Perfect conditions for polar running led to records across the board at the recent Antarctic Ice Marathon & 100k. However, a subsequent deterioration in weather saw some of the marathon group spend an unexpected white Christmas in Antarctica!
On December 13th, the nineteen competitors from nine countries set out to complete the southernmost marathon and 100km events in the world. They were greeted by absolutely stunning scenary, clear blue skies, light winds, a relatively compact surface and temperatures of approximately -12C.
Sean McAulay (GBR) led through the first quarter of the men's marathon before being overhauled by Andy Tyson (USA) and Miles Cudmore (GBR). Tyson, a noted mountaineer, has also climbed Antarctica's highest peak, Vinson Massif. He led through the half-way point before being caught by the experienced Cudmore. Cudmore went on to win the 26.2-mile race in a record time of 4:36:53. It also capped his 'Gand Slam' of marathons by running a marathon on all seven continents and at the North Pole. Tyson finished 10 minutes behind in second position with Angelo Henry (RSA) in third place.
Finland's Kirsi Montonen dominated the women's race and also ran a new record time of 5:03:48 when finishing ahead of Molly Loomis (USA) and Mariska Anderegg (NED). Meanwhile, Frank Staples (GBR) successfully completed the Half-Marathon.
As the marathoners battled it out, Marc de Keyser (BEL), Jukka Viljanen (FIN) and female runner Pushpa Chandra (CAN) faced into the daunting Antarctic 100km (62.1 miles) race. De Keyser, the 2007 Antarctic Ice Marathon champion, proved a convincing winner in a record time of 12:49:51 ahead of Viljanen. He won a coveted Kobold expedition watch for his victory in the event. Chandra established a new record time for women of 18:33:08.
Immediately following the conclusion of the marathon event, some of the participants availed of an early flight out of the Antarctic having achieved their marathon success. Those that remained behind encountered a deterioration in weather that lengthened their stay. However, they enjoyed an amazing and unforgettable Christmas Day at 80 Degrees South before returning home.
The next Antarctic Ice Marathon & 100k trip takes place from 10th – 18th December 2009. These are the only official running events within the Antartcic Circle and have guaranteed snow and ice throughout as well as sub-zero temperatures.
Entries for a limit of 20 places are now open. It is possible to combine the experience with trips to the precise Geographic South Pole or a climb of the highest mountain in Antarctica. See the website - www.icemarathon.com - for further details.