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.
This year's race was due to occur on 9th April, but all North Pole Marathon expeditions were delayed due to cracks in the ice runway as a result of unusual Arctic Ocean currents in the region. Once safety was guaranteed, the 'world's coolest marathon' occurred on Saturday 16th April at 14:00 GMT.
Temperature on race day was -22C with a wind chill bringing the effective temperature to -35C. The incredibly scenic course essentially involved two sections: 32 km in relatively solid underfoot conditions, but a final 10km that incorporated deep, loose snow among spectacular ice hillocks.
During the first 32km, the lead in the men's race altered between Kenichi Okazaki (JPN), Scott Kerrison (AUS) and Colin Wright (AUS). However, conditions in the final 10km proved decisive in determining the outcome of the race , with Dorn Wenninger (USA) negotiating the tough conditions best of all to come through the race field take the title in 5:17:33 hrs. Colin Wright (AUS), a veteran of the Antarctic Ice Marathon and Volcano Marathon, secured second place with Russian paratrooper Marat Yusupov in third position.
Alexandra Hanson (USA) was the early leader in the women's race, ahead of Gulzhamal DeFelice (RUS/USA) and Adjoa Smalls-Mantey (USA). By half-way, DeFelice took control of the race, with Hanson and Smalls-Mantey, both veterans of the Antarctic Ice Marathon, in second and third places, respectively. However, the race positions would alter further in the final quarter, with DeFelice holidng on to become the victor in a time of 5:50:12 hrs ahead of Hanson (6:09:50 hrs), but Anna Maria Szetela (POL) progressing strongly to take third place.
A team of Russian paratroopers took the overall North Pole Marathon team title.
In a remarkable achievement, all 47 competitors who started the race also finished it successfully. In addition, the following 9 competitors became members of the Grand Slam Club by completing marathons on all 7 continents and at the North Pole -
Men: Doug White (USA), Tze Boon Ong (SIN), Xibei Li (CHN), Yu Phing Ong (SIN) and William Thomas (USA).
Women: Lise Gronskar (NOR), Gloria Lau (SIN), Adjoa Smalls-Mantey (USA) and Sasie Smittipatana (THA).
Also of note, Bruno Louges (FRA), who is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, completed the marathon; Michel Ribet (FRA/USA), a vastly experienced marathon and ultra runner, became the oldest competitor ever to finish the race at 78 years old; and Paul Grealish (IRL) completed a record fifth North Pole Marathon.
The 2016 North Pole Marathon was dedicated to Mike King, a top UK sports photographer who documented 10 editions of the race before his untimely death last year. Competitors each held a photo of Mike at the start line.
Contact: Richard Donovan, Race Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
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