Running The Antarctic Ice Marathon Makes For Masochistic Memories

by Alan Rider
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Look, I understand what it’s like to get a certain satisfaction from competing in the kinds of extreme endurance events that make normal people—or even dedicated enthusiasts, for that matter—question your sanity.  Even with this perspective however, I still think the idea of running in the Antarctic Ice Marathon sounds a little nutty.

You see, this extreme event involves running a full 26-mile marathon on a course carved out of the ice at the foot of Antarctica’s Ellsworth Mountains.  Besides the 3,000-foot altitude here on the bottom of the world, runners will have to endure sub-zero temperatures and face the possibility of katabatic winds that can reach 100-plus miles-per-hour.  The upside, if you can call it that, is that organizers have no set time limit for completing the race, which should make it at least a little easier for determined competitors to cross the finish line.

For hardcore runners who find themselves thinking that even this challenge seems a tad too easy, the folks behind the Antarctic Ice Marathon are also offering a 100-kilometer race a few days later.  This ultramarathon will see a handful of elite athletes slogging along the frozen surface for roughly 62 miles in the Antarctic summer’s 24-hour daylight.

Completing either event puts you one step closer to membership in the very exclusive Seven Continents Marathon Club.  Organizers say they’re also working on Antarctic duathlon and triathlon competitions that will involve running, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.

Perhaps the best part of any of these extraordinary experiences, however, is the look on the faces of the people you’ll end up telling your stories to.  Honestly, the fact that they’ll think you’re a little loony for even attempting it is at least half the fun!


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