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North Pole Marathon
at the Top
of the World
The marathon is run on the frozen Arctic ice floes with only about 14 feet of ice separating the runners from 12,000 feet (3650 meters) of icy Arctic Ocean. This is the only marathon race in the world that is not on any land.
The marathon took place on April 17, 2003. Running was very difficult over soft and loose snow and in temperatures with a wind chill of -29°C (-21°F).
As the marathoners struggled over the ice, through the snow and against the biting cold, a support helicopter stood by - constantly heating its engines while waiting for them to finish. The running times were much slower than a regular marathon because of the very difficult terrain and biting wind (For comparison, this year's Boston Marathon winner had a time of 2:10:11) and the extended time resulted in a fuel shortage problem for the chopper. Therefore, after the first runners finished the course, the distances of the others were marked and they were flown back to base camp - where they finished running the required distances.