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Czech runner Petr Vabrousek kept his composure to clinch one of the world’s most gruelling sporting challenges, the North Pole Marathon.
The 42-year-old completed the 42.2 km run in a winning time of four hours, 22 minutes and 24 seconds while Australia’s Heather Hawkins reigned supreme in the women’s event.
The race certainly lived up to its trademark name as the World's Coolest Marathon with temperatures of -30C at the outset. With a wind speed of 5mps / 18km/hr, a wind chill of -41C was recorded during the race.
Forty-three participants from five continents and twenty-one countries were represented in the event.
Former world marathon champion, Rob de Castella, fired the starting gun and the race was underway at 1215 hrs GMT on 11th April. Although underfoot conditions were reasonable at the outset, the course deteriorated as athletes repeated the approximate 5 km loops. Armed polar bear guards kept a close eye on proceedings.
Vabrousek, the 2011 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Cup champion and a veteran of 152 Ironman distance triathlons, had previously won both the Antarctic Ice Marathon and Antarctic 100 in 2013. His talent and experience was showing one-third of the way through the race as he led comfortably from Douglas Wilson (AUS), Daniel Palko (SVK), Martin Molsater (NOR), and Jon Brand (AUS).
Vabrousek's eventual winning time was 4:22:24 hrs, ahead of Doug Wilson (AUS) in second place in a time of 5:01:38 hrs and Daniel Palko (SVK) third in 5:08:56 hrs.
There was a dramatic finish in the women's competition when Heather Hawkins (AUS) overhauled Alice Burch (GBR) in the final few miles to take the title in a time of 6:57:39 hrs. Burch finished in a time of 7:04:42 hrs, just ahead of third place finisher Jennifer Cheung (CHN / HKG) in 7:06:06 hrs.
Richard Donovan, Race Director
Full results are posted on the official website.
The biggest field in the sixteen-year history of the race took part in 2018 FWD North Pole Marathon, the world's coolest marathon.
The race started at 2230 hrs (Norwegian time) on April 8th under sunny skies and a temperature of -31 degs Celsius.
Dorn Wenninger (USA) and Gulzhamal DeFelice (RUS/USA) won the men's and women's titles, respectively, at the 2016 North Pole Marathon. Russian Paratroopers took the team title.
The annual North Pole Marathon is scheduled to occur on April 9th when a record 56 competitors from 21 countries will take part in the 2016 race.
Forty-five competitors from twenty-two countries and five continents are scheduled to take part in the UVU North Pole Marathon on 9th April 2015.
The 2014 UVU North Pole Marathon was recently awarded 'Carbon Free' status from CarbonFund.org.