries and hopefully inspiring the school’s students.”