DAMIAN Hall admits he loves running in the cold – and he wasn’t just referring to last week’s white-out in Wiltshire.

The Corsham Running Club ultra running specialist has just returned from northern Sweden where he won the Beyond The Ultimate Ice Ultra 230k Arctic race.

If you are talking snow, ice and cold then this is an event in a Premier League of its own as Hall had to combat record-high snowfall and temperatures that reached as low as -36C, the coldest in the history of the event.

“I know it has been cold recently but coming back home last week actually felt quite warm to me,” said Hall.

“It was seriously cold out there and while I had all the best gear possible I decided the best way of staying alive was to run as fast as possible.”

Hall’s tactics worked as he completed the race, held over five days with overnight stays in log cabins, in a time of 27 hours 34 minutes, more than eight hours ahead of German paratrooper Thomas Wittek.

“It was a cracking adventure and I really enjoyed it,” added Hall, who was running as an ambassador for British sportswear company inov-8.

“There was only a small field of around 30 runners as it was such a remote place and eight of those dropped out on the first day, some with frost-bite, so that was a little unnerving as they were experienced people.

“We all took the necessary precautions but the conditions were just so, so cold. Liquid in my water bottles froze. My food froze. My eyelashes turned to ice. My inov-8 wrag turned to corrugated iron around my face. I loved it.

“You definitely had to look after yourself in those conditions.”

Hall said it wasn’t the hardest event he has ever run – the single-stage, non-stop Spine Race along the 268-mile Pennine Way from the Peak District to Scotland remains his number one – but as an experience it was unique.

“I went to the Arctic looking to experience an adventure and to challenge myself and I got all that,” said Hall.

“It was so beautiful and really enjoyable. The only downside was that I missed the spectacular Northern Lights that lit up the sky as I was snoozing.

“It was the only night the lights shone on the trip so although I won the race, I’m not sure I really won overall, if you get what I mean.”