A capacity race field of 53 competitors took part in the 13th running of the southernmost marathon on earth, the Antarctic Ice Marathon, which is the only official marathon within the Antarctic Circle and on the continental landmass. The standard 42.2 km marathon event is a member of the Association of International Marathons & Distance Races (AIMS).
Competitors from 19 countries across the world - Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey, and the USA - assembled at Punta Arenas, Chile and were flown to Union Glacier, Antarctica for the race. Windchill temperatures were a cool -25C (-13F) on race day, November 24th, but the underfoot terrain was reasonably compact although energy sapping nonetheless.
The men's competition quickly turned onto a three-way battle between Frank Johansen (DEN), David Weeks (USA) and Gertjan Verdickt (BEL), with the great Dane asserting himself in the latter part of the event to pull away from runner-up Weeks by almost 9 minutes. The first three finishers broke 4 hours, with Johansen posting a winning time of 3:37.46 hrs, Weeks finishing second in 3:46.38 hrs and Verdickt third in 3:56.45 hrs. Johansen capped his victory by also joining The 7 Continents Marathon Club, having previously finished marathon events in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America.
In the women's race, Kelly Allen McLay of the USA overtook fellow countrywoman Megan Lind after the half-way to take victory in a time of 4:56.37 hrs. Turkey's Gulay Varan worked her way through the race field to claim second place in 5:11.18 hrs, with Lind finishing third in 5:16.08 hrs.
In addition to the podium finishers, numerous ice marathoners achieved membership of The 7 Continents Marathon Club having successfully competed a marathon distance on all of the earth's continents. Victor Consunji (PHI) and Vivian Lee (CHN/USA) also joined the Marathon Grand Slam Club by completing marathons on all 7 continents and at the North Pole.
Six athletes also completed the half marathon race to make a fantastic 100% finish rate in this year's marathon and half marathon events.
The 14th edition of the Antarctic Ice Marathon takes place from 12th - 14th December, 2018. See www.icemarathon.com and www.facebook.com/AntarcticIceMarathon for details. Full results of the 2017 Antarctic Ice Marathon are posted below.