Wow, wow, wow are the only words I can use to describe our experiences at the North Pole.
After numerous frustrating delays due to unprecedented cracking in the ice, the race was finally run in perfect polar weather. A mild -22 degrees with the wind chill that took it down to -35 degrees.
The race was brutal, yet beautiful when you take in the vast expanse of ice – I doubt I will ever experience this again. It is like being on another planet. It was very cold, and even with several layers on, the chill still slices through like a hot knife through butter. At one stage I removed my goggles for 10 minutes and my eye lids froze!
There were 47 runners that took part representing over 20 countries. All seeking the same challenge to run the worlds most remote and coldest marathon and we weren’t disappointed. The first person to cross the line was from the USA in a time of 5 hours and 17 minutes. I managed to sneak in at 4th place in 5 hours and 43 minutes. The slowest time was almost 12 hours which is a long time to be out in those conditions.
After we finished, we again donned our warm weather gear and hopped onto the Russian helicopter that took us the 20km to the actual North Pole. What an incredible experience to stand at the top of the world. The temperature plummeted to -50 degrees which chills you to the core. You remove your glove for 10 seconds to take a picture and your skin burns from the cold. All around you is this vast expanse of white ice and snow. There are ice ridges in every direction where the ice shelves crunch and grind into each other. Simply breath taking!
We were only at the Pole for 30 hours staying in the Russian camp called Barneo. Hardly the Hilton but still warm. We didn’t sleep much except on the plane trip. It’s a strange sensation when the sun never sets and time has no relevance.
We fly back to Norway today then via Dubai to Auckland and will be very pleased to be home. This has truely been the experience of a lifetime and I have several images that will stay with me forever. The North Pole is just incredible and what a privilege it is to visit and even run a marathon. I am so grateful for the opportunity! I hope some of the images give you a feel for what we experienced. It is never quite possible to capture the reality but hopefully this provides some insight to the brutal beauty of the North Pole.
Thanks again to our supporters BeGroup, and Argon Construction, and I must acknowledge IceBreaker whose clothing handled the harsh conditions exceptionally well. I hope you have enjoyed this incredible journey as much as we have.