A Kiwi-born father of three was forced to trek 160km across a frozen Mongolian lake in jeans and old work brogues after an airline lost his luggage.
Peter Messervy-Gross, who was born in Auckland, clambered across sheets of ice wearing his four-year-old work shoes - suffering agonising blisters in the process - while taking part in the Mongol 100 adventure race.
The Khovsgol Nuur lake, located in northern Mongolia, freezes every winter and last week dozens of participants walked, ran or skated a bone-chilling 100 miles (161km) across it.
Dad-of-three Messervy-Gross – who has lived in Jersey, UK, for the past 20 years – spent five months researching what "shiny new kit" to buy to complete the feat - in which his competitors wore winter walking boots, ice skates or other technical footwear.
But his heart sank when he realised he would be forcing his freezing feet across the ice for 10 hours a day over four days - in temperatures down to -25C - in his battered leather shoes.
Messervy-Gross's adventure began when he flew from Heathrow Airport to Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar, with a friend and fellow participants for the race, which is the brainchild of UK firm Rat Race Adventure Sports.
But it took a turn for the worse when the 47-year-old discovered his luggage had been lost. Russian airline Aeroflot told him his bag would arrive in Mongolia before the race began so he purchased nothing but an extra set of thermals.
He was later dubbed "the rogue in brogues", saying of his lack of bags: "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 Rat Race founder, suggested I buy some running shoes just in case."
But buying replacement size 13 race footwear wasn't an option; with Messervy-Gross revealing the biggest size shoes he could find in Mongolia were size 11.
Then it was confirmed he wouldn't be able to be reunited with his luggage in time for the start of the race.
"It was a heartbreaking moment for me, very gutting, because you can't really run 100 miles across a frozen lake in brogues," said the Kiwi-born man who has been living in the Channel Islands for the past 20 years.
"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.
"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."
He was also gifted a spare sleeping bag and some micro crampons; mini spikes that provide traction on the bottom of shoes.
The team set off the next morning and battled through marathon-distance stages on each of the four days of the challenge.
While some competitors dropped out of the race through a mixture of injury, fatigue and cold, Messervy-Gross continued on with ever-swelling feet.
"I literally became too big for my boots," he said.
"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."
During each stage, the participants moved though checkpoints where they would receive food, hot water and medical assistance if needed.
And after being on ice for about 10 hours a day, at night the team set up camp on the lake's shores, sleeping in large traditional Mongolian tents.
Messervy-Gross and his friend, 43-year-old Marcus Liddiard, had spent five months training for the event.
Messervy-Gross said the race "was about being with like-minded people, in a wild place" held in a "pretty brutal environment".
"When I crossed that finish line I was elated," he said.
"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.
"My shoes held up surprisingly well - I'm just a bit allergic to putting the things on now."
His luggage turned up about 15 minutes before his return flight home.