The North Pole Marathon, which is scheduled to take place on April 8th, will see a record field of 54 competitors from across the globe.
Forty-four men and ten women will contest the certified 26.2 mile marathon event, the world's most northerly marathon, and BBC will be on location to film the race. Kobold expedition watches will be on offer to both male and female winners.
Among the favourites for the men's division is Michael Collins of Ireland who won the Sahara half-marathon in the run-up to this event. An award-winning novelist, Collins beat former world marathon champion Abel Anton in the process. The Irishman has previously run a 2.33 marathon on an island off the Antarctic peninsula.
Meanwhile, the women's division will see recent Antarctic Ice Marathon winner, Wendy MacKinnon of Scotland take on Alison Hamlett of England who finished fourth in the Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans.
Brent Weigner (USA) will contest his third North Pole Marathon and seven others in the race field will seek to join him as members of the global Marathon Grand Slam Club. The Grand Slam Club consists of athletes who have completed a marathon on all seven continents and at the North Pole. Among them, twenty-five year old Mark Sinclair of England is recognised by Guinness World Records as the youngest person to run the distance on all seven continents while Kimi Puntillo (USA) is acknowledged as the first woman to achieve this feat.
The diverse race field will additionally include a father-son duo, a sixty-six year old grandmother, a ten-person corporate team and people making their marathon debut. They can expect wind chill temperatures of -25C or below in addition to 24 hours of daylight at this time of year. Six to twelve feet of ice will separate them from the 12,000 feet of Arctic Ocean below.
Subject to Mother Nature being kind, the race is scheduled to get underway in the early hours of April 8th at the drifting Russian ice base at the North Pole. Competitors will depart from Spitsbergen (Norway) on the previous day and will hope to return within 48 hours. They have the opportunity to not only run the marathon, but to stand at the precise Geographic North Pole in the course of the trip. Mike King, a UK Sports Photographer of the Year recipient, will photograph proceedings.
For more information, including profiles of the participants, see www.npmarathon.com.
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