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The Ice Marathon

The only marathon on mainland Antarctica

The Ice Marathon

Challenge yourself on a marathon of intense proportions and world-class expertise, an event truly worthy of the seventh Continent. Antarctica awaits - are you up for the challenge? 

Adventure marathoners and ultra athletes are always looking for the next big challenge. It could be a remote desert marathon, a high altitude mountain marathon or a jungle marathon. Mainland Antarctica represents the last great wilderness to be conquered. And now adventure athletes like you can do it.

The Ice Marathon is the only marathon run on mainland Antarctica. It takes place at 80 South, just a few hundred miles from the South Pole in the interior of Antarctica. This is the southernmost marathon on Earth and a unique opportunity to complete a marathon that is truly worthy of the seventh continent. For those who fancy a shorter distance, the 80 South Half Marathon of 13.1 miles (21km) presents a considerable challenge over the same hushed, indomitable terrain. For the toughest endurance athletes, the Antarctic 62.1 miles (100km) Ultra Race completes the amazing line-up of running events.

Each event presents a truly formidable and genuine Antarctic challenge with snow and ice underfoot throughout, an average windchill temperature of -4F (–20C), the possibility of strong katabatic winds, and an average course elevation of 3,000 feet (900m). Runners will race a groomed and marked course with snowmobile support, aid stations and medical personnel at hand for the duration of each race.

Accommodations

Union Glacier Camp
The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming at our main Antarctic camp at Union Glacier. You’ll find roomy, double occupancy sleeping tents; a spacious dining hall; fresh delicious meals; and a spectacular setting. You’ll be surprised how comfortable Antarctica can be! Our full-service camp is designed for Antarctic conditions and with best environmental practices in mind. It operates during the Antarctic summer (November through January) and is dismantled at the end of each season.

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Activity Level

Strenuous
Strenuous

Strenuous trips include skiing, climbing, and trekking trips where you spend several days or more in remote field camps and you are active for 6-8 hours a day over steeper, more rugged terrain. They can involve climbing and camping at altitude and in extreme weather conditions. These trips can be tailored to your skills and abilities, however a good level of fitness is essential and some technical skills may be required.

Trip CodeTo AntarcticaFrom AntarcticaDurationPrice (US$) *Availability
Season: 2014/2015
MarNov 17 2014Nov 21 20145 daysPlease InquireAvailable

Dates & Rates Notes

* We reserve the right to revise our prices in the event of significant changes in the price of aviation kerosene and aircraft charter rates.

What's Included

ALL ANI Experiences include:

  • Transfers to and from Punta Arenas airport, Chile
  • Briefing with refreshments in Punta Arenas one day prior to departure
  • Round trip flights from Punta Arenas to Antarctica
  • All flights within Antarctica as shown in your itinerary
  • Meals and accommodation while in Antarctica
  • Expedition Guide(s) (and naturalist or lecturer on some Experiences)
  • Use of recreational equipment at Union Glacier Camp
  • Official and personalised ANI Certificate of Achievement
  • A Baggage allowance of up to 55lbs (25kg) on Punta Arenas-Union Glacier flight
  • (Baggage allowance of up to 66lb (30kg) for Ski South Pole Hercules Inlet, Messner and Footsteps of Amundsen Expeditions)

SOME Experiences include:

  • Group camping equipment (when travelling beyond Union Glacier Camp)
  • Group climbing equipment (climbing expeditions)
  • Sled, harness, ski pole pogies (all ski expeditions)
  • Skis, ski skins, ski poles (Ski Last Degree)

Experiences DO NOT include:

  • Commercial flights to and from Punta Arenas
  • Flights within Antarctica, other than those shown in itinerary
  • Meals and accommodation in Punta Arenas
  • Airport transfers other than in Punta Arenas
  • Personal equipment and clothing (polar clothing is available for rent from ANI for some Experiences)
  • Expenses incurred in Punta Arenas due to delays
  • Any excess baggage costs over confirmed baggage allowance
  • Cost for the use of satellite phone whilst in Antarctica
  • Insurance coverage – personal, medical, evacuation or otherwise

Day 1 Fly to Antarctica

Fly from Chile to Antarctica by private transport jet. Land on ice runway. Settle in at Union Glacier Camp.

Day 2 The Ice Marathon

Today we run the Antarctic Ice Marathon. A marked course of 26.2 miles (42 km) will already have been prepared and snowmobile support, aid stations and medical personnel will be at hand for the duration of the race.  However, don't expect to run your quickest time as winds can blow from the Pole at a steady 10-25 knots. Also, forget about penguins or crowds cheering you along the route - no penguins live this far south and you will have to rely upon yourself to push onward in the hushed, indomitable surroundings.

Day 3 Rest Day

The following day provides an opportunity to rest and recover. You can relax in camp, go for a walk or cheer on competitors in the first-ever Antarctic Triathlon and Duathlon.

Day 4 Antarctic 100K and Half Marathon

Next in the race line-up are the Antarctic 100 km and the White Continent Half Marathon. This is undoubtedly, “the world’s coldest 100”, and is reserved for only the toughest of endurance athletes. The 62.1 miles (100km) distance will seem endless, run under a sun that never sets against the backdrop of hills, mountains and large expanses of ice.

For those who prefer a half-marathon option, the White Continent Half-Marathon will also be run on the day of the 100km race. This half-marathon is your opportunity to cover 13.1 miles (21km) on the 'white continent' and finish the southernmost half marathon on the planet.

Day 5* Return to Punta Arenas, Chile

The aircraft from Punta Arenas will arrive with a new collection of avid explorers and you depart for the final leg of your Antarctic experience. Our ANI staff will meet you at Punta Arenas airport and transfer you to your hotel.

* Schedule
No two Antarctic experiences are the same. This is part of the excitement and adventure of Antarctic travel. The itinerary above highlights typical activities and experiences. Exact timeline, activities, and details will vary from trip to trip. Trip length may vary by departure.

Please anticipate delays and do not plan anything for at least a week after your scheduled return. Allow yourself to enjoy this unique experience without the stress of pending commitments.

 

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this Experience. More FAQ's can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Weather and Environment

Will it be cold?

All of our journeys take place in the Antarctic summer (November through January) when the weather is at its best. We advise on suitable clothing so that you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.

The interior of Antarctica has a cold, dry, windy climate. Average mid-season temperatures at our base camp range from 10F to 25F (-12C to -4C ). On a sunny windless day it can feel quite warm but, when the wind blows, you will be glad of warm layers and a wind jacket. Temperatures can drop as low as -22F (-30C) in early November.

  • At the South Pole temperatures rarely climb above -13F (-25C) with light winds and wind chill of -40F (-40C).
  • Weather at the Emperor rookery is highly variable and influenced by coastal systems. Temperatures range from
    -22F (-30C) to near 32F (0C) with sunny and overcast skies and the possibility of heavy snowstorms.
  • Mount Vinson climbers and skiers heading to the South Pole should prepare for extreme temperatures -40F (-40C) and severe storms.

Safety, Medical and Insurance

Do I need travel insurance?

All ANI guests are required to provide cover for medical evacuation, due to the high cost of evacuation from Antarctica.

We also strongly recommend that you consider Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance, to protect you in case you need to cancel for any reason. ANI Experiences are non-refundable within 90 days of departure.

Find more information and links to purchase travel insurance on our Travel Insurance pages.

Schedule and Itinerary

Will the itinerary be exactly the same as shown on the website?

Our itineraries are meant as a guide, to give you an idea of the kinds of activities and the flow of each Experience. However no two trips are exactly the same - and that is part of the excitement and adventure of Antarctic travel. Your unique itinerary will be tailored to your interests and abilities, weather conditions and coordination with other groups on the ice. Flight schedules are flexible and you should expect delays due to the unpredictable nature of Antarctic weather, runway conditions and other logistics.

When should I arrive?

For most Experiences we ask that you arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile at least two full days (48 hours) before your scheduled departure. This allows time for clothing and equipment checks and provides a buffer in case you should miss a flight connection or have lost luggage. An environmental and logistics briefing will be held in the morning, on the day prior to departure. We will collect your luggage and load the aircraft that afternoon, ready for an early flight the following day.

Guests on longer ski traverses should arrive at least four full days prior to departure. We will spend the additional two days getting to know the team, reviewing expedition plans, making any last minute adjustments to equipment and finally packing our sleds ready for departure.

Please note that we cannot hold Antarctic flights for guests who are delayed arriving or who have lost luggage. We recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy your trip, without the stress of tight timelines.

Clothing and Equipment

I'm not sure I have the correct equipment?

We provide detailed clothing and equipment lists for all of our Experiences. If you still have questions after reading our equipment lists and overview just drop us a line and we will be more than happy to help.

Booking and Payment Information

I'm ready to book. What do I do?

Please email or call our office to confirm availablity on your chosen Experience and departure. We will ask you to fill out a medical form (and resume of experience for climbing and ski expeditions). Please fill these forms out completely and honestly. If we have any questions or concerns, we will work with you to resolve them. Once these have been approved, we will ask you send a deposit of $US 5000 to confirm your reservation.

More Frequently Asked Questions.

Skills and Experience

Running a marathon is an arduous task. Running on snow, in sub-zero temperatures is even more challenging. Participants in the Antarctic Ice Marathon and 80 South Half Marathon are not required to have previous marathon experience; however, all applicants must be prepared to train properly and should be able to walk or run their race distance very comfortably. Experience in the cold is preferred and will be an asset, but is not essential. Only experienced ultra-marathon and endurance athletes will be considered for the 100k Ultra Race.

Visitor Guidelines

Our guests play a crucial role in helping us care for the Antarctic environment. Please review the guidelines below as part of your pre-trip preparation.

Forms

Map Image Overview: 
Ice Marathon Location Map
Map Image Detail: 
Antarctic Ice Marathon Route

More map resources can be found on our Maps page

Our Commitment to Safety

Your safety is very important to us and we work closely with you to make sure you are well prepared for your Antarctic Experience.

All our activities are subject to detailed risk management and contingency planning that allow for the remote and harsh Antarctic environment. Our preparations include detailed emergency planning and equipment to deal with all eventualities.

Our team are known for their experience and expertise and we encourage a culture of safety by providing training and support. Our Union Glacier camp has a basic medical clinic staffed by a doctor and medic who specialize in emergency and remote medicine. We keep a 24-hour watch during our operating season and are ready to respond - day or night - in case of emergency.

We maintain other camp facilities and pre-placed fuel caches in the interior of Antarctica to support our flights. Established procedures and communication protocols and continued investment in equipment and technology all contribute to safe and enjoyable Experiences.

Environmental Ethic

IAATO logoANI’s mission is to set the highest possible environmental standards and to use best practices. We believe in responsible and sustainable tourism where our guests leave Antarctica with a greater appreciation of its remarkable natural values.

We encourage a culture of environmental stewardship through training and our activities are planned to have the minimum effect on the environment.