Contact: Thom Gilligan
ANTARCTICA MARATHON CHILLS IN '04
Expedition Schedule to Skip a Year
KING GEORGE ISLAND, ANTARCTICA (October 22, 2002) - Athletes looking to
run 26.2 miles on what is known as the coldest, windiest, driest, and most
remote continent on Earth best sign up for the 2003 event or wait for the
2005 edition. Race officials have announced that plans for a 2004 edition
of the Antarctica Marathon and Half Marathon have been put on ice in an
effort to minimize the environmental impact on the Continent and to give
race organizers a much-needed year off.
The race typically sells out every year with 117 adventure-seeking runners
but is no walk in the park to coordinate "The logistical challenges of
coordinating a marathon in Antarctica are a marathon in itself." explained
Thom Gilligan, race director. The two-loop race course transverses through
Russian, Chinese, Urganian and Chilean research bases and changes every
year due to glacial shifts. "The only logistical concerns we don't have are
crowd and traffic control," furthered Gilligan.
Not normally held every year, the Antarctica Marathon and Half Marathon
has been held in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2002. The 2003 event will be
held on March 3rd and the 2005 event will be held in late February or
early March, considered late summer in Antarctica. There are still 18
spots available for the 2003 expedition.
Known as the "Last Continent" because of its harsh weather extremes,
Antarctica boasts a two-mile- thick ice cap, spectacular scenery,
challenging terrain and unique spectators. Runners will possibly encounter
penguins, seals and the inimitable brown skua as they tackle the dirt
roads, steep glaciers and rocky beaches along the course.
Getting to the race is half the fun and as much of the challenge. On
February 22nd, runners will take overnight flights to Buenos Aires,
Argentina, then fly to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, the world's southernmost
city. After a mid-day shopping and sightseeing workout in Ushuaia, runners
will board a chartered ship for a ten-day journey through the Beagle
Channel across the Drake Passage and finally into Antarctica waters. After
weaving through icebergs and bays of the Shetland Islands and Antarctica
Peninsula, runners will be treated to hiking, kayaking and overnight
camping in addition to the 26.2 and 13.1-mile competitions.
Complete race tour packages start at $4,499 and includes membership in the
Antarctica Athletic Federation. For more information call Marathon Tours
and Travel at (617-242-7845) or log on to www.marathontour.com.
Marathon Tours and Travel, the leading marathon tour operator in the U.S.,
offers comprehensive travel packages to marathons worldwide including the
Safaricon Marathon in Kenya, the only marathon run entirely within a game
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