North Pole 2012: Marathon At The Top Of The World

2011 Nicholas

At the end of last week one of the more unique endurance events in the world took place when the 2012 UVU North Pole Marathon was run. The race, which took place for the eighth time, featured 40 competitors from across the globe who ran a standard 26.2 mile (42.1 km) marathon across the frozen Arctic Ocean.

In order to reach the North Pole the racers first had to travel to Longyearbyen in Norway, then hop a charter flight to the Barneo Ice Station, which opened last week at around 89ΒΊN. From there a Russian built Antonov AN-74 aircraft flew them out to the course, which was 2.6 mile (4.2 km) circular route that each of the runners had to complete ten times. The route is ultimately established for the safety of the athletes and is designed to avoid open leads of water or other safety hazards.

The winner of this year’s race was Andrew Murray of Great Britain who finished in a time of 4 hours, 17 minutes and 8 seconds. Luis Alonso Marcos of Spain was second 2 minutes and 30 seconds back, while James Matthews, also from the U.K., claimed third at 4 hours, 41 minutes and 01 second. The top female finisher was Demelza Farr of Austraila who crossed the finish line with a time of 6 hours, 6 minutes and 36 seconds. For a full list of results click here.

The competitors only spent about two days in the Arctic for this race and most have already come and gone on their return trip through Barneo. Still, this is an impressive event to take part in and I imagine it was amazing to visit the North Pole and compete in one of the most unlikely marathons on the planet. Congrats to everyone involved.

Kraig Becker