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May 24 pair tackle 128km Alps challenge

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Two former Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby top ten finishers stepped up in distance to compete in a 128km ultra-distance race in the Swiss Alps.

Simon Ashby and Peter Mills, who were well-known athletes in Bermuda during the 2000s before returning to Europe, teamed up to compete in the Swiss Iron Trail 2016, in Davos, Switzerland.

Both now in their Fifties, they completed the gruelling event in 32 hours and 58 mins, finishing ninth in the over-50s category and 41st overall.

The course included 6,990 metres of climbs and descents.

Mills said: “The terrain was either up or down and very steep gradients. Almost no flat at all. We negotiated snow fields, large boulder fields and more rivers than we can remember.

“We both agree that this was the toughest physical activity that we have ever participated in.”

The pair are both past participants of the Marathon Des Sables across the Sahara Desert, and Mills finished tenth in his age division in the Ironman Switzerland event in the last week of July, recording a time of 10:32:52.

In the Swiss IronTrail race, Mills and Ashby started at 4am in the morning and ran through the night without sleeping.

Ashby said: “Peter and I could compete with the top people when it came to the running and going up the hills, but when it came to going down the hills and particularly the technical terrain, we were definitely found wanting.”

However, he said that given the high level of the competition, and taking into account the pair's combined age of 101, they were both “chuffed” by their achievement.

“It was the most incredible experience and its very unlikely we will be doing it again.”

Gruelling event: Simon Ashby, left, and Peter Mills, cross the finish line of the 128km Swiss IronTrail ultra race. The former Bermuda residents were top ten finishers in the May 24 half-marathon during the 2000s (Photograph supplied)
In the clouds: Simon Ashby, left, and Peter Mills, high in the Swiss Alps where they competed in the Swiss IronTrail ultra event. The former Bermuda residents were top ten finishers in the May 24 half-marathon during the 2000s (Photograph supplied)

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Published August 16, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 16, 2016 at 8:45 am)

May 24 pair tackle 128km Alps challenge

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