Countdown to Antarctic Ice Marathon & 100k
1 December, 2005 – Ten competitors from Great Britain, Ireland, Russia and the USA will take part in the inaugural Antarctic Ice Marathon & 100k which will be held on January 5, 2006.
Although some will have their sights set on the Kobold Polar Surveyor watch awarded to the overall winner of each race, getting to the finish line in itself will be a notable achievement. The Antarctic Ice Marathon is now the only marathon held within the Antarctic Circle and its southerly location guarantees extreme sub-zero temperatures, 24 hours of daylight and snow & ice throughout the course. Participants may also have to contend with strong Katabatic winds blowing from the South Pole given the race location at 80 degrees south.
Among those taking part will be Evgeniy Gorkov of Russia who won the Gobi March desert race in China this year as well as the Silver State Marathon in Nevada, USA. Also in the field will be Irishman John O’Regan, winner of the 2005 Yukon Arctic Ultra 100-Miles and veteran of the 2004 North Pole Marathon. Steven Seaton of Great Britain - an experienced ultramarathon and eco challenge racer - will also contend strongly, while Mike Pierce (USA) has been training in a freezer for the event and should cope well with the frigid conditions.
Two women will take part in the Antarctic Ice Marathon, namely, Stevie Matthews and Wendy MacKinnon from Great Britain. Both are experienced marathoners and the former was recently included in the 2006 Guinness World Records as the fastest female to run the North Pole Marathon.
Others in the field include Diarmuid Smyth (Ireland) - a martial arts expert - who has run in the Arctic previously, while Stephen Cushing from Great Britain will be bravely attempting his first marathon in fifteen years. Amazingly, British participant Mark Tointon, with a 3cm discrepancy in leg length and one foot four sizes shorter than the other, will also attempt to complete the race. Born with a club foot, he is intent on raising £50,000 for the children’s hospital that helped him by running marathons in extreme locations around the world.
The 26.2-mile marathon route will see all competitors negotiate long stretches of open white terrain against the magnificent backdrop of the Ellsworth Mountains.
In addition to the feature marathon event, a 100k race will also be on offer the day after the marathon. It will present the first opportunity to complete a 100k event on the last continent and creates the prospect of a 100k Seven Continents Club for global ultra athletes. About half of the marathon competitors are expected to attempt it along with race director Richard Donovan of Ireland.
The races will be run in the vicinity of the Patriot Hills camp operated by Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE), the owners of Adventure Network International since 2003. ALE is the only organisation offering expedition support and safety backup to the interior of the Antarctic. The marathon itself will be organised and promoted by Polar Running Adventures, the organisers of the annual North Pole Marathon. Mike King, a leading international sports photographer will capture images of the event while KIBO Productions will produce a video documentary.
The second edition of the races will be held in the week beginning 10 December 2006 and then every December annually. Further details are available at the official Antarctic Ice Marathon website: www.icemarathon.com. The scheduled itinerary includes round trip flights to the interior of the Antarctic from South America; food and accommodation in the Antarctic; entry to the races; and commemorative medals, t-shirts and souvenirs.
Contact: Richard Donovan – Race Director