As spring nudges its way into April, most of us are looking forward to longer, warmer days and short-sleeved outdoor activities. There is, however, a very hardy group of extreme sports enthusiasts preparing for the grueling sub-zero temperatures that will envelope them during the running of the 11th annual UVU (You versus You) North Pole Marathon on April 9th.
The North Pole Marathon is run over the classic 26.2 miles marathon distance, and the race includes an individual competition with male and female divisions and a team competition for teams of three or more. There will be 24 hours of daylight at the North Pole during race time, so the race is scheduled to commence at midnight, if the conditions are optimal. Forty-eight competitors from 20 countries will take part in the 2013 UVU North Pole Marathon.
This year’s UVU North Pole Marathon will set a record of its own by achieving CarbonFree® Event status in partnership with Carbonfund.org. Race organizer Polar Running Adventures worked with Carbonfund.org to assess the event-related carbon dioxide emissions resulting from attendees’ international flights to the Svalbard, Norway meeting venue, attendee and staff travel from Svalbard to the North Pole camp, all helicopter flight emissions related to race set-up and management, and heating fuel consumed by the accommodation tents provided at the race site.
The overall calculated emissions impact was then offset by an equal investment in reforestation projects in the Brazilian Amazon in order to neutralize the estimated race-related emissions.
The North Pole Marathon race course crosses Arctic ice floes six to twelve feet thick, located at the Geographic North Pole. In fact, not a single section of this marathon crosses over land. Dubbed the 'World's Coolest Marathon' by Runner's World magazine in 2004, and with temperatures hovering around April’s 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, icicles forming on eyelashes, eyebrows and noses will be the least of the competitors’ worries.
The first ever North Pole Marathon was a 'solo' run by Polar Running Adventures’ own Richard Donovan. Richard won the First Ever South Pole Marathon ten weeks previously and became the first marathoner at both poles by completing the North Pole Marathon.
"The melting sea ice of the Arctic Ocean is often cited to be the result of the impact of global warming. Hence, the North Pole Marathon is very conscious of the need to use its race location on the polar ice cap in a positive environmental manner,” explains Richard. “Many of the participants use the event to spread climate change messages to a large global audience, and we have found a perfect partner in Carbonfund.org to make sure our race is CarbonFree®."
In addition to organizing the world's most northerly marathon, Polar Running Adventures also organizes the world's most southerly marathon, the Antarctic Ice Marathon. Working with a network of associate specialists, including the world's foremost polar logistics experts, the company delivers world class events in the most remote parts of the planet. Carbonfund.org admires these hearty competitors and is proud to partner with Polar Running Adventures to help the North Pole Marathon achieve CarbonFree® status.