FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Near Blizzard Conditions at North Pole Marathon
12 APRIL 2010: The world's coolest marathon, the North Pole Marathon, took
place in near blizzard conditions on 7th April. Twenty-five athletes from
10 countries braved 45km per hour winds, sub-zero temperatures and
snowdrifts to complete the 42.2km race at the top of the world.
Marathoners first flew by jet from Spitsbergen, Norway to a drifting
Russian camp at the Geograhic North Pole on 6th April. On the following
day, the race commenced at 15:00 GMT in less than ideal conditions for
runners. Although the core temperature did not plummet to the -37C
experienced in the 2009 event, strong winds led to snowdrifts developing on
the course and wind chill temperatures that reached -20C on occasion.
But despite the strong winds and unfavourable terrain on the frozen Arctic
sea ice, every competitor managed to finish the race.
In the men's event, Joep Rozendal, a former Dutch marine, began to take
control at the half-way point. Over the first 20km, the lead had changed
several times with Rik Vercoe (Great Britain) and Yen-Po Chen (Taiwan) also
vying for top spot in the opening stages of the race. However, Rozendal
went on to record a victory over his competitors and the elements to win in
a time of 5:00:58. Vercoe finished second in 5:07:30 with Chen, a 2:30
marathoner in normal conditions, coming third in 5:29:47.
Four women took part in the women's competition. Emer Dooley of Ireland
proved a decisive winner in a time of 5:56:54 while Julia Tizard (Great
Britain) and Sarah Oliphant (USA) finished second and third, respectively.
Jamie Cuthbertson, a 49-year-old former British Royal Engineers captain,
also succeeded in a challenge of a lifetime to finish the marathon.
Cuthbertson lost his sight in an explosion in 1986, but accompanied by his
guide, Alex Pavanello, he demonstrated it was no impediment to his ability
to complete the world's coolest marathon.
After a celebration at the Pole, all compeititors returned to Norway on 9th
The next North Pole Marathon is provisionally scheduled for 7th April 2011.
For more details, see www.npmarathon.com.