Antarctica Marathon: 26 February 2005
The Antarctica Marathon takes place in February every second year on King George Island off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
The course consists of two separate out-and-backs of approximately six and a half miles each which are each run twice, starting and finishing at the Bellinghuesen Russian base, the central point on the course, and taking in the Uruguayan, Chilean and Chinese bases as well as a double ascent of the Collins Glacier.
Underfoot conditions vary considerably depending on the weather and temperature. The running surfaces consist of mud tracks (which in 2005 were snow free but very muddy and frequently rutted and waterlogged), stony shorelines and snow and ice on the glacier. There are several steepish, but relatively short, hills. The one mile ascent of the Collins Glacier is steep and in 2005 everyone walked it.
Weather conditions at the start of the most recent (seventh) running of the race in 2005 were relatively benign, with a temperature of just above zero centigrade and hardly any wind. After about three hours, the wind got up and conditions became tougher, with snow flurries and the "real feel" temperature dropping significantly due to wind chill. The tracks were much muddier, and the course correspondingly more difficult, than in 2003 when temperatures were lower and under foot conditions firmer.
The general view is that the Antarctica Marathon should take about an hour longer than one's standard marathon time.
In 2005, there were 176 finishers and the time of the winner was 3:49. There is also the option of a half marathon which 36 runners completed in 2005. Approximately half of those who ran the Antarctica Marathon also ran the Fin del Mundo Marathon in Ushuaia the day after getting back from Antarctica.
report by Harry Noble
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