Former Borders doctor defeats the wrath of Khan

Dr Andrew Murray, winner of the inaugural Genghis Khan Ice Marathon, ran in brutal conditions in Outer Mongolia.
Dr Andrew Murray, winner of the inaugural Genghis Khan Ice Marathon, ran in brutal conditions in Outer Mongolia.
0
Have your say

Even if you were one of the few athletes to face Storm Henry in the Borders last weekend, you could spare a thought for Dr Andrew Murray.

Formerly a GP in Hawick and the BGH, Murray is well known for his feats of endurance.

But the 35-year-old has rarely faced a challenge like the inaugural Genghis Khan Ice Marathon, which took place in brutal conditions on a frozen river system in Outer Mongolia ... in temperatures that dipped as low as -34˚C.

However, he not only completed the race, he won it convincingly in an ice-melting three hours and seven minutes, a full 35 minutes ahead of second-placed runner, Australian Douglas Wilson.

While that would be quite enough for most people, Murray, who works as a sports and exercise doctor with University of Edinburgh wasn’t quite done. He then ran a further 103km back to capital Ulan Batar, on a route utilised by Genghis Khan centuries ago.

Murray said: “It was perfect conditions – we were expecting minus 40, and there was virtually no wind, which made it feel a bit colder than Antarctica, but a little warmer than the North Pole when I raced there.

“The ice river was frozen solid, so there was no chance of us falling through, and it is a place of unmatched beauty.

“I guess the main thing about racing in such extreme conditions is that all the competitors were very experienced, and the organisation by Sandbaggers was absolutely first class, resulting in everyone retaining a full complement of fingers and toes.”

Murray said there was no need to follow in the footsteps of Genghis Khan to benefit from physical activity.

He commented: “I’ve been working with the University of Edinburgh to raise awareness for the benefits of physical activity for health.

“This can be walking more, taking the stairs, and certainly need not be ice marathons.

“Every step is a step to health.”

The women’s race was won by Edinburgh-based Lucja Leonard in four hours and 19 minutes.