Why did you decide to register to this race?

Because it’s a hallenge and we love the North! We discussed many times a possible ultra-long many-day rogaining and it finally comes true! Non-runnable terrain with a few paths but many stone fields and marshes and necessity of choosing the optimal way and correct strategy, as well as ultra-endurance are quite exciting. We hope that’s what we can do best. 😉

What kind of trip you expect LWC to be?

It looks like a sort of speedhiking in full autonomy. We did many technical hikes but not of such high intensity. Deprivation of sleeping seems to be the key problem: the less you sleep the slower you go, and so on. A large-scale orienteering on such a terrain is also challenging. We hope on our experience in rogaining and adventure races.

Tell something about your team. What does the name stand for?

We know each other for a dozen of years and the Safonovs are married for 22 years already. The team name is simply a combination of two traditional team names, Yellow phantom (Alexander Tonis) and Kuragan (Irina and Alexander Safonov). Yellow phantom originates from the long-ago hitch-hiking adventure of Alexander Tonis (by the way, started in the Russian part of Lapland). Kuragan is just the name of a beautiful clear river in Altai mountains where the Safonovs have been hiking. We three never ran together as a team but took part in the same competitions many times and did common hikes in a larger group in Caucasus, Sayan and Pyrenees.

Since 2007, Alexander Tonis has been the chief organizer of Moscow Marsh-Brosok (MMB), a traditional 120-km orienteering race in autonomy with about 1500 participants.

We all have an experience of long-term races, both individually and in a team of two, such as Tor des Géants, 4K, Swiss Peaks Trail, PTL, Eufória, Transpyrenea. They were all in mountains with an altitude gain of about 8 km per each 100 km of distance but semi-self-supported or even fully supported and way-marked or at least with the organizers’ GPS track. We also took part in 48-h and 72-h RedFox Adventure Races in Khibiny and Karelia, lots of 24-hour rogaining and even two 48-rogaining but those were much shorter than LWC.

What is the longest distance you have traveled in terrain (by foot) in 24 hours?

From 143 km (Alexander Tonis at the Russian rogaining championships 2014) to 115 km (Irina on ultratrails with an altitude gain of 4.5 km or more). We did at least 100 km at the 24-hour World Rogaining Championships in Saariselkä with a very similar terrain, yet a lot more check points. Does it actually tell much about how far we can go in 120 hours with relatively heavy backpacks?

What’s your goal in LWC?

  • to enjoy the untouched sub-arctic nature in good company
  • to be in time at the finish line having skipped as few CPs as possible
  • not to collapse and not to give up

Due to the travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus epidemic, Yellow phantom of Kuragan can not participate LWC 2020, but we really hope to see the team in the next chapter of Lapland Wilderness Challenge!

Team Yellow Phantom of Kuragan