Saturday, January 21, 2012

Antarctic Marathon

Torsten and I got up early this morning to walk out past Scott Base onto the Ross Ice Shelf to watch Carlos, who staying at the South Pole all winter for IceCube, run in the marathon.

We didn't have much information, only that the race started at 9AM at mile marker 1. Pegasus airfield is a bit more than 14 miles from the edge of the ice shelf, so the marathon runners went from mile 1 to mile 14, then turned around and ran back.
There weren't any shuttles and we didn't want to miss the start of the race, so we left at around 8:20AM to walk the 2.5 miles to the start of the race. When we arrived, nobody else was around.
Eventually, the race coordinator and volunteers showed up and set up a table with drinks and snacks for the racers.
We watched Ivan make its way slowly down the mountain and over the ice, until it eventually stopped nearby and let out all the marathon runners -- the half marathoners stayed on Ivan to go to the halfway mark at Pegasus airfield.
After milling about for a while, the race coordinator yelled for everyone to line up and then about 15 seconds later, shouted "Ready, set, go" and the marathon started! Carlos is the runner in the front wearing yellow.
There were also skate-skiers competing, along with a four person team of New Zealanders pulling a sled.
A few people were getting a van ride to the halfway point, and they let us ride along. On the way, we spotted Carlos a minute or two behind the front runner.
The van travels MUCH faster than Ivan, so even with a couple of stops along the way we arrived at Pegasus just as Ivan was pulling up to let out the half-marathoners. Note the planes in the background.
This time the start of the race was a bit less abrupt, so I was able to get a picture of everyone lined up waiting to start.
The scenery for the run was pretty awesome, even though it's probably a bit monotonous when you stare at it for 3-4 hours.
A few people had set up a grill at the halfway point. They were cooking burgers and brats, and had beer, fruit, chips, and cheese available. While I was there, the Kiwi sled team was taking a break, enjoying the couch.

When the van stopped back at Mile 1, I walked back to McMurdo and had brunch. Torsten stayed until the end and said that Carlos came in second. The runners all got to enjoy a dip in the Scott Base ice pool, and then headed back to McMurdo for massages.


Elaine Glowacki said...

holy cow.

thelasergal said...

Awesome Dave!

John said...

Carlos came in second!?! Awesome. Out of how many runners?

Dave Glowacki said...

I think someone said there were 60 people, but some were skiers and some were half marathoners. I'd guess maybe 20-25 were runners.