Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I be guaranteed to be in and out of the Antarctic as scheduled?
- Where is our departure point for Antarctica?
- How do I get to Punta Arenas, Chile?
- Where will I stay in Punta Arenas?
- By what means am I transported to the Antarctic?
- What date will the races take place?
- Where exactly will the races take place?
- I have no prior extreme weather experience. Is it ok for me to run in the Antarctic?
- Will it be safe to run?
- With little or no marathon experience, will I be able to finish the Antarctic Ice Marathon?
- What is the weather usually like?
- What are the underfoot conditions at Union Glacier?
- What shoes should I wear when running?
- What clothes should I wear when running?
- Will there be media coverage of the race?
No. You are going to one of the most difficult places in the world to fly to. Days of delay can be normal for Antarctic flights and you should not plan anything important for a minimum of two weeks after your expected return. Allow yourself time to enjoy this unique experience without the stress of time pressures. Of course, every effort will be made to keep to the scheduled departure and return date, but all flights are subject to weather, aircraft serviceability and local conditions.
Our departure point for Antarctica is a town called Punta Arenas in Chile, South America. You will arrange round trip flights from your homeland to Punta Arenas and you should arrive in Punta Arenas by November 17th at the latest. From there, you will be flown to the Union Glacier camp in Antarctica. Detailed information about Punta Arenas will be given to registered entrants.
You will book your international flight to arrive in Santiago, the capital of Chile. There are regular internal flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas via the Lan Chile airline. Specific advice on flights will be given to registered participants, but you should essentially ensure that there is flexibility with your return date. On arrival in Punta Arenas, you will go to your hotel and be briefed further about onward travel arrangements to the Antarctic.
The official race hotel is the Diego de Almagro where preferential rates will be obtained for Ice Marathon participants. However, competitors can choose from a range of other hotels with prices from US$50 - US$300 per night depending on quality and services. When booking a hotel, bear in mind that your budget should cover the possibility of being stuck in Punta Arenas for several days before the jet actually takes off for the Antarctic.
An Ilyushin-76 (IL-76) plane will fly you to the Union Glacier camp at the foot of the Ellsworth Mountains in Antarctica. Its a 4.5-hour flight that will see you fly over Tierra del Fuego and the Drake Passage before getting your first glimpse of frozen seas below. At 66 degrees latitude you will cross the Antarctic Circle and continue towards the icy continent. The ice sheet will continue to stretch inland until you see the spectacular Ellsworth Mountains. We will land on an ice runway at the southernmost extension of these mountains - 80 Degrees South.
The Antarctic Ice Marathon is scheduled to take place on November 20th 2011 and the Antarctic 100k will be run on November 22nd 2011. All dates are subject to change in accordance with weather conditions and related flight re-scheduling. For example, if our stay in the Antarctic needs to be shortened significantly then some events could even be run simultaneously.
The marathon race will be run in the vicinity of the Union Glacier camp on a 25km loop followed by a 17.2km inner loop. The 100km race will encompass four laps of the 25km circuit. There will be aid stations every 8km approximately.
Yes. Proper clothing should ensure the cold is not a completely overwhelming problem when running or walking these races. You will be fully advised on what to wear and your clothing will be checked for suitability prior to leaving Punta Arenas. A number of aid checkpoints are available on the course as well as one large heated structure at the half-way point. Some participants will probably never have encountered extremely cold conditions before travelling to the Antarctic, though it is preferable that you did have such experience.
Yes. Flags will guide athletes around the course and participants should be visible at almost all times. However, it is important to keep your peripherals covered and to be alert to any signs of frost damage.
Yes, it's possible. If you are determined, train properly and can run or walk a distance of 26.2 miles very comfortably, then you should be able to complete the Antarctic Ice Marathon successfully. However, it will be a slow and difficult experience as running for long periods on snow in sub-zero temperatures can be very draining. Nevertheless, one of the priorities of the organiser is to have everybody finish the race and there is no cut-off time. However, only experienced ultramarathon and endurance athletes should attempt the 100k race.
The temperature at Union Glacier typically ranges from 10C to 20C at this time of year. However, with fairly steady winds blowing from the Pole, the wind chill will lower the apparent temperature by some 10 to 20 degrees. On the other hand, the air temperature on a calm day can feel much warmer, almost balmy! Winds will more generally blow at a steady 10 25 knots.
The course will be groomed before the race and may comprise a reasonably solid ice surface. However, it can also be comprised of soft and loose snow in places, and both features may be evident on the circuit.
A pair of trail running shoes will work out best.
A layering system is best, which should incorporate the following:
Upper body thermal layer, fleece layer and outer windproof shell
Legs thermal layer and windproof pants
Hands pair of gloves and mittens
Feet sock liners and woollen socks
Head balaclava, facemask, hat, neck gaiter, goggles
It is important to keep the peripherals warm (hands, feet, face). Click here to see a detailed clothing list.
Yes. A press release will be issued to a worldwide database after the event. Leading international sports photographers and / or TV have been present at all previous races.