An adventurer completed a 100-mile ultra marathon across a frozen Mongolian lake in jeans and brogues after his airline lost his luggage.
Peter Messervy-Gross, 47, spent months buying specialist kit for the four-day Mongol 100 challenge, which took place in temperatures reaching -25C.
But when he flew from Heathrow to Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar, his bags didn’t come off the plane with him. Unable to buy footwear to fit his size 13 feet, he decided to take on the challenge in what he was wearing.
Peter Messervy-Gross, from Jersey, Channel Islands, took part in an extreme new adventure race, called the ‘Mongol 100’ brainchild of UK firm Rat Race Adventure Sports, headquartered in York
Mr Messervy-Gross clambered across sheets of ice wearing his four-year-old work shoes – suffering agonising blisters in the process
Other competitors in technical footwear dubbed him ‘the rogue in brogues’ as he clambered across ice sheets in his four-year-old shoes, and a borrowed set of spikes.
Mr Messervy-Gross said: ‘My shoes held up surprisingly well – I’m just a bit allergic to putting the things on now.’
The father of three, from Jersey, was left in agony for his efforts – but unlike others who dropped out of the race through injury, fatigue or the cold, he kept on going.
He said: ‘Your feet swell because you’re on them for so long. I literally became too big for my boots. My feet blistered really badly, especially on my little toes. But I just wanted to keep plodding along.’
The four-year-old battered leather brogues he had worn to work, with spikes attached, got him safely through the 100 miles of frozen lake
Mr Messervy-Gross, an information officer, had initially been told by airline Aeroflot that his luggage would arrive before the race, two days after he landed in Mongolia, so he bought nothing but an extra pair of thermals.
But when he and fellow competitors took a short flight to the Khovsgol Nuur lake in the north of the country, he realised the bags would not be arriving.
He said: ‘It was a heartbreaking moment, 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.’
Other trekkers, and the UK organisers Rat Race Adventure Sports, loaned him emergency rations and extra clothing.
Mr Messervy-Gross said he never found out what happened to his bag in the time the airline lost it
He said: ‘People were amazing, offering up stuff for me to use, which was incredible because it meant they were worse off. A guy gave me some socks, someone else handed me a balaclava – I was a walking charity shop!’
Mr Messervy-Gross, who is originally from Auckland, New Zealand, added: ‘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 what happened they were all so proud of me.’