27 runners completed the 2011 North Pole marathon after a short delay caused by a combination of adverse weather conditions and necessary repairs to the runway after a crevasse opened up. Participants ran through the polar night (in daylight) and all runners completed the race. The winner of the men's race was Istvan Toth of Hungary while Australia's Richelle Turner won the women's title.
Temperatures fell as low as -32C during the annual 42.2km race, known as the 'world's coolest marathon', which takes place in the high Arctic Ocean at a temporary geographic North Pole camp floating between 89N and 90N latitudes. This year's event commenced at 22:00 CET on 8 April, a day later than scheduled.
The race circuit included spectacular hillocks of ice but some increasingly difficult snow conditions underfoot as the 3km loops were repeated. With temperatures falling below -30C, runners were on guard for potential frost damage.
The men's race was a very close affair over the first 10km with the Russian Dmitry Mamadaliev, a former special forces paratrooper, Istvan Toth and Spain's Fernando Gonzales, the reigning Himalayan 100 Mile champion, all exchanging lead position. However, by the half-way point Toth had developed a 5 minute gap over his nearest rivals in Gonzalez and Mamadaliev.
There was an Australian victory in the women's division when Richelle Turner, the 2009 Antarctic Ice Marathon champion, won in a time of 6:03:06. Turner led from the start to finish ahead of compatriot Sharyn Fitzgerald in second place and Britain's Sue Bradford (GBR) in third spot.
To find out more about the 2012 North Pole Marathon including how to enter go online to the event website.