Anand Anantharaman (India)
Completed a marathon per month for the past 15 months. Anand hopes to become a member of the Marathon Grand Slam Club by running a marathon all seven continents and the North Pole by year end. Nearing retirement age from the Indian financal industry, running marathons has become his major purpose in life and he has run in many exotic places. In his home town of Navi Mumbai, near Bombay in western India, Anand also organised the world's first Barefoot Half Marathon on 12th December 2010.
More than three hundred runners ran the entire 13.1 miles barefoot and there were no injuries. The race already holds the Guinness World Record for the 'Largest Barefoot Run' and the December 2011 race is set to become an international event. Anand's main occupation is now the promotion of his charity 'Barefoot Runners of India Foundation.'
Bernt Arne Tvedt (Norway)
A 31-year-old who has run several marathons including both the Sahara Marathon and Nijmegenmarch Marathon on two occasions in 2008 and 2009. Bernt has addionally run the Spitsbergen Marathon and a marathon in his native city of Bergen on the west coast of Norway. Bernt likes to run in the many mountain and woodland areas near Bergen. His first adventure was walking the original Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with his friends in 2006. Bernt is trying to raise funds for cancer research at a Bergen hospital via his participation in the North Pole Marathon.
Sue Bradford (Great Britain)
A keen polar enthusiast who enjoys running, mountain biking and horse riding. Sue ran the London marathon 10 years ago - the only occasion she has run the marathon distance - although she has run a couple of half marathons since. The mother of three has always had an interest in the North & South Poles and googled expeditions to find out about joining one. Once she discovered there was a marathon at the North Pole she was hooked to the idea of taking part. A veterinary receptionist, Sue is very excited about the opportunity to run in the event but very nervous about it too. She discovered a few years ago that she has a heart condition and so being able to take part in the North Pole Marathon means even more to her.
John Braun (Luxembourg)
A Geography teacher who has always wanted to stand at the single point of the World from which you only can go South. John is fascinated by the idea of running on the Arctic Ocean. As a sports addict since his youth, he has practiced lots of different disciplines such as skateboarding, snowboarding, paragliding, freeclimbing, alpinisme (Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro), windsurfing and kiting - but endurance sport is his favourite.
Having run several marathons and long distance triathlons such as the Embrunman in the French Alps, John is always looking for a new challenge. He will be raising funds for a realtively new association called Groupes Sportifs Oncologiques (www.sportifsoncologiques.lu) which helps and supports cancer patients through sports activities.
David Brogan (Great Britain) - The Arctic Challengers
Completed a number of marathons, ultra marathons and an Ironman triathlon. David likes a challenge. He ran the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert a few years ago, so going from hot to cold should provide an interesting experience for him. The 41-year-old has never done anything in such a cold environment and is looking forward to both the physical and mental test. David works for Serco Civil Government as a Business Development Director and is running in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Kidney Centre. Please see www.arcticchallengers.com to donate to Great Ormond Street Children's Kidney Centre.
Krishna Prasad Chigurupati (India)
Completed a marathon on each of the seven continents over the past year and now set to join the Grand Slam Club. Krishna, along with his wife Uma, has run the Los Angeles, Safaricom, Australian Outback, Gobi, Marathon de Buenos Aires and Maratona Do Porto marathon events. He also completed the Antarctic Ice Marathon in December. Krishna is founder and Managing Director of Granules India Ltd, a pharmaceutical company in India that sells products to over 55 countries globally. He will join the Grand Slam Club on finishing the North Pole Marathon.
Uma Devi Chigurupati (India)
Completed a marathon on each of the seven continents over the past year and now set to join the Grand Slam Club. Uma, along with her husband Krishna, has run the Los Angeles, Safaricom, Australian Outback, Gobi, Marathon de Buenos Aires and Maratona Do Porto marathon events within 8 months in 2010. She also completed the Antarctic Ice Marathon in December. Uma is Managing Director of KRSMA wineries and vineyards and is actively involved in organising a run in Hyderabad, India, in which 20,000 people take part each year. Aside form running, her hobby is Ikebana (japanese flower arrangement).
Chris Clark (Great Britain) - The Arctic Challengers
A keen sportsman (rugby, running and triathlons) who has completed 5 marathons, 2 Half Iron Man triathlons and a 100km walk along the South Downs way in South England. Chris is running as part of a 5-strong team including his younger brother Nigel, Andre, Ben and David. "I guess it is in the blood as Nigel and I will be doing it together and following in our late father's footsteps, who for his 50th birthday did the Everest Marathon!" The team will be raising money for an incredibly important cause - Great Ormond Street Hospital, and more specifically the development of a new children's kidney centre. Great Ormond Street Hospital relies heavily on charitable donations, and the GOSH Charity needs to raise £10 million to build a much needed new children's kidney centre to replace the current cramped and outdated facilities.
Chris 42, is married with two girls, he lives in Winchester and works for BT in London. Please see www.arcticchallengers.com to donate to Great Ormond Street Children's Kidney Centre.
Nigel Clark (Great Britain) - The Arctic Challengers
An all round sports fan - except for running! Nigel played a lot of rugby up until the age of 30. Since then he has completed the South Downs 100km Trailwalker and "trundled" through three marathons and swore he wouldn't run another. However, he inherited from his late father a passion for seeing the world and for adventure, and couldn't resist a crack at the North Pole Marathon. Persuading his brother to join him and recruiting the rest of the like minded team was the easy part. It's now suddenly dawning on Nigel what the hard part is! Nigel, 38, is married to Becks and has a daughter, Lucy, aged 1 with another baby due on 17 May ("we're hoping it won't come too early!"). He lives in Hampshire but works in London as a partner of Minter Ellison, an Australian law firm. The team are running to raise money for the kidney unit of Great Ormond Street Hospital, a children's hospital in London.
They are also running in the memory of Mari-Simon Cronje, the daughter of team mate Andre, who died in a tragic accident in September 2010. Please see www.arcticchallengers.com to donate to Great Ormond Street Children's Kidney Centre.
Andre Cronje (South Africa) - The Arctic Challengers
A keen sportsman who enjoys keeping fit. Andre has run many marathons and ultra-marathons including the Comrades in South Africa on two occasions. He promised never to run a marathon again, leave aside a marathon in arctic conditions! However, Andre's daughter Mari-Simon was sadly involved in a tragic and fatal accident last September which is the main reason why he has taken on this challenge. His team have dedicated the race to Mari-Simon and are raising money for Great Ormond Street Children's Kidney Centre in memory of his daughter.
Andre lives in Putney with his wife Ancia and son Andre-Pierre and works at UBS as the CEO for its UK Wealth Management business. Please see www.arcticchallengers.com to donate to Great Ormond Street Children's Kidney Centre.
Mark Duncan (South Africa)
A 35-year-old who partakes in multiple sports and adventure activities. Mark completed the PE-EL Challenge in 2000, which is known as 'The Longest, Toughest, Surfski Race in the World (244km, South Africa). He mountain biked the 'World's Most Dangerous Road' in Bolivia in 2005; he became the youngest South African to run a marathon on all seven continents in 2006; and he finished the Coolangatta Gold in 2008, 'The Longest, Toughest, Surf Ironman Race in the World' (Gold Coast, Australia). Starting out as a lifeguard, helicopter rescue swimmer and firefighter led to a job as an offshore survival instructor, which in turn led to working in the Offshore Oil Industry across 4 continents for the last decade.
Mark is now halfway to setting up a semi-retirement career as a helicopter pilot and is pursuing a personal "Global Challenge" which includes running a marathon on all 7 continents ("might as well chuck in the Grand Slam") and kayaking on all five of the World's Oceans, with only the Arctic Ocean remaining. To esnure balance, he is also diving, snowboarding and surfing some of the worlds premier destinations and aiming to hit the world's biggest parties/ party destinations - Ibiza is the missing one on this list.
Sharyn Fitzgerald (Australia)
Completed 8 marathons, 8 long distance cycling events (120-210km), walked the Kokoda Track and climbed Mt Kota Kinabalu. A firm believer in healthy living for a long and active life, Sharyn says "I have a strong family history of diabetes and I know how important it is for me to stay healthy and active to prevent the onset of this debilitating disease". In December 2009 she became the second Australian woman to run the Antarctic Ice Marathon and Sharyn will be completing her ‘polar experience’ by running the North Pole Marathon in the Arctic, thus becoming one of only two Australians to complete this challenge. Dr Sharyn Fitzgerald is a research scientist and ASPREE Regional Manager.
Fernando Gonzalez (Spain)
A mountain racer and ultramarathon trail runner who most recently won the 2010 Everest Challenge Marathon and Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race. Although he concentrates on longer distances and off-road events, Fernando has also run standard marathons on asphalt with a best time of 2:46 in the Marathon Donosti (Basque Country). In total, he has run twelve marathons on four continents, including the Polar Circle Marathon in Greenland in 2009 and the Sahara Marathon in Algeria in 2010. Fernando works in the Xixón Port (Asturias Country) as a longshoreman.
Glenn Harkness (Canada)
A 48-year-old recreational runner who is making his marathon debut. Glenn has completed several ½ marathons and also enjoys swimming on non-running days. He is the Executive Director of Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton, www.kboysandgirlsclub.com. Boys and Girls Clubs provide an invaluable service in the community, reducing financial barriers to physical recreation and conducting other programs devoted to helping kids grow up to be healthy, skilled and successful in life. Glenn is raising funds to support Boys and Girls Clubs active living and nutrition programs. The campaign is called, On Top of the World for Kids, www.ontopoftheworldforkids.ca.
Like most Canadians, Glenn also enjoys hockey, and is Team Canada’s number one fan during International Ice Hockey tournaments. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario and is married to Michelle, with one daughter Kasey.
Ajay Khandelwal (Great Britain)
Christophe Lebrun (France)
Completed more than 50 triathlons and half-marathons and several raids worldwide, including the Foulées de la Soie in China, the Transcappadoce in Turkey, and the Foulées de Samarcande in Uzbekistan. In addition to triathlons, Christophe has climbed several alpine peaks, including Mt Blanc. His first standard marathon was in Burgundy in 2008. Christophe is also fascinated by early polar exploration, "My mother was a bookseller, I fell in books when I was small". He has a passion for the works of writer explorers such as Jean-Louis Etienne, Christine Janin and Mike Horn. At the North Pole, he wants to live and to share his dreams as a child that such a challenge is useful. To this end, he is running the North Pole Marathon to raise money for the charity 'A Chacun son Everest' founded by Christine Janin. The charity attempts to help children affected by cancer through training courses in mountains and the ascent of "their own personal Everest". To donate to his charity, please visit www.achacunsoneverest.com .
You can also follow Christophe's preparation and his commitment at www.polenord2011.blogspot.com. Christophe is a product manager for Nouvelles Images in Paris, which is also his main sponsor.
James Love (Great Britain)
A 40-year-old with a wealth of experience in ultramarathon running. Sequentially, James has completed the Marathon des Sables 2006 (& 2008), Jurassic Coastal Challenge 2007, Jungle Marathon 2007, Thames Meander 2008, Keplar Challenge 2008, Pembrookshire Coastal Challenge 2009, Gobi March 2009, Atacama Crossing 2010, New York Marathon 2010 and Last Desert Antartica 2010. He has also completed the Anglesey coastal path and Isle of Mann coastal path with his son, Harry, who wants to take part in the Marathon des Sables when he is 16.
James is an arable and small livestock farmer from Cheshire and is married to Angela with two sons, Joe aged 14 and Harry aged 13.
George Nichols (USA)
Completed 95 marathons to date, including a marathon in all 50 states and 7 Boston Marathons. George has also finished 7 Ironmans, including Hawaii, and a couple of 50 milers. A former US ranked tennis player, he will have completed a marathon all seven contients when he runs the sister race of the North Pole Marathon - the Antarctic Ice Marathon - in December. The 61-year-old is an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in hip and knee replacements and had his own hip replaced last year. As a result of the new hip he's running slower, but 'just' wants to complete 100 marathons before curtailing his distance running.
Ronan Scully (Ireland)
A 44-year-old keen writer and sports fanatic who is a charity worker with the Irish Humanitarian charity GOAL (www.goal.ie). Ronan will be running his 2nd full marathon after experiencing the Dublin City marathon 7 years ago. His reasons for running the North Pole Marathon are multi-fold: to reach the North Pole; to test his endurance; to become the first County Offaly man to run the North Pole Marathon; to promote a healthy lifestyle in Ireland, especially for people following him on the Irish TV series Operation Transformation and on the John Murray RTE Radio 1 show; to meet nice people and drink a beer with them; to have a nice bedtime story for his wife Jacqui and his 2 daughters Mia and Sophie; and finally to raise funds for GOAL and some other worthy Irish charities.
Ronan is also running in memory of his close friend Donal Rabbitte and other friends and family who helped shape his life. To help Ronan and his chosen charities please go to the following link http://www.mycharity.ie/event/ronan_scullys_northpole_marathon_charity_run__2011/.
Jon Smith (Great Britain)
Never run a marathon before! Jon is running to help raise money for what would hopefully be a lifesaving operation for a young boy called Alex Field who is suffering from a brain tumour. He is also running for his late wife’s cancer research fund, The Lee Smith Foundation. Full information is on his blog polarrunner.wordpress.com. Jon is former CEO, now Executive Vice Chairman, of First Artist Corporation PLC which owns one of the world’s biggest football agencies and the largest theatre marketing businesses in the USA and Europe. He was a junior British athlete "many years ago" and is self-confessed hater of long distances.
Jon is married to Janine with two children Ross and Scott and a new dog called Smudge! You can make donations to Jon's causes at www.virginmoneygiving.com/polarrunner.
Nicholas Swan (Australia)
A contestant who is preparing for the North Pole Marathon in a commercial freezer. Previously a keen runner, Nick completed several marathons in the UK including London. After a 25 year gap, he is now trying to regain his youth and has resumed long distance running, completing the Sydney and Honolulu marathons in the last year. The North Pole marathon presents a daunting challenge for him, thus the freezer training, but also gets him halfway to completing the (running) Grand Slam. Originally from England, Nick has lived in Australia for the past 21 years.
Istvan Toth (Hungary)
A 42 year-old who has run numerous marathons, half-marathons and ultramarathons. Although Istvan has mainly participated in Hungary, he has also run the New York Marathon, the Berlin Marathon - when Haile set the current World Record (or it can be interpreted this way: "I helped Haile to run the WR by just being there"), and the Tokyo, Vienna, and Prague marathons. Istvan is a lifelong football fanatic and after many years of playing the game he took up runing at age 36. His number one priority is to finish the North Pole Marathon before the Antonov returns to bring him back to Spitsbergen. However, he hopes to run an ironman Triathlon soon and ultimately join the Grand Slam Club by running a marathon on all seven continents and at the North Pole.
Istvan has two daughters and works for Prestige Cosmetic Company in human resources and finance management.
Richelle Turner (Australia)
Winner of the 2009 Antarctic Ice Marathon and finisher of 7 marathons on 7 continents. Richelle has run the Canberra, New York, Great Wall of China and Rome marathons as well as the Big Five Marathon at Entabeni Game Reserve in South Africa, the Antarctic Ice Marathon and completing her seven continents in Buenos Aires on 10.10.10. Due to work commitments over the past 4 years, Richelle has had to train in the smog and heat of Jakarta and Suva and looks forward to the challenge of running at the North Pole.
She will join the Grand Slam Club by completing the race.
Aly Van Den Berg (Great Britain)
A 53-year-old running her first marathon! Aly did plenty of sport when younger, but progressed to more gentle activities over time such as yoga, pilates, roller blading and jogging. She has always wanted to go to the North Pole without pulling a sled and she has always wanted to run a marathon, so she chose the North Pole Marathon as it sounded incredible. Aly doesn't take the simple route to anything and her training is going well. She is raising money for two charities: Macmillan Cancer Relief and The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, the latter for her daughter who was born with a liver disease but who now leads a very healthy life. Aly is a sculptor, specialising in stone carving and the occasional bronze pieces.
Peter Van Den Berg (Great Britain)
A marathon debutant. Peter has not yet run a marathon so the challenge of the North Pole looms large in his mind. Training is going well however and the possibility of completing the North Pole adventure at least now seems feasible. He will be raising funds for a Prostate Cancer Research Centre, which is a cause close to his heart as his father is suffering with the desease as do most elderly men. Peter works as a photographer and is joined by wife Aly on the trip.
Ben Walmsley (Great Britain) - The Arctic Challengers
A 39-year-old who has spent his life playing every sport possible. Ben dabbled in triathlons several years ago, ending up doing an Ironman. He has no polar experience ( although a useful snowboarder for an Englishman!) and no marathon experience except for the one that was tagged onto the back end of the Ironman. Hence, he will looking for a PB at the Pole!
Ben is married to Avril with three children, Joe, 7, Finn, 6 and Romilly, 4 and lives in Putney, London. He is a consultant solicitor at London law firm, Spring Law. He is raising money with Chris, Nigel, Andre and David for Great Ormond Street Hospital in London in memory of Mari-Simon Cronje. Please see www.arcticchallengers.com to donate to Great Ormond Street Children's Kidney Centre.