I would have to say that this was one of the toughest marathons that we have ever run in our lives (check out videos and pictures). Although it was the toughest, it was the most amazingly beautiful adventure that we will ever experience together.
The captain of the ship made an announcement at approximately 5:30 am in the morning that we were at King George’s Island and that we had a perfect “Antarctica Day” for the marathon. Overnight there was a snow storm so the entire course was covered with snow. In addition the weather was definitely going to provide us with a challenge as the temperature was below zero with a windshield of 30 miles per hour.
At 6:30 we went to the dining room to have quick bite to eat. The room was filled with excitement as everyone was ready/anxious and nervous to complete this marathon!
Due to the fact that there could only be 100 people at any one spot on the island at the same time it was decided that the women, half marathoners and over 60 would go to the island first and the men would follow to arrive at a separate location on the island. There would be two starts, one for the first group and one for the men. I did not like this as David and I always run these together and I knew I was going to need his support for this one. However, given the fact that I run so slow, I knew he would catch up with me after their start.
As we landed on the Island we had about 20 minutes to change into our running gear (under the Russian Base-see pictures) Yes, that is outside in the negative degree, blistery weather. I was freezing. David only had 3 minutes once he arrived on the island.
Some of the other items that were different in this marathon from other marathons other then the obvious was that we had to carry our own liquids with us to replenish. We had to place water bottles at certain points throughout the course to consume as we went by them several times. Of course, David carried mine to the drop off point for me :). I am so lucky! Also, there were limited restroom facilities…really only one and if you decided to use it then it would take you a good 20 minutes. Luckily we did not have to use these…but I did mark my spot as usual 🙂
The race started …the first 3/4 mile was complete mud! After the mud we had about a mile of hills (I thought they were kidding me when they said the course was hilly…boy did I have a rude awakening!). After the hills we ran on a very rocky beach until we reached the Glacier…yes, that’s right..the Glacier..1 Mile up! By the time I got to the bottom I had in my head that I could not do the Glacier again (yes, we had to trek it twice). My mental attitude started to decline….David continued to encourage me.
At about mile 8 I told David to go ahead and run ahead of me so that he could make the cut-off at mile 13 to finish the marathon. I told him if I made it in time I would complete the marathon but if not I was ok with just doing the half….he told me he would not go ahead of me (we have this argument every race :)….he told me that we would just come back in 2009 to complete it. Well, I was not coming back in 2009, so I just buckled down and kept going!
On the second trek up the Glacier I decided to go up it backwards. I found this very helpful as it used different muscles and the wind was now at my back. Of course, it took me longer but it was actually enjoyable!!
There were many great sights on the course as you can see in the pictures and video. In addition to the sights we had some of our friends (the seals, skuas and penguins) on the course. The seals actually tried attacking one of the runners! We were very lucky to dodge this!
We completed the marathon in 7:54. This obviously was our worst time but we were able to enjoy the scenery together and we are very happy to just have finished! We now have Australia and China left to complete all 7 continents.
- Russian Research Ship
- Drake Passage
- The Bar on the ship
- The soup
- Bouncing out of Bed
- Not being able to blog
- The Zodiac rides
- Dressing up in 20lbs of clothing
- Freezing temperatures on Marathon Day
- The Glacier
- Supporting each other
- The storm coming in
- The finish Two-Gether
- Almost leaving my mom in Antarctica
- All the wonderful new friends we met along the way!