Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

McMurdo Run and Ski Marathon

  After a week of cold weather, high winds and intermittent snow, it was unclear if the 13th annual marathon would happen this year.  I went to bed on Saturday night with winds howling past my window.  It did not look promising.  I awoke on Sunday morning to brilliant blue skies,  no wind and warm temperatures.  The race was on!

The rec department at McMurdo puts on the annual marathon between Pegasus runway and Scott base.  They GPS the route to ensure that it is exactly 26.2 miles.  There is also an option to do a 1/2 marathon starting at Pegasus and ending at Scott base. 

My goal when I first arrived at McMurdo was to skate ski the complete marathon.  However, my schedule this summer has really only allowed skate ski training on Sundays.   It is usually at least a 4 hour endeavor to walk to Scott Base, ski and return to McMurdo.  I decided to do the 1/2 marathon.  There was a slight set back when I injured my elbow two weeks ago, but I healed quickly enough to compete.  Jordan Watson and I have been skiing together on our free days so we entered the 1/2 marathon as a team.  It was a blast and fun to complete it with a great friend!!  It has to go down as the most gorgeous marathon on the planet. 

Thank you to all the marathon photographers who provided the following images!  There were 41 volunteers for this race with 52 participants.  It took a lot of community involvement and was a huge success.

We were driven to the start line by Ivan the Terra Bus.  No Antarctic race would be complete without a ride in this iconic vehicle.

The marathoners were dropped at the start/finish line with a start time of fifteen minutes after drop off.  We stayed on Ivan for a slow ride to Pegasus runway where the 1/2 started. 

It was a mass start with the Royal Society mountain range in the background.  It was a warm day.  Only one person opted to start with shorts, but multiple people finished with tank tops.

We skied past the first rest stop at mile 2.  There were four rest areas spread out across the thirteen mile course.  They provided water, Raro (a juice mix) and a variety of snacks.  At mile 8, we stopped for a rest.  The volunteers at this stop were prepared for the eventT  With tons of food and couches, I was tempted to stay for a while. 

And, had they told me there were Emperor Penguins nearby, I would have stayed!  Just behind these couches was a pile of snow.  Three Emperors were enjoying the race from the other side.

More Penguin (and skiing) photos can be found in the slide show at the end of this post.

As we continued our ski, was started passing marathon runners heading in the opposite direction. 

And finally made it to the finish! 

Since the weather was warm we cheered on the 1/2 marathon and marathon finishers. 

It was a great day!  And fun to be involved in the McMurdo marathon tradition. 

You can see more photos in the following slide show.  It will include the photos above as well.  To stop or slow down the photos, just move your cursor over the slides.  Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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2 responses

  1. Kressley Gunn

    Wow – congratulations on achieving the half marathon with a bunged up elbow!! The photos are great – I love the pic of you skiing in front of Mt Discovery – total awesomeness!!! Pity you didn’t see the emporers…

    January 18, 2011 at 9:10 AM

  2. mom

    what a memory! Amazing backdrop to the marathon and amazing spectators! Did you get a sticker for your water bottle??!

    January 18, 2011 at 5:41 PM

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