Tuesday, November 23, 2010

26 Marathons in 26 countries

It must get tedious running marathons of 26.2 miles in hot, crowded cities. How about running one in Greenland surrounded by glaciers? That's what 60 or so runners did on October 23 when the temperature was around -5 degrees Centigrade (25 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Welcome to a tough, unique marathon in truly magnificent scenery. The Polar Circle Marathon known as “the coolest marathon on earth” takes place in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. "The endless ice and snow of this vast country make up the backdrop of this unusual race, in which runners pass glacier tongues, moraine landscapes and soundless, arctic desert."

The course is run on the snow covered gravel road connecting the inland ice with the small township just north of the Polar Circle. A part of the route even takes place on the Greenlandic ice cap itself.

"The race attracted runners from around the world, with 18 countries represented this year. Many had run extreme and exotic marathons, like the retired South African lecturer who had already knocked off seven marathons in seven continents, and is now well on the way to completing his next goal of running 26 marathons in 26 countries. Others were tackling their first 26.2-mile race. Several businessmen were having a change from their usual sports of mountaineering and cycling, as part of their plan to do "one stupid thing a year".

We all know someone among our friends, family, or even ourselves who has tried the 10 K, half or full marathon... The training, the preparation, the run make for great drama and camaraderie.