Remarkable records were set across the board at the seventh running of the Antarctic Ice Marathon races, the southernmost marathon in the world, over the weekend. More than 40 competitors from 15 countries gathered on the frozen continent to take part in half-marathon, marathon and ultramarathon races that would test the resolve of the most steely of running enthusiasts.
The events, which are held at Union Glacier camp, are the only official foot races within the Antarctic Circle on the mainland continent. This year’s event was particularly special as it coincided with the Centenary year of Man reaching the South Pole. On 1 December, Clement Thevenet (FRA) dominated the men’s marathon (42.195km) distance when running a record time of 3:47:07. In amazingly bright sunshine and temperatures of -18C, the Frenchman led from start to finish to take the title ahead of the USA’s Alvin Matthews and Matthew Von Ertfelda.
Yvonne Brown (GBR) was a worthy winner of the women’s race in 4:26:10, finishing ahead of two previous North Pole Marathon winners, Emer Dooley (IRL) and Alison Hamlett (GBR). The first three finishers broke the previous female record.
On 2 December, the Antarctic 100km began at 13:00 GMT and it took Thevenet a mere 12:09:06 hrs, another new Antarctic record, to add the title to his marathon victory. It was a colder affair with windchill temperatures dropping down to about -25C and the prolonged exposure causing two competitors , including Thevenet, requiring IV fluids after the race. Former winner, Mark de Keyser (BEL) was a very close second with Dave Deany (AUS) third.
To round off the record setting weekend, Richard Donovan (IRL) ran an epic 100 miles in a day (24:35:02 hrs) to coincide with the Centenary year celebrations. Darkness was not a problem for the Irishman as there are 24 hours of daylight in the interior of the Antarctic at this time of year.
Registration is now open for next year's Antarctic Ice Marathon & 100k trip, which is scheduled to occur from 19th - 23rd November 2012. For full details, see www.icemarathon.com.