Ultramarathon in minus 60. Interview. 24 MIR

How does one run at the Pole of Cold, how to breathe in the cold, and why did the Yakut hunters give Voloshin a bear’s claw?


Extreme athlete from Moldova was the first in the world to run an ultramarathon at minus 60 degrees Celsius. Dmitry Voloshin covered 50 kilometers at the Oymyakon cold pole in six hours. The extreme athlete got light frostbite on his face and body. After the finish, the athlete had problems with his eyesight for two hours. The main difficulties of the race were the extreme cold and the lack of oxygen. At

During the ultramarathon Dmitry breathed through a warming mask. The athlete waited several days for extremely low temperatures. During the race, the thermometer dipped to minus 67 degrees Celsius.

Yakut hunters gave the athlete a bear’s claw for his strength of spirit. Dmitry Voloshin had been preparing for the race for over a year and used a cryochamber. The race at the pole of cold is a part of the charity project to help children with cerebral palsy. Now the ultramarathoner is collecting money for the treatment of a little girl Eva.

-How to run 50 km at the cold pole in minus 60 degrees and not die? Let’s ask the man who did it first. Dmitry Voloshin is an extreme athlete from Moldova. Dmitry, hello.


-First of all, thank you for finding the strength and time to come to our studio here in Moscow after the race in Yakutsk. How are you feeling? I know that after the finish there were problems with your eyesight, and not only. You could see the signs of frostbite on your face with the naked eye right away.

-That’s nothing. About the lens, because of the long exposure to low temperatures there was a clouding of the lens, but in 2-3 hours it was gone. I can see through it like a Yakutian diamond.

– It went away quickly. Running in extreme cold. During the race, you froze everything. How did you warm up?

– We warmed up in a banya in Oymyakon, in the bathhouse where we lived.

– Was it already after the finish?


-And during the race?

– I planned to run 50 km without stopping. I didn’t want to get in the car, get warm, sleep, eat.

-A race is a run? -Yes.

-Yes. You get out and suffer for as long as you can. The only thing I could warm up with was the warm tea they gave me. I drank it and warmed up that way. But it didn’t help. At this temperature the cold seeps in everywhere and everywhere, and at the end it stiffens both your joints and your brain, and you talk like such a frozen Android – slow to think and slow to speak.

-Lack of oxygen? What’s causing it?

-I call it the Three Hippos: Hypoxia, hypothermia, and hypoglycemia. Glycemia is lack of energy, hypoxia is lack of oxygen and hypothermia is hypothermia.

-Before the trip to Yakutia there was a conversation about special equipment, because without this equipment it is not only impossible to overcome the distance, even going to the distance is a sure death after some time. Judging by the fact that the cold seeped everywhere, then at minus 60, and in some places even at minus 67, if you believe the thermometer in the car…

-It’s a palpable temperature. When the wind blows, it gets colder.

-Did the outfit fail in places?

-What’s the job of the outfit? It draws moisture away from your body. As soon as you sweat and get wet, the cold instantly gets through the water. You need to stay dry. For this, there are special thermal underwear, special membrane jackets that wick away heat. They are not warm, but they are dry. It is very important. As soon as you get wet – I wore gloves that were too warm, my hands got wet, and then I ripped them out along with the frost that was inside.

-Is everything frozen? -Yeah.

-Yes. -You can’t do that under any circumstances. The main thing is to wear a mask on your face and a device that helps you not to die, because after running 10-15 kilometers at this temperature, you can just stay there, on this road, in a pool of blood.

-There are lungs freezing out, and that’s it.

-But masks, thank God, heated air a little, created microclimate, air was not very cold. The only thing, they froze up very fast. I planned to change them every hour. I ended up changing them every half hour, because they were freezing, and I had air coming out of here like a dragon.

-How many masks were there?

– I had four filters, and the guys would give me a new one every half hour. I put them on and ran.

-Were the others in the car, warmed up and dried off?

-Yeah, dried the rest.

– So we could breathe through them. Now I want to show viewers a video that very few people have seen. It was taken, judging by the conversation, 5 kilometers before the finish. You can imagine the tension at that moment, so some of the words will be hidden.

-5 km more. These last 5 km are hard. Come on, I’m freezing.

-The mask was closed, put away.

-A little more, a little more.

-Give me some water.

-Dima, you don’t look so good.

-I’m not surprised. It would be strange if I looked good.

-I wrapped it up so it’d be warm.

-Thank you, good people. I love you so much. Be patient for a little while longer.

-Hooked it up.

-It’s okay.

-The bottle that was in there, is that the same tea, without any additives?

– It’s just warm, very sweet tea.

-Sweet is a plus for energy.

-Yes, so you don’t get hypoglycemic. But it’s still a hit. In the cold, the body sucks all the energy out. It’s trying to save itself, to stay alive.

– It’s natural.

-Whatever you eat, it’s not enough.

– What did you eat during the marathon?

– I ate sports gels.

-Special nutrition?

-It’s the nutrition for runners that people eat at marathons. It’s just sweet stuff that gets the energy into the bloodstream fast. But I can’t stand gels at all because they’re synthetic. But this time it was something. I was waiting to get this gel. It was warm and sweet, and my body thanked me for it. I watched how many miles were left until the next feeding. It was a big deal.

-Who was chaperoning? What was the help? We’ve already voiced something, that we changed and dried filters, carried food and drink. Was there any other help?

-There were two friends of mine – Andrei and Alexander. Andrey dealt with food and equipment, if I needed to change wet mittens or give me a mask. Alexander was filming, he was the cameraman.

Behind me was a car registering the record. There was a camera on the windshield, and it filmed the race from A to Z, all six hours of driving behind. The only time it stopped was before the finish line. When I saw the finish line that the guys were standing at the marker, I had to get the flag to get my hands on it, I stood there for a minute and a half and couldn’t figure out how to get the flag in my hands. My gloves were falling off, I was picking them up.

The guys jumped out of the car, ran up and said, “That’s it, go on, there’s 100 meters left.

-I want to go back to our conversation before the trip to Oymyakon. There was a conversation about a mask, not just breathing protection, but a mask to protect the face.

– For the eyes.

-But there wasn’t one, as far as I could see. Why not?

-Before the main race, I did some training. It worked out so that this mouth mask was giving off warm air upstairs. It’s frosty, you can’t run. Perhaps I hadn’t thought this issue through initially, and I should have picked up some special models to run more comfortably.

-Maybe there are some where the air is blown to the side instead of upwards?

-I had that kind of outfit. You either run like that or you don’t run at all. I had no other choice, so I ran this way.

-The original plan was to run a classic marathon of 42.195. Ended up running a 50k. Why?

-There were three plans. We had the first plan to run from one city to another, which was 38 kilometers. The second plan was a classic marathon distance of 42.2. The most optimistic plan was 50 kilometers. Although only the guys know about these plans. I had a fourth, super realistic one, which I nixed on the 25th kilometer – to run 60. Then I realized I wouldn’t be able to do 60.

-That’s pretty fantastic.

-At 40, when I told the guys that I could do 50, they started talking me out of it, saying, “You look really bad. You don’t need to keep running.” I said, like a drunk, “It’s okay. You’ll be fine.” Ran.

-Was there ever a moment on the course where the voice inside was, “Why am I doing this? Why am I doing this? Should I stop, give it all up?”

-I can’t boast, there was no such moment. I’m an old wolf, I’ve had a lot of races. I know my body and I know how to communicate with my brain, because the human brain is very tricky.

– Question for the old wolf, the experienced marathoner. What helps you hold on until the end?

-I used to sing a song. Often when I’m having a hard time, I sing a song about nameless heights. Do you know it?

-Old Soviet song.

-We were only two out of eighteen guys left. It’s my way of distracting myself. When my brain says, “Let’s get in the car and get there. Let’s run 42 instead of 50,” I start singing the song. Strong images of people come to me.

I realize that my run is nothing compared to what they went through. I feel better, I get distracted, and I realize that I can do it.

-To the very beginning, to the choice of the race site. Why the cold pole? Where does this desire come from?

-I like cold runs and swims. I swam in the Arctic Ocean, did the Tough Guy race, the toughest one.

-Yes, it’s a famous race.

-Baikal crossing.

-On the ice?

– Yes. I went to the North Pole, where I competed. Why Oymyakon? Never mind him, he’s there and that’s that. Imagine that you come to a birthday party, you’re a kid, you’re 5 years old, and there’s a pile of cakes. You’re told, “That one is the tastiest.” Of course, you run to it, stick your face in it, and eat it. Why? Because it’s the tastiest. So is Oymyakon. It’s the coldest and the most interesting.

– The tastiest?


This marathon can even be called ultramarathon, it’s the hardest test in life. Now it’s passed, and passed with dignity. Already in terms of today, when everything is behind us, it was more of a test of physical ability, a test of the body or a test of mental strength?

-It definitely has very indirect relation to the body, to the body, to the muscles. It’s about character. My coach warned me: “Dima, you can do it if you have bells of steel. If not, no amount of training will help. But he knows me, that’s why he prepared me. That’s for sure.

I think a lot of people can run that distance. There are plenty of runners in Russia. You don’t need any characteristics here. It just takes character and desire. I think it will happen next year.

-Will there be people who will repeat?


-Thank you very much. I wish you success in the future! Dmitry Voloshin is the man who set the record at the Pole of Cold. An opinion on how to set the most incredible goals and how to achieve them.

The very first Chisinau Marathon in 1984

The very first Chisinau Marathon in 1984

When was the first Moldovan marathon, how did they train for running races in the past, what irritated the runners’ skin and where exactly, and what problems did event organizers have

Pole of Cold 1. Unfreezing childhood dreams

Pole of Cold 1. Unfreezing childhood dreams

Who lives in Oymyakon, what will you catch if you fish with a vanity worm, how to they sew up rivers, how traffic jams happen in the tundra, what is the point of the Yakut preference, and how many years does it take to return to childhood?

Pole of Cold