British man treks 100 miles across Mongolia in brogues and jeans
Last Updated: 25/03/19 4:10pm
An intrepid British man completed a 100-mile race across a frozen Mongolian lake in jeans and brogues after an airline lost his luggage.
Peter Messervy-Gross, from Jersey, clambered across sheets of ice wearing his four-year-old work shoes - suffering agonising blisters in the process.
He was taking part in an extreme new adventure race, called the 'Mongol 100' across the vast lake 'Khövsgöl Nuur', located in northern Mongolia.
The 47-year-old father-of-three was planning to join dozens of other competitors who run, walk or skate the 100-mile course over four days in temperatures as low as -25C.
But disaster struck when his luggage, including all his technical gear, failed to arrive in Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.
"When we arrived in Mongolia there were five bags missing - my large holdall and four other people's bags," Peter said.
"It was absolute carnage trying to find out where they were, but everyone seemed pretty confident they would turn up, so I wasn't worried.
"At that point we had two days until race day - but Jim Mee, the race organiser, suggested I buy some running shoes just in case."
However, in a further twist shoes above a size 11 are unavailable in Mongolia and Messervy-Gross is a size 13.
Undeterred he travelled to the starting point which involved a chartered flight to Murun, home to a tiny rural airport that sits near the southern tip of Khövsgöl Nuur followed by a two-hour drive, but was informed when he got there that his kit would not be joining him.
"It was a heartbreaking moment for me, very gutting, because you can't really run 100 miles across a frozen lake in brogues.
"I spent that night in camp in a duvet but it was freezing. Jim sorted me out with some expedition rations and an emergency survival bag.
"I had a toothbrush on me but no deodorant, toilet roll, soap or wipes.
"People were amazing, offering up stuff for me to use, which was incredible because it meant by giving things to me, they were worse off.
"My friend Marcus gave me another set of thermals, another guy gave me some socks, someone else handed me a balaclava - I was a walking charity shop!"
Peter managed to source a spare sleeping bag and some micro crampons - mini spikes that act as a form of traction on the bottom of shoes.
The race started, competitors battled through marathon-distance stages each day. Competitors dropped out of the race through a mixture of injury, fatigue and cold - but Peter kept going - despite his feet swelling up.
"It did get pretty uncomfortable, my feet blistered really badly and especially on my little toes, which was quite painful.
"But I just wanted to keep plodding along - I couldn't really feel the cold in my feet during the day, it was more discomfort than anything else.
"At one point during stage three everyone was falling over on broken ice - it was really tough going."
During each stage, the participants moved though checkpoints called 'Pit Stops' where they would receive food, hot water and medical assistance if needed.
"When I crossed that finish line I was elated. I genuinely didn't think I was going to be able to do the whole thing without my kit - maybe just a little bit of day one or something.
"So every stage I passed was a real win and something in the bank to keep going to reach the next one.
"My shoes held up surprisingly well - I'm just a bit allergic to putting the things on now!
"We were at the airport the following day after finishing the event - and my luggage turned up 15 minutes before check-in for our return home.
"I never found out what happened to my bag, but after I told my family was happened they were all so proud of me for carrying on. I'm so glad I stuck it out."