Byeung Sik Ahn (Korea)
Extreme athlete who has completed numerous marathons, triathlons and ultramarathons, including winning the 2006 Gobi March. Byeung Sik's athletic achievements include the 2003 Jeju Ironman Korea, 2006 Gobi March (China), 2005 & 2006 Sahara Race (Egypt), 2006 Atacama Crossing (Chile), 2007 Last Desert (Antarctica) and 2008 Vietnam Race. He is a 34-year-old oil painter.
Sarah Ames (Germany)
First German woman to complete a marathon on all 7 continents (Chicago Marathon 02, Antarctica Marathon 03, Tierra del Fuego Marathon 05, Ulm Marathon 05, Marrakech Marathon 07, Nagano Marathon 07, Sydney Marathon 07). Sarah has completed 19 marathons to date, including two marathons in Antarctica and one ultramarathon. Sarah was born and raised in Heidelberg, Germany and after studying at the University of Hamburg moved to the U.S. where she now works in Chicago as an attorney in international law. Running along Chicago’s lakefront in winter at temperatures of -20C and windchills down to -35C will be good preparation for the NP Marathon. Sarah hopes to become the first German woman to join the Grand Slam Club.
Margit Andersen (Denmark)
Outdoor enthusiast who enjoys running, skiing, snowboarding, sea kayaking and mountain biking. Margit finished third in the Polar Circle Marathon in Greenland, her only marathon to date. She has also completed some half-marathons, with a PB of 1:34. Margit combines her training with the demands of her work as a dentist and a mother of three. She sees the North Pole Marathon as a great incentive to keep fit during the winter months.
Mark Balsiger (USA)
A two-time Ironman finisher, a Team USA masters member in both triathlon and duathlon, and a competitor in three world championships. A late bloomer in the world of running and triathlon, starting at the age of 49, Mark (now 57) is on the board for the longest, continuously running triathlon series in the world (Southwest Challenge Series) which has brought countless young people into the sport. He has twelve marathons to his credit, including qualifying and running Boston in 2007. His lust for adventure stems from many years as an underwater filmmaker with documentaries from coral reef destruction in the Philippines to following the migration of whales from the Dominican Republic to the icebergs of Davis Strait off Greenland. Just married for the first time last August to Mariana, an accomplished triathlete in her own right, she has been helping Mark train for the North Pole by running the desert sand dunes in snow shoes, accompanied by their Siberian Husky “sled dog”.
Hans-Jacob Berntsen (Norway)
Completed 257 marathons to date as well as numerous ultramarathons and an Ironman. A former special forces soldier, Hans is the most decorated Norwegian soldier in peace time and received the Medal of Honour from the King and Queen of Norway. He has served in numerous countries and taken part in various sporting events across the globe. In addition to his running achievements, Hans has completed 15 triathlons, cycled the Trondheim to Oslo (600km) one-day bike event five times, and is ten-time race walking champion of Norway. Hans will be the first Norwegian to run the North Pole Marathon. He is 66-years-old and lives in the city of Bergen on the west coast of Norway.
Steve Bicknell (Great Britain)
Former dodgeball player and varsity rugby player who also likes rowing. Steve will make his marathon debut at the North Pole Marathon.
Jeremy Clay (Great Britain)
Competing as a tribute to work colleague and friend - Mark Clifford - who took part in the 2006 North Pole Marathon. Tragically, Mark lost his life in a quad bike accident in the UK on the day of the 2007 North Pole Marathon. When a place in the 2008 event was offered as a tribute to Mark, Jeremy took up the challenge. He will run in Mark's memory and also raise funds for Mark's favourite charity - Hope and Homes for Children (HCC). All proceeds from Jeremy's North Pole Marathon endeavour will help provide loving homes for children who have lost their families due to disaster or famine, principally in Eastern Europe & Africa. Jeremy has never run a marathon before and is not keen on the cold! However, he has always participated in sport, mainly soccer, and has completed three London Triathlons and one half-Ironman. These experiences should stand him in good stead at the North Pole as he runs in tribute to a "fantastic and totally crazy man".
Craig Davis (Australia)
Completed a few Olympic distance triathlons (London, Windsor, Sydney) and stretched himself to 2/60/12kms for the Phuket triathlon, but has yet to run a marathon. Craig does, however, have an impressive number of air miles, as most weeks he's running through Heathrow to catch planes for his job as the creative chief of a global advertising agency. In preparation for this event he has updated his will, trained on hotel treadmills on six continents and, when permitted, turned the aircon up to high. Craig is an Australian now living in London with his wife and three kids. He is aiming to complete the 2008 North Pole Marathon before the 2009 North Pole Marathon starts.
Kirsty Devonport (Great Britain)
Completed several marathons and holds a PB of 3:33 for the 26.2-mile distance. The 31-year-old solicitor was looking for something different than a road marathon to raise funds for her favourite charity, Leukaemia Research. On typing "cool marathons" into the google search engine, Kirsty' ssearch revealed the 'world's coolest marathon'. To help prepare for the race, she has taken Gloucester University up on an offer to use its temperature chamber in the weeks prior to the event. In addition to marathons, Kirsty has taken part in triathlons and the Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon ("Arguably Scotland's Toughest One Day Event"). See www.justgiving.com/kirstygoesnorth.
Stuart Driver (Great Britain)
Running the North Pole Marathon as part of 8 marathons in 2008 covering each of the seven continents and the North Pole. Stuart will also complete the world's current northernmost marathon and southernmost marathons in the same by running the Antarctic Ice Marathon in December. Hs global adventure will allow Stuart to show his daughter Megan different parts of the world, and whilst Megan won't be joining Stuart for the North Pole obviously, her term school topic is entitled 'on the move'. Hence, the idea of running a unique marathon on a surface that is actually moving during the race is a great coincidence. His six other marathons this year are / were in Marrakesh in Morocco, Tokyo in Japan, Canberra in Australia, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Berlin in Germany, and New York. Stuart has run at least one marathon every year for 19 years, and the North Pole will be Stuart's 26th marathon in total.
Cathrine Due (Denmark)
Entered the North Pole Marathon as the adventure of her life. Cathrine has run several marathons, with a sub-4 hour PB from Berlin. She has also done some biking and mountain climbing and hiking in various countries including New Zealand and Nepal. Cathrine discovered the North Pole Marathon race by chance when a friend forwarded her the website link. However, it took her only a split second to decide she wanted to run it. Cathrine, who works in the medical device industry as Head of Development at Coloplast Consumer Products, is a mother of four. She is looking forward to running the race with other entusiastic marathoners from around the world.
Peter Ferris (Ireland)
Alison Gill (Great Britain)
Three-time Olympian at rowing - 1988, 92 and 96 Olympic Games - and currently a Business Psychologist and Entrepreneur by profession. Alison retired from Olympic Sport to start her own business. She has a passion for people and understanding the mechanics of how they develop themselves to be the best they can be. Sport is currently Alison's relaxation therapy and yet helps to push her outside of her comfort zone. She was due to compete in the 2007 North Pole Marathon but an illness immediately prior to the event forced her withdrawal. Alison has previously completed an Ironman Triathlon.
Hans-Wilhelm Hamke (Germany)
Completed 35 marathons to date on all seven continents. Hans-Wilhelm's other hobbies include mountaineering and scuba-diving. He has a sub-3 hour marathon PB which he gained in New York a few years ago. Hans is 49-years-old and works for a UK bank. He hopes to join the Marathon Grand Slam Club by completing a marathon at the North Pole in addition to the seven continents.
Dawn Hamlin (USA)
Set a Guinness World Record for the shortest number of days to complete marathon on all seven continents. Dawn's marathon schedule for her world record attempt was Dubai (18-Jan), Marrakech, Morocco (27-Jan), Orlando, Florida (2-Feb), New Zealand Buller Marahon (9-Feb), Valencia, Spain (17-Feb), Trinidad & Tobago (24-Feb) and Antarctica Marathon (King George Island) (5-March). Dawn, aged 28, completed three ultramarathons in 2007, including a 50-mile trail run, as well as previously finishing the Great Wall of China Marathon and Kilimanjaro Marathon. If she finishes, the North Pole Marathon will represent her Grand Slam of global marathons.
Marie Hamren-Larsson (Sweden)
A recreational runner who is looking forward to her first marathon. Marie hopes that her determination will make up for her less than average experience among the race field. Apart from running, Marie loves the outdoors and enjoys mountain biking, snow and water skiing, sailing, scuba diving, and playing tennis. Last year, she completed the Jurassic Coastal Challenge - a 75-mile race over three days - and that gave her enough confidence to attempt the North Pole Marathon. The 29-year-old lives in England and works in the area of financial analysis. She is raising funds for a charity that supports UK servicemen and women injured overseas. See www.justgiving.com/npolemarathon.
Jurgen Heilbock (Germany)
Significant marathon experience with 50 marathons in total completed on every continent and a PB of 2:52. Jürgen also has some ultra-distance running experience and completed the Los Angeles Crest 100-mile race and European 100 km event at Biel, Switzerland. He has additionally cycled the 1200 km Paris-Brest-Paris 2007 in three days and three nights and holds an Ironman PB of 9:54. He has also engaged in long-distance swimming events up to 15km. Jürgen's taking part the North Pole Marathon because he wants to see how cold it really gets at the North Pole. He will join the Marathon Grand Slam Club by running a marathon on all seven continents and at the Pole.
Ted Jackson (Great Britain)
A former opera singer with the royal philharmonic orchestra who has completed the New York and London marathons, the London Triathlon and the Tour de France cycling course. Ted (35) took up running after his father had a triple bypass operation and his brother had a heart attack aged only 35. After dabbling with the New York Marathon and London Tri, he had a "mad idea" of cycling the Tour de France course. He completed all 21 stages in as many days just two weeks ahead of the pros in 2006. Weighing in at 15 stone and climbing all those mountains day after day was a massive achievement and proved to Ted that anything is possible. He is running the North Pole Marathon to raise funds for the Zoe Carss Education Trust and Bright Kid Foundation and hopes to eventually join the Grand Slam Club.
Darius Jurgaitis (Lithuania)
A keen traveller and marathon runner with some twenty races under his belt. He has also stood on the peak of Kilimanjaro and Ararat. Darius often trains with Mija, his dog, an East Siberian laika.
Christer Klingspor (Sweden)
A recreational runner who has completed the Stockholm Marathon twice and trains several days a week. Christer, 50, has worked as a hospital nurse for some 30 years, more recently in pre-hospital ambulance care and now in the hemodialysis treatment unit. He read an article in Runner's World magazine about the North Pole Marathon and immediately felt the urge to participate. Christer has always dreamed of the wildernes, "not a hot jungle in Borneo but the wilderness of the North". A deserted winter wasteland and an open sky appeals to him and he believes that running in such surroundings is a good way to experience them. The father of five is also a song writer and plays electric guitar in a blues rock band. The band practices every Sunday evening and it´s the highlight of the week for him.
Jon O'Shea (Great Britain)
A recent convert to athletics who is running seven marathons on all the continents for the Menginitis Research Foundation. Jon started running 2 years ago after kicking a 20-year smoking habit. He initially decided to just run the London Marathon but it snowballed from there. He has already run Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, leaving Antarctica, Oceania and South America to complete. He hopes to finish the challenge in 2009. With a best half-marathon time of 2:01 and full marathon of 4:44, Jon says he won't be troubling the front runners at the North Pole. Jon is a Tax Partner with Haslers, a firm of accountants in Essex. He suffered from menginitis as a child.
Wayne Pollock (Ireland)
A former Ireland U-21 rugby international but first time marathon runner. Wayne will follow up on his debut at the North Pole Marathon by attempting the Antarctic Ice Marathon & 100k later in the year. Aged 42, Wayne works in the travel business and lives in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. Together with his running colleague, Peter Ferris, Wayne hopes to raise €150k for a cancer charity in the process. He has also set a longer term goal of running 100 marathons on all of the continents.
Charles Sanders (Great Britain)
A consistent sub-3 hour marathon performer with seven marathons completed. Charles has run Dublin, London, Berlin, Rotterdam, Paris, Rome and the Neolithic Marathon across Salisbury Plain where he finished second in 2006. He has a distinct preference for off-road events and has done a KIMM, a LAMM and the Mourne Mountain Marathon. Charles, 42, is the CEO of Oxyol Europe Ltd. By competing at the North Pole, he hopes to raise awareness of the true state of global warming, and the importance of sustainability and social equality.
Daniela Spiridigliozzi (Great Britain)
A serving RAF Officer who has always been a keen runner, cyclist and skiier. Daniela became interested in the North Pole Marathon as something different to do even though she has run only one marathon before. Currently living in Cyprus, she has been training in more hospitable conditions than the Pole and admits to more than one training session being lost to the temptation of a Brandy Sour. Daniela will be running in support of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, a charity dedicated to providing support to those who are serving or who have once served their country but who now find themselves in times of need. See (www.rafbf.org and www.justgiving.com/polarbears).
Ignas Staskevicius (Lithuania)
Completed 27 classic marathons in 16 different countries and also climbed Kilimanjaro (5895m), Mount Ararat (5165m), Chimborazo (highest peak of Ecuador, 6310m) and Aconcagua (6960m). Together with some friends, Ignas founded the Lithuanian adventure club “Milites Lucis” (Warriors of Light) to cater for people looking for adventure travel at least once every year. The Club is also the organiser of the annual Vilnius Marathon, which takes place in September. The primary focus of Ignas is on finishing the marathon and he is less concerned with the finishing time.
Simon Wrenn (Great Britain)
Finished three marathons with a PB of 3.58 and three Ironman races. Simon doesn't describe himself as a serious runner at all. He entered the North Pole Marathon because he thought it looked like fun. It was also a good means for the 31-year-old to raise funds for a local hospice charity.