Date: October 19, 2013 at 9:30am
Time Limit: The cut-off time for half marathon runners is 4 hours while the full marathon runners have 7 hours to complete the race. Runners still on the route after the cut off time of the respective distance will be swept up by a race official or medical car and driven back to the Polar Lodge.
Medals: All runners who complete the marathon or half marathon within the time limit will receive a medal. In the evening a complete result list is expected to be ready.
Do not forget that this is first and foremost an adventure. We are far away from the homely comforts and this makes it impossible to offer services at the same high level as usually provided in city marathons.
Course Description: The marathon takes place on uneven gravel road and ice! The run starts about 4 km from the inland ice and follows the gravel road on to the ice cap. While running on the ice cap one should be very attentive and careful, even with a thick layer of snow on top this part can still be very slippery. Because of the danger of falling into a crevasse, it is strictly forbidden to leave the marked route on the inland ice. The route on the ice is a loop of approximately 2-3 km – because of the enormous powers of nature and the general retraction of the ice cap the exact distance will only be found a couple of days before the race and may also be affected by the amount of snow on the ice. Coming back up from the ice and passing the original starting point you have approximately 32 km left to the finish line in Kangerlussuaq. Please bear in mind that although the road is gravel, it is likely to be covered by a layer of snow.
Running these remaining kilometres you will pass enormous glacier tongues and moraine plains and go through tundra and arctic desert. It is an incredibly beautiful landscape that runs for many kilometres along some of the ice caps oldest glaciers. If you are lucky and not too tired, you may see reindeer and musk oxen grazing along the route.
Half marathon runners start at the same point at the same time as the full marathon runners. The half marathon runners also run the loop on the ice cap and their finish line is located after the respective 21.1 km. In the half marathon finish area a heated bus will take all half marathon participants back to Kangerlussuaq when the last half marathon runner has crossed the finish line.
Kilometre signs can be found along the entire route. Owing to the conditions, however, they may be placed +/- some metres from the exact point. The kilometre signs are therefore only for orientation. Note that there won’t be any toilets along the course, which means that there are toilets everywhere!
The terrain is hilly all the way with the steepest ascends being the climb coming off the ice cap and the approximately 75 meters high climb 5 kilometers before the finish line. From the ice cap to the finish line, however, the route has an overall descent of approximately 500 meters.
Please note that the route description is subject to change according to the forces of nature.
Supplies: There will be water supplies approximately every 5 kilometres. Since the air is extremely dry, it is important to drink plenty of water as the body may not automatically tell you that you are thirsty. All drink stations serve tempered water and at selected stations you will also receive warm drinks and energy drinks and bars.
You are allowed to bring personal supplies and extra clothes for the marathon. Personal supply stations will be situated at the 15 km and 30 km mark. Personal supplies has to be delivered at the starting area clearly marked with the runner’s number and whether the supplies are to be handed out at the 15 km or 30 km mark.
It is a good idea to start out in extra layers of clothes to keep warm. Extra layers can be left at all water stations along the route. The deposited clothes will be handed out in the finish area or later on during the evening. Remember that we are running in wild and unspoiled nature. Therefore, please do not throw empty packaging on the ground; instead deposit it in rubbish bags situated along the route.
Health and Safety: Runners who wish to drop out of the marathon should go to the nearest drink station where sleeping bags will be available to keep you warm. Transport to the finish area will be arranged for all runners who drop out, but please notice that there will be a waiting time.
The medical team is ready in case of injury or severe exhaustion. A doctor will be placed on the ice cap as long as runners are on it. A doctor will be patrolling the route and a doctor will stand by in the finish area. If the medical team finds it necessary they can stop a runner and take him/her out of the race. Decisions on taking runners out of the race will only be done if the medical team believes there is a serious health risk in continuing.
All decisions made by the medical team are final and not up for discussion.
Age limit: To participate in the marathon runners must be minimum 18 years of age on race day.
To participate in the half marathon runners must be minimum 16 years of age on race day.
Weather: The weather in Greenland is always unpredictable! On average we expect the temperature to be minus 20-15 degrees Celsius when the marathon is started. As the sun rises higher, however, the temperature will rise to minus 10-5 degrees Celsius. Snow may occur, but Kangerlussuaq is known for its stabile and relatively comfortable climate with little precipitation on an annual basis. Once again we stress that the weather in Greenland is in its own category, so be prepared for strong winds and snow as well.
Clothing and Shoes: The best advice is to dress in layers for this run and use functional sweat transporting running clothes. The use of cotton clothing is NOT recommended. Running clothes made for freezing temperatures are usually sufficient, but do bring an extra windproof layer for both legs and body in case of strong winds. Don’t be afraid of overdressing! You can always drop layers at the water stations if you get too warm. A winter hat and gloves made for freezing temperatures are essential. A warm scarf will cover your throat and neck from the cold air. Gaiters will help your feet stay dry in case of snow on the route.
The Polar Cirlce Marathon can be run in a pair of normal running shoes or trail running shoes. We recommend that runners bring a pair of ‘Spiky Plus’ running spikes. ‘Spiky Plus’ are anti slip soles with carbon steel points that can be fitted to your running shoes, a definite plus when running on the ice cap.