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North Pole Marathon

By competing in the World’s Coolest Marathon, the North Pole Marathon, you can become one of a truly select few to race at the top of the world - at the Geographic North Pole. And you will feel on top of the world when you manage to overcome the extreme sub-zero temperatures to finish 26.2 miles in one of the remotest parts of the planet.

But first you must ask yourself if you have got the nerve and drive to travel to the North Pole and run on Arctic ice floes, with 6 to 12 feet separating you from 12,000 feet of Arctic Ocean? Can you handle the extreme cold? Are you fit enough? Do you want to push yourself to the edge? If the answer is yes, then you are ready for the North Pole Marathon. Join race director Richard Donovan, the first marathoner at both the North and South Poles, in a trip of a lifetime. Remember, this marathon is not run on land - it is run 'on' water, frozen water, in the high Arctic Ocean. You will never have a greater adventure marathon story.

The North Pole Marathon will also feature an exciting team challenge, with the title decided by the cumulative time of a team's first three finishers. Whether comprised from an army division, company, athletics club or charity, your team can enter this contest. This amazing race will additionally offer athletes who have completed a marathon on all seven continents the opportunity of joining the exclusive North Pole Marathon Grand Slam Club by also completing this marathon on the Arctic Ocean.

Don’t let this experience of a lifetime pass you by. Your entry fee is all inclusive -  return flights from Svalbard (Norway) to the North Pole camp; entry to the official North Pole Marathon; helicopter flights in the polar region; the opportunity to stand at the exact Geographic North Pole;  t-shirt, medal, certificate and souvenirs; professional photos and video of the race; and more! 

After registration you will have access to entrant’s information about marathon training tips; sponsorship advice; links to specific, recommended racing gear; a power point slide show; advice on flights; and a competitors' forum.

Highlights of the 2018 North Pole Marathon

Transport to the North Pole

A jet will fly you to an international North Pole Camp called Barneo situated between 89N and 90N, drifting in the high Arctic Ocean. The jet will return to collect you approximately 36-48 hours later. The flight duration is 2½ hours each way. 

The jet is an exceptional medium sized transport aircraft. It belongs to the category of STOL aircrafts: Short Take-Off and Landing aircrafts. Its unique design and a robust fuselage provide for a perfect performance in hostile weather conditions and shorter landing strips. 

Will I get to Stand at the Exact North Pole?

Yes. Assuming we are not by some remote chance floating over 90N when all have finished the race, we will travel by Mi-8 chopper the short distance to the exact Geographic North Pole (90N). Remember that you will be floating on the Arctic Ocean and within minutes we will have moved away from the exact North Pole!

Unique Attributes of the Race

  • Certified 26.2 mile marathon distance (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races)
  • Only certified marathon that is run entirely 'on' water’, the frozen water of the Arctic Ocean
  • Recognised by Guinness World Records as the Northernmost Marathon on Earth
  • Participants are eligible to join the exclusive North Pole Marathon Grand Slam Club by finishing a marathon on each of the seven continents and this race on the Arctic Ocean.

"I've been at the Pole before but this was pleasantly different in that I didn't have to haul a sled there! The race is a unique combination of two things I enjoy: polar challenges and marathon running. It's a great test of fitness and stamina. Well done."
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, UK (Polar Explorer)

"The whole experience of arriving at the top of the world and competing in the marathon was absolutely amazing. Fantastic fellow competitors and tough conditions gave the PizzaExpress team a truly unique adventure at the Pole and the genuine challenge we were looking for." 
Harvey Smyth, UK (CEO PizzaExpress)

"The North Pole Marathon is the most amazing extreme marathon I have ever run. It brought runners to the limits of their endurance and lived up to its billing in every respect, affording athletes a chance to run and feel on top of the world." 
Michael Collins, Ireland (Novelist) 


2020 North Pole Marathon Itinerary

You should plan to arrive in Svalbard (Norway) no later than the afternoon of 7 April. 

April 6 Arrive in Svalbard
April 7 Pre-departure briefings
April 8 Fly to North Pole camp
April 9 North Pole Marathon
April 10 Return to Svalbard
April 11 Depart for home *  

 * Delays can occur with any trip to the North Pole. Please keep this in mind and ideally have some flexibility with your return ticket, ie the ability to change for a small fee or a fully flexible fare.


Getting to Svalbard

You will need to arrange round trip flights from your homeland to a town called Longyearbyen, which is situated on Spitsbergen island (part of the archipelego of Svalbard) off the coast of Norway. There are daily flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen.

Scandinavian Airlines operates the domestic flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen. The airport code for Oslo is OSL and the code for Longyearbyen is LYR.

Please be aware that delays can occur with polar travel and you should ideally have some flexibility with your ticket, e.g. the ability to change for a small fee or full flexibility.

About Svalbard

The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Here you will find one of the world’s largest areas of untouched nature. The largest islands are Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet, Barentøya, Edgeøya, and Prins Karls Forland. The archipelago is governed by Norway and regulated by the Svalbard Treaty. There are multiple settlements on Spitsbergen and Longyearbyen is the Norwegian administrative centre. There is no road connection between the settlements.

Svalbard, the realm of the polar bear, has long fascinated travellers. Unique wildlife, wild nature and old mining towns are all found on the islands.The name Svalbard means "cold coasts" and was first mentioned in Icelandic texts in the 12th century. On Svalbard you will find wild nature, old mines and polar bears. The islands are located between 74° - 81° N and 10° - 35° E. They cover 63,000 square kilometres. Nearly 65 per cent of the surface of Svalbard consists of protected areas, including three nature reserves, six national parks, 15 bird sanctuaries and one geotopical protected area. Norway's largest glacier, Austfonna, is located on Svalbard. Austfonna is the world's third-largest icecap after Antarctic and Greenland, with a glacier front of 200 kilometres.


Weather and Climate

Despite Svalbard being so close to the North Pole, the archipelago has a relatively mild climate compared to other areas at the same latitude. In Longyearbyen, the average temperature ranges from -14°C in winter to 6°C in summer. The lowest temperature was recorded in March 1986 at -46.3°C - the highest temperature was recorded in July 1979 at +21.3°C. In winter, Svalbard often has long periods with temperatures between -20°C and -30°C; add to that a wind-chill factor that seriously compounds the cooling effect of the low temperatures. In summer, fog is not uncommon. In terms of precipitation, Svalbard may be described as an "arctic desert" with annual rain and snowfall at a mere 200 - 300 millimetres. The weather on Svalbard can shift very quickly and local variations are often considerable.


The North Pole Camp

Barneo Ice Camp is the name of the temporary base camp that is put in place for the North Pole Marathon. It is a unique complex on a drifting ice floe in the Arctic Ocean in the immediate proximity of The North Pole. The complex includes a runway and a tent camp constructed for a period of three weeks each April, where it also caters for scientists and explorers.

Barneo Ice Camp owes its exotic name to the first radio operator who broadcasted ‘Barneo’ as their call sign in April 1993. Every year the construction of the ice camp starts with a search for a suitable ice floe in the area between latitudes 88.5 and 89.5 degrees North and longitudes 80 and 130 degrees East. A suitable ice floe must be a combination of a one-year-old ice field about 1.2 to 1.5 metres thick, to construct the runway and an older ice flow over 2metres in thickness for the ice camp to be built on. Fuel and all major equipment, including a tractor for building a runway, are then delivered by air drops.

Runners will share large heated tents, approximately twelve to a tent, at the North Pole Camp. Raised benches will be provided along with sleeping bags and warm air will be pumped into each sleeping tent. Food and drink will be served in a separate kithcen tent.

Please don't expect luxury when camping on an Ocean at the North Pole! We will only be 36-48 hours on the ice if the weather is on our side...and then return to land having successfully finished the marathon and having stood at 90N - the precise Geographic North Pole.


Accommodation in Svalbard

There is a great selection of accommodation in Longyearbyen and we can assist you with pre and post race plans for an overnight stay. It is advisable to book several months in advance, as April is a busy season. 

The Radisson Blu Polar Hotel is the HQ of the North Pole Marathon and registered competitors will have access to reserved rooms via a special booking engine. The Radisson Blu Polar Hotel is a full service 5 Star hotel with wi-fi access throughout, satellite tv, quality restaurant, etc.

A choice of restaurants, souvenir shops, sport shops and bars are available within very short walking distance of the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, Svalbard Hotel, Svalbard Lodge and Basecamp Trapper's Hotel (pre-departure briefings for the North Pole Marathon will occur in the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel). The Spitsbergen Hotel and Mary Ann's Polarigg are about 5-10 minutes walk to the centre of Longyearbyen while the Spitsbergen Guesthouse and Guesthouse 102 are approximately 2km away in the upper part of the Longyear Valley. There is an ATM machine in the centre of Longyearbyen and credit cards are accepted everywhere.



2020 North Pole Marathon

Don't let this experience of a lifetime pass you by. The entry fee to the North Pole Marathon is €16,500 and is all inclusive. A discount of €1,000 is available when payment is made in full upon booking. 


  • Return flights from Svalbard (Norway) to the North Pole camp
  • Accommodation while at the Pole 
  • Entry to the official North Pole Marathon
  • Helicopter flights in the polar region
  • The opportunity to stand at the exact Geographic North Pole
  • Event tshirt
  • Medal, certificate and souvenirs
  • Professional photography of the race 
  • Professional video of the race 
  • Medical support during the trip
  • Emergency medical evacuation insurance  


  • International flights
  • Any costs of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance *

Booking Your Place at the North Pole Marathon

The entry fee is €16,000 or (€15,00 if paying in full upon registration). Alternatively, you can pay by instalments with an initial deposit of € 5,000 to guarantee your place in the field, followed by two further instalments of €5,000 and €6,000 respectively. 

The race field is limited according to aircraft capacity constraints and places are alloted to competitors on a first come first served basis.

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