It doesn’t get much more extreme than running a 26.2 miles in the cold Arctic North as part of the FWD North Pole Marathon! Very few people even get to witness the North Pole let alone witness it while completing a marathon. Wow – this is a double bucket-list event!
Established in 2003, this extreme marathon is set on a 2.62 mile course that runners navigate ten times during the race. Runners will be dressed to the eyeballs (literally) as they join double-pole marathon runner Richard Donovan on the run-of-a-lifetime.
Of course, this route isn’t for everyone. Runners must compete with sub-zero temperatures, the pressure of running on Arctic ice floes (simply frozen chunks of water!) and (perhaps most prohibitively) the €15,000 entrance fee. The cost does include a wealth of factors such as flights, accommodation, helicopter journeys and emergency medical insurance but it is still a fairly mammoth fee.
‘The pride you’ll feel standing next to the North Pole knowing you have completed this ultimate marathon will be utterly unique!’
As you would imagine, this Marathon is a somewhat smaller event than some of the more major races on the world stage. The race usually features around 60 participants crazy enough to take on the challenge.
The Marathon isn’t exactly a spectator sport (although it is officially possible) so don’t sign up to the race expecting hundreds of fans supporting your run. There may be a few mad people willing to stand in the snow to watch you but it’s more likely to be a ranger with a rifle watching out for polar bears.
The race is broadcasted internationally each year so it may be best to stay home and watch the race on the TV!
Runners must arrive into Svalbard two days before the marathon to receive a full briefing before flying to the North Pole Camp. Once at the camp unaccompanied excursions are strictly forbidden due to the possibilities of encounters with wild polar bears.
After the marathon competitors will be taken back to Svalbard where they can choose to stay or connect to their onward flight home.
Flights to Svalbard will be in and out of Longyearbyen on the Spitsbergen Archipelago which is served daily by flights to Oslo.
As part of the Marathon, guests are housed in the North Pole Camp, Camp Barneo, which has been set up for research, tourist excursions and marathon events.
While staying in Longyearbyen in Svalbard there are a couple of options, namely the Radisson Blu, Svalbard Lodge and the Spitsbergen Hotel.
Aside from the marathon there’s not a lot else to do at the North Pole apart from take the obligatory Pole Pic! You will only be able to stay at the North Pole for two days so your time here will all have been pre-organised by the marathon team.
If you’d like to enjoy some more Arctic adventures after your North Pole Marathon, you can take part in Snowmobile Safaris and Huskey Sled Journeys on the Svalbard mainland.
Very few Svalbard Polar Cruises also depart in April which venture around the Spitsbergen Archipelago in search of Arctic wildlife.
The next Marathon will take place on 9th April 2020.
Read more about the other toughest events in the world.
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