Wales property expert speaks of anguish at having to pull out half way round 500km Lapland Ultra after being struck down with Covid

EXTREME adventurer Paul Fosh is kicking his heels back in Monmouthshire after being struck down with covid during his epic Lapland ultra attempt.

Paul is recovering at home battling the last symptoms of covid after being pulled from the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra race half way round the 500 km course when he tested positive.

The hugely experienced frozen wastes explorer Paul, owner of Newport-based Paul Fosh Auctions, was taking part in the inaugural Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra in Sweden.

Although the gritty 55-year-old says he is disappointed, as he was well on the way to completing the epic 315-mile challenge, he will soon be back in training for his next epic challenge.

Paul, who has raised £4,200 for Wales homelessness charity Llamau through his Lapland efforts, voiced some criticism of organisers over its covid testing arrangements which he believes led directly to him contracting the virus.

Paul said: “Had the organisers carried out comprehensive and ongoing tests of everyone involved, competitors and organisers, as had been done by an event organised by the same people in Canada three weeks prior to the Lapland event, then I don’t believe I would have caught covid.

“I clearly got covid from either another competitor or a crew member. I had been in the country for five days before I got the symptoms and the omnicron variant has about a 48 hour incubation period so I definitely got it when I was over there, which is annoying.

“When I set off at the start of the race I was clear and felt fit and raring to go. No one asked us to do any tests. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but for the race organisers, who otherwise had everything in order, this was a little bit disappointing. I understand that 3/4 of the crew got covid and as to how many competitors caught covid we don’t know as it wasn’t revealed.”

Paul said one competitor who had had covid but was then symptom free, was allowed to start at the rear of the race. He, himself,  first felt symptoms 36 hours into the race.

Paul, an asthmatic, wheezing, a slight cough and with ear ache at a check point was quizzed by organisers but carried on for another 100kms before being pulled from the event and ordered to isolate for 48 hours after testing positive for covid.

Paul was subsequently informed that he wouldn’t be allowed to continue partly due to his possible infection of other competitors but also for his own health and safety in such a vigorously testing and gruelling competition.

“It was hugely disappointing. I had got half way round, covered 247kms and had been feeling fit, strong and able to complete the course. The 515kms was well within my capability.

“It’s difficult. You don’t want to record a DNF (did not finish). I’d previously had one in Canada in the Yukon which was my fault due to my lack of mental preparation. I hadn’t prepared myself for coping with minus 45 degree temperatures. For this one there is nothing I could have done differently, it wasn’t my fault and slightly bizarrely I almost find that easier. as failing was beyond my control.”

“I controlled all the controllable but it was an uncontrollable, covid, that hit me and forced me to not be able to finish the race.”

Paul says he will ‘probably’ have another go at the Lapland ultra but has other events in his sights before returning to Sweden.

Comparing this latest event with his exploits in Canada’s Yukon Paul said temperatures were a lot less cold but this made conditions more testing as the pulk competitors pulk slides less easily on the warmer, semi frozen land.

He said the Yukon is very dry while Lapland is more precipitous forcing eventers to contend with  muscle-challenging metre-and-a-half deep snow drifts along the route if they strayed a matter of a few inches off the track.

Paul has signed up for the 430 mile Montane Yukon Ultras next February but prior to that he has some unfinished business to complete in the UK in June when he will compete in The Spine, a 268-mile race which stretches along the Pennine way in England to the Scottish borders.

He hopes to add £800 to the money already raised for Llamau  so he will be able to donate £5,000 to the charity

The indomitable competitor said: “I am itching to get back into training as soon as I can once the last vestiges of covid have cleared up. I hope to start by walking but have been advised not to do too much too soon until my lungs are fully back to normal.

“I am  pretty fit and you don’t lose your fitness too quickly so If I don’t get back into training until the end of April I won’t be too worried.”

Paul competed in 2015 in the Likeys Ultra in Canada when he was one of just eight to finish, coming fourth out of the 24 that entered. He also completed the 300-mile Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra in 2016.

To donate to Paul’s Llamau charity fundraiser visit



The Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra event, which starts and ends in the village of Overkalix, in the region of Norbotten, Sweden, requires the individual to look after themselves, in temperatures which can plummet to -20C as they jog, walk and crawl over some of the world’s wildest and coldest terrain. There can also be the threat of wolves or even wild bears.

The ultra eventer must carry their own food, water, sleeping gear and emergency supplies on a sled – a ‘pulk’ – the entire distance of the epic race.

Competitors have 10 days to complete the challenge. The route crosses frozen rivers, lakes, and forests, while markers are regularly covered with fresh snow. The kit on the sled contains a sleeping system, consisting of a sleeping bag, light tent, stove, freeze-dried meals, first aid kit, emergency equipment and lots of layers of clothing.