Sixteen competitors from Armenia, Australia, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, and the USA took part in the second Antarctic Ice Marathon & 100k races. The events, which were held on 13th and 15th December, respectively, are only official footraces within the Antarctic Circle and take place in 24-hour daylight at 80 Degrees South latitude.
Clear skies, temperatures of -10C and light winds initially greeted participants in the marathon event (26.2-miles), although low cloud cover in the latter stages of the race led to poor contrast and visibility.
A group of six top mountaineers, including four Everest summiteers from the seven summits club, were late registrants for the event. Their inclusion in the field added further excitement to the race, particularly when the best marathoner among them, Karo Ovasapyan of Armenia, was still in contention for third place after 25km.
By this point, however, Henri Alain d'Andria (FRA) had carved out a sizeable lead over Tim Harris (GBR). The Frenchman continued to push ahead to win in a new Antarctic Ice Marathon record of 5.08.17 hrs, beating Evgeniy Gorkov's (Russia) existing record by over a minute. In finishing second, Tim Harris successfully completed seven marathons in seven weeks on seven continents and will undoubtedly enter Guinness World Records for the shortest cumulative marathon time for the task.
Noelle Sheridan (USA) was the sole female participant and finished in a time of 7:15:46 to set a new Guinness World Record for women by running seven marathons in seven months on seven continents.
Two of the mountaineers finished the marathon. The others, however, decided at different points to withdraw rather than putting an imminent Mount Vinson summit attempt in jeopardy due to blistering or other running-related injuries. Nevertheless, a record of other sorts was probably set for the greatest concentration of Everest summiteers in one marathon.
In the 100km race, held on 15th December, Richard Donovan (IRL) led trom start to finish. Although d'Andria (FRA) was in close proximity over the first 25km, the gap widened at the halfway point as the relentless pace continued in brilliant sunshine. Easing up over the final quarter, the Irishman set a new Antarctic 100k record of 12:55:06 - a race distance that is the equivalent of 10% of the distance to the South Pole.
Both overall winners of the Marathon and 100k received $5,000 Kobold expedition watches for their efforts in the snow, while all participants received Salomon running gear and other prizes.
The next Antarctic Ice Marathon & 100k trip takes place from 10th – 18th December 2007. Entries for a limit of 20 places will open in late January 2007 and the price for the expedition trip will be similar to this year at US $15,000. See the website - www.icemarathon.com - for further details.