Monday, August 21, 2006

North pole marathon: World's coolest marathon..

I had a good run in the morning, did my 6km run in about 34mins. My shins seem to be settling down but will take rest on Tuesday, as I don't want to push them.

I happened to read about the north pole marathon in a recent issue of Forbes magazine - print version (issue dated July 3, 2006). What I really liked about this marathon, other than the fact that it takes place on North pole, is that its an adventure of a lifetime, as the entire marathon takes place on water (ok frozen water - ice!!), which is 6-12feet thick. You are actually running on ice which is floating on water!

Things that make this marathon very special:-
- Certified 26.2 mile marathon distance (Association of International Marathons and Road Races) - The great Tibetan marathon is not certified by AIMS
- Only certified marathon that is run entirely 'on' water, the frozen water of the Arctic Ocean
- Recognised by 2006 Guinness World Records as the northernmost marathon on Earth
- Participants are eligible to join the exclusive North Pole Marathon Grand Slam Club by finishing a marathon on each of the seven continents and this race on the Arctic Ocean. - I have a long way to do the grand slam of marathon!!

Let me anticipate some obvious questions which most of us would have. I have picked up these two faqs from the official website of the marathon.

With little or no marathon experience, should I be able to finish the North Pole Marathon?
Yes. If you train properly and can run or walk a distance of 26.2 miles comfortably, then you should be able to complete the North Pole Marathon successfully. Some of the previous participants had never completed a marathon before: determination is the key ingredient to finishing. One of the priorities of the organiser is to have everybody finish the race and there is no cut-off time.

I have no prior extreme weather experience. Is it ok for me to run at the North Pole?
Yes. Proper clothing ensures the cold is not an overwhelming problem when running or walking this race. A large heated tent is also available every couple of miles. Most participants will never have encountered extremely cold conditions before travelling to the Pole. The average temperature during the marathon is about -25degree C.
This is very different from running on the South pole (Antarctica), which is run on snow covered rocks. The Southernmost marathon is a lot tougher than the North pole one, the temperatures are a lot worse and it costs four times as much plus a round trip airfare from Punta Arenas, Chile.

And its something that I would like to do, sometime during this lifetime. The only thing coming between me and the marathon is the price tag of Euro 9,300 plus a round-trip airfare to Spitsbergen (place in Norway about 1.5hr flight from Olso). So I better start looking for sponsors, the proposition - association with the first Indian to successfully complete the north pole marathon. Not a bad idea.

For more details visit - http://www.npmarathon.com/ and for the Southern most marathon visit http://icemarathon.com/

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