The Czech Republic's Petr Vabrousek and Great Britain’s Fiona Oakes won the 2013 UVU Antarctic Ice Marathon titles in record time. The Ice Marathon took place at Union Glacier, Antarctica, and is recognized as the world’s southernmost marathon and the only official running event within the Antarctic Circle.
Temperatures were an ice cool -21C when the event got underway at 13:10 GMT on Wednesday 20 November. A total of 56 athletes from 21 countries took part in this ninth edition of the event, which is an essential race for marathon runners seeking to join the Seven Continents Marathon Club. While five athletes contested the half-marathon, 51 took part in the 42.2km feature marathon race.
Despite the frigid temperatures and challenging underfoot conditions of snow and ice, the pace was quick from the outset. Vabrousek, the 2011 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Cup winner and veteran of 136 Ironman triathlons, took the early lead. However, he was closely pressed by Australia’s Alistair McLaren over the first 15km. Vabrousek reached the half-way point in 1 hour 44 minutes, holding a three-minute lead on McLaren with Slovakia's Daniel Palko a little further back in third position.
Meanwhile, it was similarly tight at the front of the women’s race with the reigning North Pole Marathon winner, Fiona Oakes, holding a two-minute advantage at half-way. Oakes, who holds a marathon personal best of 2 hours 38 minutes reached half-way in 2 hours 10 minutes, ahead of Australia's Lauren Jones and Great Britain's Charlotte Waller in second and third places, respectively. Amazingly, Jones was experiencing snow for the first time in her life.
In the men's race, Vabrousek extended his lead on the second of two-circuits to cross the finish line in a new event record time of 3:34.47 hrs. The delighted Czech, who trained in -22C in a freezer for the race, said "You can’t feel bad finishing this marathon. It’s a fantastic experience. I have completed maybe 160 marathons in my life but nothing so beautiful." McLaren was second in 3:56.54 hrs and Palko third in 4:18.18 hrs.
Oakes won the women's race in an equally impressive new event record time of 4:20.02 hrs, ahead of Jones in 4:44.56 hrs and Waller in 5:47.23 hrs. The Briton said "I can’t believe it. It’s beyond my wildest dreams to win both the North Pole Marathon and the Antarctic Ice Marathon in the same year."
There was a double celebration for Vabrousek, who subsequently won the gruelling Antarctic 100km event on 22 November. His very impressive time of 11:21:46 hrs was also a new record. Scotland's Audrey McIntosh was the sole female competitor in the 100k, coming home in a time of 17:19:51hrs.
The Antarctic Ice Marathon organisers also experimented with a winter 'Antarctic Triathlon' that is now set to become an annual event. Six Japanese athletes successfully completed legs of running, mountain biking and x-country skiing.
Full Results are posted below.