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 Marathon Draws 179 Runners To Antarctica
Submitted by Rickshaw :: Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:36 pm
A record field of 179 competed in the seventh Antarctica Marathon on February 26. The warmest weather ever in the race's history turned the course into a muddy mess. With mild temperatures in the 30's and light winds, some runners even tackled the course wearing shorts. Beginning at the Russian research base on King George Island, the runners navigated a steep loop course that passed through several other research bases. American Darryn Zawith was first overall in a time of 3:49, and the race's first-ever wheelchair competitor also completed the half marathon in 5:40.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Marathon Draws 179 Runners To Antarctica Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:52 pm 

Clearly I'm getting old and cranky, but several things about this strike me as dumb:

First, this race exists solely for the coolness value of being able to say you've run a marathon in Antarctica. Presumably your friends will think it was some kind of super-extreme challenge. Yet this race is on an island at the very tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, at about 61 degrees south, it's not even past the Antarctic Circle. I've visited Ushuaia, an Argentine city near Cape Horn 500 miles north of the race site, and it's a pretty normal place. 500 miles and some varying ocean currents may make a major climate difference, but I'm guessing the race conditions aren't as extreme as you might believe.

Second, the race is becoming too big and popular for a fragile environment to support. If you read the article, you'll see that there's actually an international restriction prohibiting groups of 100 or more to be in one place at the same time on Antarctica. The race organizers got around this by dividing the 179 runners into two groups, and starting them three minutes apart. That seems pretty questionable to me.

My advice: save your $5000 for something closer to home.

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