Tips & Stories

How To: Use Evernote to Survive a 430 Mile Ultra Marathon

How To: Use Evernote to Survive a 430 Mile Ultra Marathon

Posted by Mie Yaginuma on 01 Jul 2013

Posted by Mie Yaginuma on 01 Jul 2013

We often hear about novel ways people use Evernote, and the story of Peter Gold certainly qualifies as unique and…extreme. Peter used Evernote to prepare for and participate in the Yukon Arctic Ultra, a race that follows the 430 mile Yukon Quest trail in Yukon, Canada, just next to Alaska. Evernote was his planner, journal, and race companion throughout this grueling experience.

Evernote as a race companion

The Yukon Arctic Ultra is a thirteen day, grueling individual adventure that on a daily basis, involves dragging gear and food 30 to 45 miles, melting snow for water, and sleeping in a tent while the outside temperature drops to -30C. Participating in the course means waking up and finishing each day in the dark. To help others who choose to compete in the race better understand what they are up against, Peter decided to share his experience by writing a book using Evernote to take notes throughout the challenge.

Being able to capture notes using any device, whether desktop or mobile, was critical to trek prep. Anytime Peter came across something potentially useful for the race, he could save the information to Evernote.

“Sitting in my tent looking back at these early coaching notes on my phone turned out to be invaluable during the race when I had my expected low days. These happen to every ultra racer but having planned for them in advance made it a lot easier to cope. My Evernote notes helped me keep perspective and stay focused.”

Tagging notes for faster search in the wilderness

The Yukon Arctic Ultra emphasizes efficiency, and Peter knew he would have little time to flip through a paper notebook to search for information. In his book, he writes, “Using tags in Evernote, I could simply search ‘injury’ and immediately find the information I needed. Of course there was a risk of my phone being out of charge, but there’s also a risk of a pad getting wet!”

Dear Me

To prepare for inevitable difficult times, Peter used Evernote to help him stay focused and motivated. Evernote also proved to be a good place to store family photos that he could look to for inspiration and the place he could capture his accomplishments, which he could refer back to when he felt like quitting.


Audio Notes for taking notes in extreme conditions

Peter primarily relied on Evernote’s audio recording feature. His phone screen would quickly freeze over with the moisture from finger skin, and he couldn’t afford to expose his skin to the elements for long so he recorded what he did each day, ideas he had for his book, and surrounding sounds (such as the wind or his fire stove). He also documented how he was feeling.

In his most difficult moments of the race, he referred to these notes to remind himself to hang on. You can take a listen to some of his recordings (and check out a few of the text notes he captured as well):

End of day 2, tired and freezing.

Beginning of day 3, ready to go back out.



Ultimately, Evernote became Peter’s only connection to life beyond the Yukon. Now that’s he’s back home, his notes and audio recordings from the race are valuable keepsakes that allow him to revisit the memories of his incredible adventure in vivid detail.

Have you completed an incredible journey (physical or otherwise) with the help of Evernote? Tell us about it in the comments!

Share your Evernote story #evernote5


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3 Comments RSS

  • Ahmad Raafat

    Well, I didn’t pass through such an experience. However, I do take down notes of my daily or weekly experience either it’s good or bad. Writing down my feelings and analyzing information around me helps me develop my way to deal with life and know more about myself.

    That really did help a lot. I have been doing so for about a year now 🙂

  • Trav Morty

    I visited Carmacks? I live here! lol. I admire his will to carry on in an unfamiliar environment. Well done!

    (And Evernote rules!)

  • Elad Miterany

    Good story!