Iceland, with its bold, lottery-like terrain that skips between volcanic rock to soft and fertile lowlands, provides the ideal setting for one of the world’s toughest endurance races called the Agoge.
Snowdon house assistant John Chambers recently completed the 60-hour race.
Only 32 hardy souls entered and less than a third were expected to complete the event.
The two-hour pep talk on the bus whilst travelling to the start of the course included a cheery discussion on frostbite, hypothermia and dehydration.
The Agoge is just one of many endurance races John has taken part in. The 28-year-old who studied product design at university, admits only half-jokingly he’s addicted to suffering.
But a day into the race even he questioned himself as to what he was doing in Iceland.
He said: “Think of the worst rain Wales can throw at you then add -15C temperatures, driving wind and darkness, by the end of one particularly tough lap I was asking myself what on earth was I doing to myself.
“I only had about five minutes sleep in about 60 hours, one team mate was hallucinating because he was so tired.
“But I continued as life isn’t always easy, it’s not about making the easy choices, it’s sometimes about making the hard choices and being able to deal with it.”
He added: “When I did this 60-hour race I didn’t dwell on all those hours. I always take everything one step at a time. It’s about reaching that first check point and encouraging others.”
John, a former pupil at the school continued: “When I’m helping out at Outdoor Ed and one of the pupil’s will tell me they can’t climb the mountain, or get in a kayak, I tell them they can but that it won’t be easy and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
After the race John was presented with a prestigious leadership coin, for his ability to lead others and to remain cheerful despite the challenging conditions.
“It was an experience I’ll never forget. Discovering a thermal hot spa that we could all jump in during a blizzard was pretty incredible, and seeing the Northern Lights was spectacular.”