Great Britain’s Andrew Murray and Australia's Demelza Farr won the 42.2 km Antarctic Ice Marathon in sub zero temperatures on 21 November 2012.
Both athletes completed the double after winning the North Pole Marathon, the sister race of the Antarctic Ice Marathon, earlier this year.
In the men’s 100km ultramarathon, Belgium’s Marc de Keyser and Australia’s Julianne Young set new record times in the male and female categories, respectively.
The marathon race was scheduled to start on 20 November, but adverse weather conditions forced a delay of one day. Extremely cold temperatures accompanied by deteriorating visibility and strong winds on some sections of the course made it unsafe to proceed. However, the conditions were perfect on 21 November with clear skies and mild temperatures of -15C.
Forty-six athletes from 16 countries braved the race that turned out to be a battle between the Spanish runner Luis Marcos and Scotland’s Andrew Murray. The lead was constantly changing between the two until Murray pulled away after the 35 km marker. In the end it was a comfortable win for the Flying Scot in a course record time of 3:41:15 hrs.
Marcos, the 2012 Great Wall Marathon champion, finished second some eight minutes after Murray crossed the line. Douglas Wilson from Australia finished third in a time of four hours, 17 minutes and three seconds.
Twelve ladies took part in the women's competition. Demelza Farr from Sydney, Australia proved a decisive winner in a time of 5:09:43 hrs while Nancy Moundalexis from the USA and Amanda Barlow from Australia finished second and third, respectively.
The Antarctic win capped an amazing year for Farr as not only did she win this year's North Pole Marathon in April, but after the race her then boyfriend James Alderson proposed to her. In October they were married and this race in the Antarctic formed the start of their honeymoon.
On 22 November, nine competitors set off to complete the 100 km, which encompassed 10 laps of a 10km loop. In the end, Marc de Keyser finished 45 minutes ahead of early leader Hirofumi Ono of Japan to set a new record of 12:06:51 hrs for the event. Spain’s Julen Kalzada finished third in a time of 13:08:56 hrs despite running the marathon the previous day.
In the female division, Julianne Young was the sole competitor but she took the title in style by setting a record time of 15:31:10 hrs.
The marathon and ultramarathon are the southernmost races on the planet and eleven competitors utilized the event to reach their goal of running seven marathons on seven continents.
Every runner had to have his or her skin fully protected. Clothing included a full balaclava, goggles, gloves and mittens, long johns, windproof running pants and a couple of layers of thermal clothing under a shell.
The course itself was laid out around Union Glacier in Antarctica where markers were positioned in the snow and ice to avoid crevasses. Marathon competitors had to complete two laps of a 21.1 km loop and were able to rehydrate themselves with hot drinks and snacks at five aid stations.
In an Antarctic first, the races were chip timed and the iconic Marathon Flame also made its first visit to the frozen continent when UNICEF ambassador Nasos Ktoridis brought it to the race from Greece.
Despite the unfavorable terrain, every competitor managed to finish this unique marathon race; beating the elements and achieving a personal dream.