7 December 2011: Remarkable records were set across the board at the seventh running of the Antarctic Ice Marathon races, the southernmost marathon in the world, over the weekend. More than 40 competitors from 15 countries gathered on the frozen continent to take part in half,-marathon, marathon and ultramarathon races that would test the resolve of the most steely of running enthusiasts.
The events, which are held at Union Glacier camp, are the only official foot races within the Antarctic Circle on the mainland continent. This year’s event was particularly special as it coincided with the Centenary year of Man reaching the South Pole. On 1 December, Clement Thevenet (FRA) dominated the men’s marathon (42.195km) distance when running a record time of 3:47:07. In amazingly bright sunshine and temperatures of -18C, the Frenchman led from start to finish to take the title ahead of the USA’s Alvin Matthews and Matthew Von Ertfelda.
Yvonne Brown (GBR) was a worthy winner of the women’s race in 4:26:10, finishing ahead of two previous North Pole Marathon winners, Emer Dooley (IRL) and Alison Hamlett (GBR). The first three finishers broke the previous female record.
On 2 December, the Antarctic 100km began at 13:00 GMT and it took Thevenet a mere 12:09:06 hrs, another new Antarctic record, to add the title to his marathon victory. It was a colder affair with windchill temperatures dropping down to about -25C and the prolonged exposure causing two competitors , including Thevenet, requiring IV fluids after the race. Former winner, Mark de Keyser (BEL) was a very close second with Dave Deany (AUS) third.
To round off the record setting weekend, Richard Donovan (IRL) ran an epic 100 miles in a day (24:35:02 hrs) to coincide with the Centenary year celebrations. Darkness was not a problem for the Irishman as there are 24 hours of daylight in the interior of the Antarctic at this time of year.
Registration is now open for next year's Antarctic Ice Marathon & 100k trip, which is scheduled to occur from 19th - 23rd November 2012. For full details, see www.icemarathon.com.
1. Clement Thevenet (FRA) - 3:47:07 hrs
2. Alvin Matthews (USA) - 4:38:19 hrs
3. Matthew Von Ertfelda (USA) - 4:52:58 hrs
4. Simon Abrahams (GBR) - 4:56:49 hrs
4. Joey McBreary (USA) - 4:56:49 hrs
6. Krzysztof Szachna (POL) - 5:02:50 hrs
7. Dave Kennedy (USA) - 5:06:42 hrs
8. Errol Damelin (GBR) - 5:14:30 hrs
9. Taco Jongman (NED) - 5:23:00 hrs
10. Doug Carrell (USA) - 5:44:26 hrs
11. Christopher Duff (USA) - 5:53:58 hrs
12. Rusty Berther (AUS) - 6:02:12 hrs
13. Ray Miller (USA) - 6:16:29 hrs
14. Riet Van de Velde (BEL) - 6:28:31 hrs
15. Ladislav Simek (CZE) - 6:29:52 hrs
16. Michael Parrott (CAN) - 6:39:06 hrs
17. Michael Bartl (GER) - 6:51:46 hrs
18. Jeremy Cashen (NZL) - 7:28:10
19. Tom Cashen (NZL) - 7:28:11 hrs
20. Mark Kooijman (PHI) - 7:31:18 hrs
21. Don Kern (USA) - 7:53:38 hrs
22. Sebastian Armenault (ARG) - 8:09:41 hrs
23. Anand Anantharaman (IND) - 8:45:40 hrs
* George Nichols (USA) ran a marathon on 2 December in 8:30:12 hrs
1. Yvonne Brown (GBR) - 4:26:10 hrs
2. Emer Dooley (IRL) - 4:41:30 hrs
3. Alison Hamlett (GBR)- 4:46:39
4. Elizabeth Chapman (GBR) - 5:43:57 hrs
5. Sarah Ames (GER)- 6:35:58
6. Mala Honnatti (IND)- 7:11:26
7. Sophie Woo (NED) - 7:31:18 hrs
8. Rebecca Frechette (USA)- 8:43:50
9. Linh Huynh (CAN)- 8:44:53
* Bonnie Bailey (USA) ran a marathon on 2 December in 8:30:12 hrs
ANTARCTIC 100 KM
1. Clement Thevenet (FRA) - 12:09:06 hrs
2. Marc de Keyser (BEL) - 12:14:18 hrs
3. Dave Deany (AUS) - 13:48:14 hrs
4. Brent Weigner (USA) - 15:41:04 hrs
5. Matthew Von Ertfelda (USA) - 20:03:42 hrs
100 MILE POLAR CENTENARY RUN
1. Richard Donovan (IRL) - 24:35:02 hrs
WHITE CONTINENT HALF-MARATHON
1. Chad Bruce (CAN) - 2:30.32 hrs
2. Matt Kirby (GBR) - 3:01:01 hrs
Richard Donovan, 42, from Galway in the west of Ireland, began his challenge in numbing sub-zero temperatures in Antarctica on January 31 and finished in Sydney just five days, nine hours and eight minutes later.
"What he did was staggering, quite remarkable," John O'Shea, founder and chief executive of third world charity Goal, told AFP, adding that the money raised would help the charity's work in Sudan's Darfur region.
"It is extraordinary given the conditions and the time scale involved. I can't believe he managed it. I am in awe of what he achieved to bring attention to the tragedy of Dafur and to alleviate the suffering there.
After starting in the Antarctic, Mr Donovan got on a plane to South Africa and completed a marathon in Cape Town. He then flew to Dubai and ran another one, completing three marathons in two days.
Braving snow storms that shut down London on Monday, Mr Donovan completed his fourth marathon there before going to Toronto in Canada for his fifth. Then it was on to Chile for a Santiago marathon and finally to Australia.
Over 129 hours, Mr Donovan endured extreme temperatures and only slept in the economy class seats of airplanes between continents, said Mr O'Shea.
In total he ran 183 miles and flew tens of thousands of miles.
"It brings into focus how little the world does and how much one man does for Dafur. He feels almost as strongly as I do about the lack of an adequate international response in Dafur where 400,000 people have died," Mr O'Shea said.
Goal has been working in Sudan since 1985 and spent about 18 million euros (£15.7 million) there on aid in 2007.
In 2002, Mr Donovan became the first person in the world to run a marathon at both the North and South Poles.
He now organises the northernmost marathon on earth, the North Pole Marathon, and the southernmost marathon on earth, the Antarctic Ice Marathon.
Mr Donovan has won the South Pole Marathon, the Inca Trail Marathon, the Everest Challenge Marathon, the Antarctic 100km and the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race.