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.
The 'World's Coolest Marathon' will have representatives from six continents with Argentina, Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and the USA all represented in the race.
The 2016 race field is comprised of twenty-one women, more than twice the number of women compared to any previous North Pole race.
The temporary North Pole Camp, where the race takes place, is set up just a few days before the marathon occurs. Paratroopers and other experts use long range Russian choppers to find a suitable ice floe to build a runway, and tractors and fuel are parachuted to the location to build a runway.
This year's event is dedicated to the memory of Mike King, a leading international sports photographer who photographed 10 editions of the North Pole Marathon before his untimely death in September 2015. Competitors will each be requested to hold a picture of Mike at the start line and some of his ashes will be dispersed at 90N, the exact Geographic North Pole.
Profiles of the 56 competitors can be viewed at http://www.npmarathon.com/
See below for 25 interesting facts concerning the North Pole Marathon.
UPDATES: Please refer to the event Facebook Page for all updates regarding the race while it is underway at the North Pole - https://www.facebook.com/npmarathon
1. The North Pole Marathon is the northernmost marathon on earth.
2. The race is run 'on' water, the frozen ice floes of the Arctic Ocean.
3. The event is known as the 'world's coolest marathon'.
4. The first North Pole Marathon occurred in 2002 when race organiser, Richard Donovan (IRL), ran the 42.195 km distance alone.
5. The 2016 North Pole Marathon is the 14th edition of the race.
6. An exclusive group of 378 people worldwide, comprising 319 men and 59 women, have completed the North Pole Marathon since the first event in 2002.
7. Thomas Maguire (IRL) ran 3:36:10 hrs in 2007 to set the men's record for the North Pole Marathon.
8. Anne-Marie Flammersfeld (GER) ran 4:52:45 hrs in 2014 to set the women's record for the North Pole Marathon.
9. It's impossible to predict winning times each year as the terrain and weather conditions are extremely variable from one year to the next.
10. The oldest man to complete the North Pole Marathon is Juergen Kuhmley (GER), who was 69-years-old in 2007 when he ran the event.
11. The oldest woman to complete the North Pole Marathon is Kenwynne Barber (GBR), who was 66-years-old in 2006 when she ran the event.
12. There is continuous daylight at the North Pole in April, at the time the marathon is run.
13. Paul Grealish (IRL) has run four North Pole Marathons to date (2004, 2012, 2014, 2015) making his tally the most completed by any one person.
14. Paralympic athlete William Tan (SIN) completed a custom marathon course in a wheelchair at the North Pole in 2007.
15. Two guided blind athletes have successfully completed the North Pole Marathon: Mark Pollock (IRL) in 2004 and Jamie Cuthbertson (GBR) in 2010.
16. The entire North Pole Marathon course floats on top of 14,000 ft of Arctic Ocean.
17. The coldest temperature recorded for the North Pole Marathon race was -41C in 2015.18. In addition to the 378 marathon finishers, a total of 16 people, comprising 8 women and 8 men, have completed a half marathon distance at the North Pole.
19. The race field is strictly limited by plane capacity and available seats are now a sell-out each year between media and competitors.
20. Polar bear guards marshal the route to ensure the safety of runners.
21. Competitors have collectively raised many millions of Euro for charity via their participation in the North Pole Marathon.
22. The course is designed to avoid breaks in the ice, known as 'leads' and is a GPS measured circuit this is repeated several times.
23. The winners of the men's race have come from the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Korea, the Netherlands, Russia and the USA.
24. The winners of the women's race have come from Australia , Canada , Denmark , Germany , Great Britain, Ireland and the USA.
25. The North Pole Marathon is a member of the Association of International Marathons & Distance Races (AIMS).
26. Successful participants are eligible to join the Grand Slam Club by finishing a marathon on each of the 7 continents and at the North Pole.
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.
Czech runner Petr Vabrousek kept his composure to clinch one of the world’s most gruelling sporting challenges, the North Pole Marathon.
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.