(Reuters) - Wrapped warmly against the cold, a group of runners set off for the barren white landscape for one very cool race - the North Pole Marathon.
Some 50 running enthusiasts from around the world braved harsh conditions for Saturday’s 42.2-km (26.2 miles) race on the frozen ice of the Arctic Ocean, staged at the Barneo Ice Camp.
Wearing balaclavas, goggles, gloves and layers of thermal clothing, participants had to complete 12 laps of a course lined with markers. A refreshment tent was on hand for those needing hot drinks, snacks and to warm up.
As well as the cold, runners were also faced with soft snow and small ice pressure ridges.
Polish runner Piotr Suchenia crossed the line first with a time of 4 hours 6 minutes 34 seconds, while for the women’s race Frederique Laurent from France triumphed with a time of 6 hours 21 minutes 3 seconds.
“It was probably mentally the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, physically it wasn’t the worst, I just couldn’t get a rhythm on the soft snow,” runner Gareth Evans said.
“(I) wouldn’t change it for the world, it’s a very unique place and delighted to be a part of it but a beach in Miami sounds good right now.”
Writing by Reuters Television and Marie-Louise Gumuchian, editing by Pritha Sarkar