Overall Rating
Overall Rating (6 Reviews)
5
(6 Ratings)(6 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
4.2
SWAG
3
The 18th Antarctica Marathon & Half Marathon is scheduled in two waves: March 10 and March 11, 2017. While exploring this most pristine corner of the planet, you will come face-to-face with Antarctic gems such as icebergs, penguins, seals and whales. Historians and scientists will provide lectures on board ship … MORE
Local Weather (Mar 10)
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H (°C) 3 1 2 2 -0
L (°C) 0 0 -3 1 -3
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Recent reviews

    The most improbable marathon I ran, and best trip of my life. An unforgettable experience and encounters with runners of all nationalities with special profiles and trajectories. Not to forget … MORE

    The most improbable marathon I ran, and best trip of my life.
    An unforgettable experience and encounters with runners of all nationalities with special profiles and trajectories.
    Not to forget the proximity with unspoiled nature.
    A race and a trip out of time.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
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    Gruma FIRST-TIMER '13

    Tips: Bring a brightly coloured jacket (top layer). You need to be wearing colour to look good in the race day pictures against the cold white and grey background. Purchase … MORE

    Tips:
    Bring a brightly coloured jacket (top layer). You need to be wearing colour to look good in the race day pictures against the cold white and grey background.

    Purchase reusable containers for your gels (check out: humangear – GoToobs)

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    rfrimmel FIRST-TIMER '13

    This is a tough course with ice and hills. The temperature is not the big issue here. It's cold but not sub zero. Marathon Tours does an excellent job putting … MORE

    This is a tough course with ice and hills. The temperature is not the big issue here. It’s cold but not sub zero. Marathon Tours does an excellent job putting this race on. I was signed up for the full but ended up doing the half because of blister on foot. The trip over to Antarctica and back can be an experience. Checkout the Marathon Tours website for past videos of the trips to get an idea of the trip. This race and the entire trip is well worth it. I’m going back in 2017

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Donnald69 FIRST-TIMER '13

    A once in a lifetime experience. After a 2 day boat ride across the Drake passage, which might have been the most difficult part of the race, day 3 finds … MORE

    A once in a lifetime experience. After a 2 day boat ride across the Drake passage, which might have been the most difficult part of the race, day 3 finds you landing on King George island, where you are guaranteed to see (during the marathon) the first of many, many penguins. The race is run among the Chilean, Chinese and Russian scientific research stations and a number of their staff also run. The best part of the marathon trip to me was the friendships made. After 10 days on a Russian research vessel, talking about running with other runners, life cannot get much better! After the marathon, you then have another week at sea, exploring the frozen continent where you most certainly will see whales, more penguins and fur seals. A must do run for the adventurous marathoner!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    MKullander FIRST-TIMER '13

    A trip of a lifetime! The course is not terribly difficult unless there is snow and ice..lots of slipping and sliding. It is a incredible unique location and the hardest … MORE

    A trip of a lifetime! The course is not terribly difficult unless there is snow and ice..lots of slipping and sliding. It is a incredible unique location and the hardest part of the race was getting in/out of the Zodiac and water gear before the race and getting chilled at the end. The scenery and animals (penguins and seal) was incredible!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    1

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    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '13

    The simplest, most honest way I can think to bottom-line the Antarctica Marathon experience would be “once in a lifetime”. Not only was the race itself unique and surreal, but … MORE

    The simplest, most honest way I can think to bottom-line the Antarctica Marathon experience would be “once in a lifetime”. Not only was the race itself unique and surreal, but my fellow travelers were some of the most passionate and accomplished runners you could ever hope to meet. If you’re a running enthusiast with the time and resources, do whatever you can to get yourself to Antarctica, before climate change transforms it into an exotic island destination devoid of ice and snow. But do so with an open mind… if you’re a compulsive type-A personality who hates surprises, then you might want to skip this race. Sensible expectations will go a long way toward optimizing your Antarctica Marathon experience.

    ITINERARY: The Antarctica Marathon was the brainchild of Thom Gilligan, the founder of Marathon Tours & Travel who produces the race. Our adventure began with a 4-day stay in Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina, followed by a short(er) plane flight to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world at the tip of South America. In Ushuaia we boarded the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, the Russian ship on which we’d be making the voyage to Antarctica, a voyage that would total 11 days – 3 outbound, 5 on the White Continent and 3 inbound. Two of those days in each direction would belong to the Drake Passage, the expanse of ocean between South America and Antarctica that is reputed to be the nastiest and most discombobulating stretch of open water in the world. Luckily both the Transderm Scopolamine patch worn on the outbound voyage and the Dramamine we substituted on the return trip did an admirable job of staving off motion sickness.

    The marathon (and half marathon) were run the day after we sighted land and immediately after we all stepped ashore for the first time in 3-1/2 days. Gentoo penguins frolicked along the shore and joined runners on the course (see videos). But despite being every runner’s central focus, the race itself wasn’t the highlight of the trip – that distinction belonged to the continent. In the three days following the race, we stashed our running shoes and immersed ourselves in Antarctica’s nature porn, in the process earning a face-to-face appreciation for what is arguably the most breathtakingly pristine setting on the planet. I’ve yet to spend time on a space station, but Antarctica certainly feels like the last frontier. Check out the photos and videos on this page and on my blog to get a better sense for the landscape… though when it comes to capturing and conveying the Antarctic experience, nothing compares to being there yourself.

    WEATHER & GEAR: Antarctica is the coldest, highest, driest, darkest and windiest continent on Earth. But despite the cold, it’s that last variable – the unpredictably brutal winds – that are the real wild card, and in this respect our diverse group of 92 runners (plus 8 spectators) lucked out. Yes it was cold (though relatively balmy at -5C/23F), and after the race both the marathon winner and runner-up made brief visits to the Russian medical tent for hypothermia. But the winds were conspicuously subdued on race day, and I found myself able to shed my face protection early in the race. Though I still felt like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man running 26.2 miles in three upper-body layers (wool base layer, synthetic mid-layer, wind- and waterproof outer jacket) and two lower-body layers (fleece-lined tights and lightweight running pants).

    COURSE: This wasn’t the most challenging race I’ve run, but it was certainly challenging enough. The hilly course consisted of two different out-and-backs (past several research bases) that marathoners ran three times each, with the start/finish line separating the two. Footing was precarious, with patches of snow and ice blanketing the course and causing many runners to fall at least once. Preparation-wise it’s important to bear in mind that with its precarious footing, this is a bona fide trail race. Then again, if you want to run in Antarctica it’s not as though you have a slew of choices – you can’t just opt for the road version of the race.

    PRODUCTION: Thom and his crew did a commendable job of orchestrating all aspects of the marathon – their race-day execution, under some of the most challenging weather conditions any race director could face, was nearly flawless. But in the end, the real stars of the show were the highly competent, experienced and entertaining crew of One Ocean Expeditions who, along with the largely unseen Russian crew, ensured our safety and well-being from the moment we stepped aboard the ship to the moment we again set foot in Ushuaia 11 nostalgic days later.

    SWAG: My only real critique of the Antarctica Marathon experience (and it’s a small one) would be that the finisher’s medal should vary from year to year, and should always include the year of the race (or barring that, complementary engraving on the back of the medal that includes name, finish time and year). There’s no excuse for the fact that as of the 2013 edition, the Antarctica Marathon medal had remained the same for at least six straight years (dating back to the image I found online of the same medal from the 2008 race). On the other hand, age-group awards included personally engraved plaques sent to the winners after the trip, so that was a nice and much-appreciated touch. That said, if you’re running a marathon in Antarctica, the swag – as long as it reads “Antarctica” – probably isn’t top priority.

    For a (much) more detailed narrative of the Antarctica experience, check out my blog post at http://blisterscrampsheaves.com/2013/04/28/antarctica-marathon-2013-race-report-act-1/.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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