Lapland in the Arctic Circle is covered in snow. Temperatures outside can fall to -25°C, while inside it can plummet to -20°C. Villages are hundreds of kilometres apart and navigators must use GPS or risk getting lost. And to get fresh water, travellers must break through metre-thick ice. But for a Cape Town man and his two sons, it was the setting for one of their best adventures yet. Dr Hans van Heerden, 58, a Claremont periodontist, is no stranger to extreme weather conditions.
He’s already run marathons on Mount Everest, on the Antarctic Peninsula and in deepest Mongolia close to the Siberian border, so when the opportunity arrived to run at the North Pole, Cape Town specialist dental surgeon Hans van Heerden jumped at it. “It’s not the sort of offer you turn down easily,” he said. But it was , he also admitted candidly, the toughest of all the many extreme runs he’s done so far, and he developed frostbite on his feet which are still healing.