North Pole Marathon

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2012 Competitors

James Alderson (AUS)

An Aussie who has not yet been to The North Pole, South Pole, or Poland. James has never won any race he's entered, and, reading the profile of his fellow competitors thinks he is fully on track to maintain that record. James is aiming to complete the race powered by hot cups of [salty] tea and one - maybe two - packets of chocolate digestives, whilst sporting a fantastic ice beard (to make the last the 3 weeks of itchy face worthwhile).

Ian Alying (GBR)

Completed the Great Wall marathon in China in 2010 (5,164 steps and over 6,000ft of elevation change) as part of a mild mid-life crisis. Although Ian swore it was a once in a lifetime deal, he ran it again in 2011 and took 1hr 35mins off his first time before also completing the (flat) Beijing marathon. Ian works for Baker Hughes and has lived and worked all over the world, including the former Soviet Union, Congo, Australia, Libya and now China. He loves the opportunity to experience everything the world has to offer. Having his father diagnosed with Parkinsons has added impetus to his combined running / fundraising efforts and he is running for The Cure Parkinson's Trust. Please go to http://www.justgiving.com/Ian-Ayling-2012 to make a donation. Bizarrely, on the same day as the NP marathon, younger brother Gary will also be starting a slightly different endurance charity event as he takes part in the Tuk Tuk rally across India – seems like daft challenges run in the family.

Julie Brailsford (GBR)

A London-based 39-year-old who has been running for 10 years and who has completed several half marathons and the London Marathon. Julie likes to hike and has completed the 3 Peaks Challenge, hiked to Everest base camp, the Annapurna Circuit and Kilimanjaro. She completed the Blenheim half triathlon in 2009, which reinforced her love of running and dislike of bikes. Julie loves to challenge herself physically and mentally and the North Pole Marathon sounded like the ultimate challenge to her and a great way to mark turning 40!

James Danaher (GBR)

A 37 year old sport-loving solicitor from London who has completed 12 marathons and two Ironman triathlons to date. James is attempting to double those tallies this year and is raising money for Kidney Research UK in support of a friend who needs a kidney transplant.

Demelza Farr (AUS)

A huge fan of the outdoors who enjoys battling the elements. Demelza enjoys skiing, having participated in several ski seasons in the French and Swiss alps, and summited Kilimanjaro in 2005. More recently she has completed several 100km races in support of Oxfam in Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and New Zealand (being herself and partner James Aldersons most successful event, finishing second). Having spent the Aussie summer competing in triathlons, Demelza is very nervous about how she'll react to extreme cold but is looking forward to standing on top of the world.

Graham Gillespie (AUS)

A 52-year-old recreational runner completing his 13th marathon at the North Pole. Born in Frankston Australia, Graham is married to a beautiful French lady and lives at Béziers in the south of France. He started running marathons in 2005 for a bit of a challenge after retiring from the military. Since then, in between working in Africa, he has run the Victoria and Niagara Falls marathons, and also the Okinawa marathon in Japan. Graham is hoping to run a marathon under 4 hours one day and to make it into the Grand Slam club before getting too old to enjoy running. In preparation for the North Pole Marathon, he has run the Walt Disney Goofy challenge in Orlando in January, the Sevilla Marathon in Spain in February and the Rome marathon in March. He is hoping to raise money for "Terre Faternitié", a charity thats helps the family's of soldiers killed in action and soldiers wounded in action.

Paul Grealish (IRL)

Polar running specialist who rarely runs marathons outside of polar circles. After completing the North Pole Marathon in 2004, Paul spent six years preparing for the Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2010. A keen snooker player, Paul was recently only one shot off a maximum 147 break: He missed the first red. A late entrant to the North POle Marathon, he could win the damn thing :)!

Glenn Grossman (USA)

A 58-year-old from South Florida, USA, who has completed about 100 marathons and 90 triathlons. Glenn, who loves a challenge, decided about 15 months ago that he wanted to join the North Pole Marathon Grand Slam Club. In 2011, he ran the Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tel Aviv and Landrino Brazil marathons. He is now hoping to complete his desire of joining the Grand Slam this summer in Australia. Glenn ran Antarctica in 2010 only two months after climbing to the base camp of Mt. Everest. A computer consultant by trade, Glenn is dedicating his marathon racing to the memory of his son Gregg who passed away 3½ years ago.

Cees Hardeman (NED)

A 56-year-old financial consultant running his 15th marathon since his first one in 2008. Standing at the start is already above all expectations for Cees and finishing will be a great personal victory.

Zhu Han (CHN)

A Beijing-born Chinese national living in the USA who has completed the National Marathon, Washington D.C. and 9th Seagate Pittsburgh Triathlon. The 38-year-old received a B.S. degree in electronic engineering from Tsinghua University in 1997, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1999 and 2003, respectively. Zhu is currently Assistant Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Houston, Texas, USA.

Jamie Harris (CAN)

Completed 143 marathons to date with a PB of 2:50:15 from 1984. Sixty-five-year-old Jamie is a general practice physician working in a clinic that serves people experiencing homelessness. He is a member of the London Pacers Running Club. Jamie, who ran 15 marathons in 2011 alone, completed his first marathon in 1978. His wife likes to run half-marathons and they have 8 children and 2 grandchildren and a third on the way.

Peter Jensen (DEN)

Completed nine marathons to date on seven different continents, including New York, Buenos Aires, Knysna Forest, Berlin, Copenhagen, Auckland, Portland 3-Bays Marathon and Beijing. The Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2009 completed a series of seven marathons on seven continents for Peter, who also has aspirations to climb the seven summits with 4 to go. He has travelled all over the world to more than 50 countries. The 42-year-old works in the investment management industry for the Nordic region's largest bank, Nordea. He likes biking and has been up and down all the mountains known from the Tour de France and Giro D'Italia. Peter also enjoy hiking and has completed 100 km Dodentocht and 200km Vierdaagse. By participating in the 2012 North Pole Marathon he hopes to be the first Dane to join the Grand Slam Club.

Justin Johanneson (GBR)

A thirty-six year old London ultramarathon runner, triathlete and adventurer whose achievements include the Marathon Des Sables, Ironman Switzerland and summits of Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro. Justin has run several city marathons, ultramarathons and trail runs up to 90km, has cycled the 130km Caledonia Etape and skied the 90km Vasaloppet. In 2011, he was part of the crew of Team Hallin that set a world speed record by rowing across the Atlantic in 31 days 23 hours and 31 minutes. After testing himself at the North Pole he hopes to take a team on expedition to the South Pole.

Rhoda Jones (USA)

A trained physician from Lousiania who has completed numerous marathons in various US states. Included among Rhoda's marathons were the Montana Marathon, Grandma´s Marathon, Nappa Valley Marathon, Detroit Marathon and the Couer D´lene Marathon. Despite some injuries and a busy work schedule, she continues to find time for one of her greatest passions: running. In 2010, Rhoda ran the sister race of the North Pole Marathon - the Antarctic Ice Marathon - and is now very much looking forward to the challenge of the North Pole.

Rene Kaerskov (DEN)

Completed marathons on all seven continents and now hoping to join the North Pole Marathon Grand Slam Club. Rene has previously parachuted over the North Pole and done some mountain climbing, e.g. Kilimanjaro, Shasta and Whitney. He uses marathons as fundraising events for the World Wildlife Foundation and to create awareness on climate change.

Wolfgang Kapf (AUT)

A 58-year old who has finished 25 standard marathons, some of them during 24 hour and 12 hours ultramarathon races. Wolfgang is an appraiser for water- and sewerage-plants, journalist and photographer who lives in Amstetten, a city between Vienna and Salzburg. He is a member of the Seven Continents Club since July 2011, having run the following 26.2-mile races: Wachau (2008), Great Wall and Sydney (2009), Marrakech and Chigaco (2010), Antarctica and Rio de Janeiro (2011). He started running in 2003 for general fitness purposes and to reduce his weight. He now wants to join the North Pole Marathon Grand Slam Club, of course!

Nasos Ktoridis (CYP)

Completed various marathons including Athens and Boston and was recently named Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF. His love of the marathon ideal urged Nasos, through the Athanasios Ktorides Foundation, to organise the first Nicosia Marathon in 2010. He is a solid exponent of the belief, "if you can dream it then you can achieve it". Nasos founded the Commercial Bank of Greece in Cyprus and served for seven years in the position of Executive Vice-Chairman. He is now involved in electricity generation with five power plants of installed capacity 1422 MW connected to the Pan- European electric network worth €1.2 billion. His business philosophy derives from the values of honesty, integrity, altruism, a systematic approach to work and, above all, from highlighting the positive, be this related to his colleagues or projects on which he works. In 2008 he formalised his longstanding altruistic activities with the establishment of a not-for-profit, philanthropic fund, the Athanasios Ktorides Foundation. A recent significant funding project of the Foundation is the building of the “Heroes Photovoltaic Park”, the largest in Cyprus, with 10 MW of power and with a value of €14 million on the land of the University of Cyprus.

Georges Laplanche (FRA)

Completed the Chicago, Paris and Beijing marathons as well as various trail runs and triathlons up to IronMan 70.3 series. Georges will complete the Northern hemisphere part of the Grand Slam at the North Pole Marathon in April. The 50-year-old international businessman, who has worked and lived in many places, is currently based in Beijing where he has conducted most of his North Pole preparation. However, he tries to keep up with training wherever his travels may take him. The married father of three boys also enjoys sailing, scuba and sky diving.

Philippe Laurent (FRA)

A multiple sclerosis sufferer who has been training in an industrial freezer for long hours eack week in preparation for the North Pole Marathon. MS is a disease of the central nervous system, which changes normal life for the sufferer with irreversible consequences. Everything changes very quickly and Philippe found himself "diminished physically and morally" since being diagnosed in 1996 aged 30 years old. He quickly found himself having to use a cane, with urinary problems and serious imbalances. However, he has found that problems of inaccessibility are an additional handicap in his native France. Philippe has thus written a Mobility Pact, calling for (1) Mobility in the City (2) Mobility in the Population (3) Mobility in the School System (4) Mobility via Financial Support (5) Mobility in Professions and Trade (6) Mobility induced by Research. Philippe believes that accessibilty must become a priority in France and he engages in difficult challenges such as the North Pole Marathon to support the themes of his writing. See www.pactedesmobilites.com. Philippe will be accompanied by a friend and physio during the event.

Akannguaq Lennert (GRL)

A two-time World Championships alpine skiier who is particpating in his first marathon. Akannguaq has also participated twice in the Arctic Circle Ski Race, a 160km cross country event over three days. He spends a lot of his free time in mountains and hunting.

Joseph Lim (USA)

An engineer living in New York City, USA, who is finally fulfilling his childhood dream of paying a visit to the North Pole (ever since Santa stopped giving him presents when he was 10 years old!). En route to the North Pole marathon, Joseph has run marathons in all seven continents, including the Athens marathon, New York City marathon, Costa Pacifico maraton, Great Wall marathon, Ironman New Zealand, Antarctic Ice marathon, and Kilimanjaro marathon. He is also running up north to celebrate his 30th year of living on Earth and to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma society.

Luis Alonso Marcos (ESP)

A mountain runner and cyclist whose objective is to complete the North Pole Marathon to the best of his ability. Luis ran the Sahara Marathon in Feburary and after experiencing the heat and sand of the desert he will now experience the cold and ice of the Pole. He has just begun a goal of completing a marathon on all seven continents and at the North Pole. He will carry a few bottles of good wine to celebrate the great experience with all and looks forward to seeing a place as mythical as the North Pole.

Alexandre De Gouyon Matignon (FRA)

A Partner with a Paris Law Firm who has run a number of ultra distance events including the full 4 Deserts series (Gobi, Sahara, Atacama and Antarctica), the Marathon des Sables, the Jungle Marathon and the Comrades Marathon. He has also competed in the Monaco 24 hr and the Basel 24 hr races. Alexandre runs for the Paris Bar Solidarity Fund. He is 55, he is married and has three children.

James Matthews (GBR)

Completed several marathons and the Marathon des Sables.

Andrew Murray (GBR)

An ultramarathon runners who has enjoyed racing in some of the most spectacular locations in the world. Results include first overall in The Sahara Race, The Gobi Challenge, The 6633ultra (120-mile version) and The Scottish Ultra. Other performances include 4th in the 2007 North Pole Marathon, 5th in the New Zealand 24 hr Race and 16th in the Everest Marathon, his first race. In 2011, Andrew ran the ‘scotland2sahara challenge’, an epic 3000-mile run from John O’Groats to the Moroccan Sahara Desert. Andrew is also the director of Marathon Medical Services and will serve as official race doctor at the 2012 North Pole Marathon.

Rebecca Newman (GBR)

A long-time fan of running but whose last marathon was London in 2002. After training at Mountview Theatre School in London, Becky worked in theatre and television for fifteen years. In 2005 she rescued a run-down London pub from demolition and turned it into a mecca for real ale. Awards won for this pub, The Bricklayer’s Arms in Putney, include South-West London Pub of the Year 2006, 2008, 2010 and Greater London Pub of the Year 2007 and 2009. In 2012, it was voted 3rd Best Pub in England by National Geographic Travel. Becky writes about beer for various newspapers and magazines and is currently working on a Welsh cider and perry guide to be published later this year. She has also been learning to brew and she plans to install a brewery at her pub very soon. She is both delighted and terrified to be taking part in the North Pole Marathon and dedicates the race to her five-year-old son, Luke.

Thorak Skifte Nielsen (GRL)

A 31-year-old who likes running, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, long hiking trips, hunting, swimming, mountaineering and functional strength training. Thorak, who is half Greenlandic and half Danish, has worked for the past 4 years training boys between 12-18 years old who have had a difficult start in their life. Thorak's goal with this trip is to complete the race with one of the strongest boys, Lars Samo Tobiassen. Thorak has completed the Arctic Circle Race of 160km, the world's toughest ski race, on six occasions. He has also run several half marathons and lengthy cross-country races of up to 60km.

Hirofumi Ono (JPN)

A recent convert to running, who has completed two stage races of 250km in the Eqyptian Sahara Desert and the Gobi Desert. Hirofumi, who is an Internet sector entrepreneur and venture capitalist in Japan and China, will begin the North Pole Marathon in a Japanese Ninja style outfit.

Enrique Gomez Pamies (ESP)

A sports and travel enthusiast who has run ten marathons, including Barcelona (x5), Sevilla, Valencia, Berlin, Reyjkavik and New York. Enrique anticipates the North Pole Marathon is different to all other marathons and he hopes that this edition is going to be the adventure of his life. He is appreciative of the support of several companies such as Kenwood Iberica and Bestial Wolf http://northpole2012.bestialwolf.com in making the race a reailty for him. He wants to use the mass media of the marathon to make public the work of ONG Pallapupas(hospital clowns): www.pallapupas.org/es.

Carl Philips (USA)

A member of the St. Louis Ultrarunners Group who has made marathons and ultras a part of his life since 2004. The Group comprises nearly 200 ultra runners and is located in the middle of the United States. In the last five years, Carl has run the Great Wall, Polar Circle and Antarctica Marathons. In 2009, he did a 340-mile kayak race on the Missouri River. Last year, he climbed Kilimanjaro. Carl's running pace may have slowed some in recent years, but his desire for adventure has never been greater. After doing two 50K's in snowy and below freezing conditions, he decided it was time to go to the North Pole.

Marcus Pinsker (GER)

Completed numerous marathons and ultramarathons since his debut marathon in Berlin in 1995. Specifically, Marcus has run 9 marathons (Berlin 1995; Munich 2000+2001; Athens 2008+2011; Black Forrest 2009; Rome 2010; Hamburg 2010; Antarctica 2011), 3 ultra-marathons (Biel 100K 2010, SwissAlpineDavos 78K 2010, Kingston ON 6h run 2011), several half-marathons (Kiel 2004, 2006, 2007, Freiburg 2011) and mountain races (Zugspitz extrem mountain race 2009, Inferno half-marathon 2009). His finish rate has been 100%. Marcus has been interested in the history of polar expeditions for many many years. He hopes to join the Grand Slam in 2013. However, he believes that every continental race should be something special, not merely "collecting" another marathon. To this end, he is registered for the Comrades Ultramarathon (Africa) on 3rd June 2012 and also plans to participate in the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2013 for Asia. Marcus has an MD and PhD in Neurosurgery and is Vice-Chairman of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery at the University of Freiburg Medical Center, Germany.

Michel Robitaille (CAN)

Completed 44 marathons to date. Michel, an engineer born in Quebec City, ran his first marathon at the age of 19 and has since run the 42.195km distance in Canada, the USA and one in Costa Rica, the Jungle Man Marathon. He intends to become a member of the Marathon Grand Slam Club by running a marathon in all seven continents and the North Pole. Michel also likes trek, and did the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in October 2011 and plans to climb Kilimanjaro in January 2013.

Frank Rohde (GER)

Completed several marathons including the 2010 Ice Marathon in Antarctica, the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town, and several marathons around Lake Tahoe, California. Frank is also planning to run the Inca Trail Marathon in Peru later this year. To avoid running as much as possible, he also skis, snowboards and mountain bikes. Frank, 39 and a German native, runs the software company Nomis Solutions in San Francisco.

Bob Sheard (GBR)

A founding Partner of Fresh Design and Marketing who is a principal behind UVU clothing company.

James Sinclair (GBR)

A former professional rugby player who is Principal of Finborough School, a small co-educational independent school. The North Pole Marathon is perfect for James as he has always wanted to run a marathon and has always wanted to go to the North Pole. He is involving all the students at the school in his training regime. James is also raising money for local projects run by the Wooden Spoon charity, which helps disadvantaged children. See his blog for more details of his preparation and to donate to his chosen charity: http://blog.finboroughschool.co.uk/node/25.

Greg Swan (AUS)

Finished more than twent-five marathons and ultramarathons in the past two years, covering all seven continents including Antarctica in 2010. Greg has run the Comrades Ultra several times, Phuket, the Inca Trail, Athens, Las Vegas, Washington, New York and many more in native Australia. In 2012, after the North Pole Marathon and finishing the Grand Slam, he will be running Comrades for the 3rd time in a row, as well as trying his first multi-stage run across the Sahara Desert.

Vlado Staresinic (CRO)

A 64-year-old forestry engineer who has been running marathons for 46 years. Vlado has run many hundreds of races from 800 m to 61 km. Included among them are more than 30 marathons including Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Rotterdam, Stockholm, Barcelona, Paris, Florence, Rome, Athens, Rio de Janeiro, Havana, New York, Luxor, Bejing, Sydney, Chicago Antartica and Boston. By participating in the North Pole Marathon, he will meet the conditions for membership of the Grand Slam Marathon Club. Vlado comes from Karlovac, Croatia.

Lars Samo Tobiassen (GRL)

A 14-year-old who has lived for the past two years at Projekt Matu orphanage, where he trains every day year round. Lars has become a very good athlete with a personal motto of “train hard”, “never quit a race!”. He has won 4 gold medals at the Danish cross county championships, a gold medal at the Greenlandic cross country championships race and completed the Arctic Circle Race (160km), known as the world's toughest ski race, on two occasions. Lars has particpated in several half marathons and mountain bike races and enjoys long hiking trips. he will be accompanied by two adults during the North Pole Marathon.

Nick Zafer (AUS)

A half-marathon enthusiast who has run 26 half-marathons to date. Although marathons are not his speciality, Nick has run marathons on six continents - Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America. Hailing from tropical Australia, he has no cold weather or snow experience but nevertheless looks forward to the North Pole.

Marianna Melanie Zaikova (FIN)

A 27-year-old dual Finnish and Russian national who was born in the former Leningrad and moved to Finland at the age of five. Marianna says she is quite inexperienced in extreme sports but wants to challenge her limits over the coming years. She decided to cycle around Finland (approx. 3000 km) two years ago in order to do something different and subsequently ran her first marathon (and became hooked immediately after crossing the finish line). Marianna has now run four additional marathons and when she discovered the 2012 North Pole Marathon would be run on the same day as her birthday (5th April), she felt like destiny was calling her name. She has now set new targets for after the North Pole, including to complete full triathlon, to run 12 marathons in a calendar year and to add her name to the short list of Finns who have completed marathons on all seven continents. Marianna's website is www.mariannazaikova.fi.