The Antarctic Ice Marathon takes place at 80 Degrees South, just a few hundred miles from the South Pole at the foot of the Ellsworth Mountains.
This race presents a truly formidable and genuine Antarctic challenge with underfoot conditions comprising snow and ice throughout, an average windchill temperature of -20C, and the possibility of strong Katabatic winds to contend with. Furthermore, the event takes place at an altitude of 700 metres.
Running a marathon is an arduous task. Running on snow, in sub zero temperatures is even more challenging. Participants in the Antarctic Ice Marathon are not required to have previous marathon experience; however, all applicants must be prepared to train properly and should be able to walk or run their race distance very comfortably. Experience in the cold is preferred and will be an asset, but is not essential.
The Antarctic Ice Marathon is the only official marathon run on mainland Antarctica and is a member of the Association of International Marathons & Distance Races (AIMS). It takes place at 80° South, just a few hundred miles from the South Pole in the interior of Antarctica. This is the southernmost marathon on Earth and a unique opportunity to complete a marathon that is truly worthy of the seventh continent. For those who fancy a shorter distance, a half marathon of 13.1 miles (21km) presents a considerable challenge over the same hushed, indomitable terrain. .
Runners will race a groomed and marked course with snowmobile support, aid stations and medical personnel at hand for the duration of each race.
Registration is limited and places are allotted on a first come first served basis only. This event sells out every year. If it's your dream to do the Antarctic Ice Marathon you need to book early to avoid disappointment.
The 4d Itinerary will see you fly by private jet from Punta Arenas, Chile, on 23 November, to the marthon location at Union Glacier, Antarctica. Runners return to Punta Arenas on 26 November.
The Antarctic Ice Marathon includes an option to run the Frozen Continent Half Marathon which is held concurrently with the marathon.
The Antarctic Ice Marathon route encompasses a 25km circuit followed by a 17.2km circuit as depicted below.A time limit of 6 hours may be imposed on the half marathon and 10 hours for the marathon.
The five-day itinerary will see competitors fly by private jet from Punta Arenas, Chile, on 18 November to the marathon location at Union Glacier, Antarctica. A marked course of 42.2km (26.2 miles) is prepared in advance and snowmobile support, aid stations and medical personnel will be at hand for the duration of the race.
21 Nov | Arrive Punta Arenas , Chile
22 Nov | Pre Departure Briefings
23 Nov | Flight to Marathon location at Union Glacier
24 Nov | Antarctic Ice Marathon and Half Marathon
25 Nov | Recovery day
26 Nov | Return flight to Punta Arenas, Chile
27 Nov | Departure home
Every effort will be made to keep to the scheduled departure and return date, but all flights are subject to weather, aircraft serviceability and local conditions.
The Antarctic Ice Marathon camp is operated by logistics partner Adventure Network International. It is located in the southern Ellsworth Mountains on the broad expanse of Union Glacier. The setting is spectacular and the accommodation is comfortable. Majestic peaks rise in all directions and there is little wind, providing a comfortable environment to relax in.
Only Accessible by Air
Union Glacier Camp is only accessible by air and the journey involves a 4¼ hour flight from Punta Arenas, Chile. The wheeled IL-76 aircraft lands on a naturally occurring ice runway on the Union Glacier, where competitors take their first steps in Antarctica. They will then climb aboard a specially adapted van for a 5 mile (8km) ride to camp, where a warm welcome awaits you.
The Only Facility of its Kind
Union Glacier is the only facility of its kind in Antarctica. It is a full service camp operating during the Antarctic summer (November through January). The logistics company also maintains and operates the ice runway, a separate ski way and an efficient logistics hub to provide support to private expeditions and National Antarctic Programs.
Much goes on behind the scenes to ensure the safety and comfort of visitors on the ice. Communications experts keep regular contact with the outside world. Heavy equipment mechanics maintain and operate a fleet of transport and runway maintenance equipment. A meteorologist provides weather information to flight crews. The general support staff do the thousand-and-one tasks that keep camp in tip top shape.
Antarctic Ice Marathon competitors will stay in double walled sleeping tents that are roomy and comfortable. They are well suited to Antarctic conditions and are based on a design used by Shackleton’s Endurance expedition. Each tent houses two guests and each will sleep in a polar sleeping bag provided as part of the race registration costs. The tents are naturally heated by the 24-hour sunlight and interior temperatures range from 25°F – 68°F (4°C - 20°C).
The dining tent is the heart of the camp. It has a full kitchen and dining area and serves as a gathering place for meals, activities and conversation. Competitors will enjoy hearty, fresh-cooked meals while self-serve snacks and beverages are available at any time. The logistics company also regularly fly in fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, meats and a variety of beers and Chilean wines from Punta Arenas, Chile.
Union Glacier has a small clinic staffed by a doctor and medic. They are available to treat minor injuries and illness or in case of a medical emergency. A selection of medications and fundamental equipment for the care and stabilisation of patients is also stocked.
The camp has men's and women's toilets housed in centrally located structures. There is a men's urinal, unisex toilet and women's toilet. All of these facilities are kept well-stocked and spotless by camp staff. Anti-bacterial hand gel is provided for hand cleaning.
All human waste is removed from Union Glacier Camp. Urine is kept separate from faeces for ease of transport. Men's (stand up) and women's (sit down) urinals are provided. Toilet paper is disposed of in the receptacles provided. Urine is collected in large plastic containers (IBC's) and transported to Chile for appropriate disposal. Separate sit down toilets are provided for faeces. This is bagged and also removed from Antarctica for proper disposal in Chile.
Communications and Meteorology
Good communication and weather information are crucial for safe operations. Not surprising then that the Comms facility is the centre of “on ice” operations. Satellite phone, VHF and HF radio maintain regular contact with the logistics company's Punta Arenas office, field parties, aircraft and other bases. It is possible to make outgoing Iridium phone calls from Union Glacier and pre paid phone cards may be purchased at the camp. The on-site meteorologist uses local observations, information from automatic weather stations and satellite imagery to provide wind and weather information to flight crews and expeditions.
Power and Charging
Systems are solar powered to minimise environmental impact and there are limited solar/charging facilities to guests. Competitors will need a 12V DC-DC charger capable of plugging in to a “female” cigarette lighter socket to use the system.
Two specially adapted 4x4 passenger vans are used for excursions around Union Glacier and to shuttle guests to and from the runway. There is also a fleet of specialized vehicles for snow clearing, runway maintenance and ground transportation in Antarctica. These include an industrial snow-blower, several tractors, snowcat, skiway groomer and a number of snowmobiles and sleds. A team of mechanics operate and maintain these machines.
The 2017 registration fee of €16,000 (€15,000 if paying in full upon registration). Alternatively, a deposit of €5,000 is payable upon registration, followed by two further instalments of €5,000 and €6,000 each.
Participants will be flown round-trip from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the Union Glacier camp in the interior of the Antarctic. Competitors will receive accommodation and food for their entire Antarctic trip and entry to their race of choice. Top class photos of each competitor in action will be distributed for personal use, as well as commemorative certificates, medals, t-shirts and patches.
Please note: Weather problems can result in flight re-scheduling and the scheduled duration of the trip could be shortened or lengthened accordingly.
RunFun Travel can assist you with flights to Punta Arenas, accommodation, travel insurance and all additional tours.
*It is mandatory to have emergency medical evacuation insurance for Antarctica, which can be obtained for less than €100 - registered competitors will be advised on the simplest means of obtaining this insurance.
In the event of withdrawal by a particpant, every effort will be made to find a replacement rather than charge any fee. A withdrawing competitor may also directly transfer his/her place to another person. Entries can not be transferred to another year.
It may also be possible to combine your marathon trip with climbing Vinson Massif, the highest mountain in Antarctica, or visiting an Emperor Penguin Colony or the exact Geographic South Pole. There is a very substantial discount in combining these trips compared to registering for them as separate expeditions. Please contact RunFun Travel for details.