Day 1 (Oct 23): Copenhagen – Kangerlussuaq
Route inspection or Kangerlussuaq excursions
All participants will meet at Terminal 2 Copenhagen Airport. A 5hr flight will bring us to Kangerlussuaq where we arrive in the morning, local time. Kangerlussuaq time is GMT –3 hours. Kangerlussuaq is the larger of Greenland’s two international airports for civilian air traffic. The permanent population is approximately 500 people.
The airport was established by the Americans during the Second World War at the inner end of the 170km long Kangerlussuaq fjord that has given name to the town. The air base was of strategic importance, both during World War II and the Cold War. At this time more than 1400 soldiers were situated at the base. With increased technological developments, however, the importance of the base gradually declined and the Americans finally left and handed over the area to the Government of Greenland in 1992.
Upon our arrival we check in at Polar Lodge, Old Camp or Hotel Kangerlussuaq. The race officials and tour leaders will give a brief welcome before participants staying at Polar Lodge and Old Camp depart for the route inspection. Participants staying at Hotel Kangerlussuaq can go on one of the optional excursions that will be offered today, follow the tour leader on a hike to Mount Hassel or simply explore the area on your own.
The guided walk up to Mount Hassel - also known as ‘Kitchen Mountain’ - starts from Polar Lodge. On a 3 hour hike we follow the ridge eastwards towards the inland ice. The higher we go the more beautiful it gets and, weather permitting, we will have a fantastic panoramic view from the fjord to the inland ice. If there is too much snow the tour leaders will try to find an alternative route at a lower level. The inspection group will head 35km east of the airport to the ice cap and en route your guides will share details about the various aspects of the course. Once in a while it is replaced by large stretches of dunes and rock devoid of vegetation. The road from
Kangerlussuaq to the ice cap was originally built by German carmaker Volkswagen who had a testing center on the ice and needed easy access from the harbour in Kangerlussuaq to
the extreme conditions on the ice cap. The testing center, however, is now closed and the road is now under the supervision of Sisimiut Municipality. The condition of the road is therefore not as good as it has been, but more like an adventure marathon route. The access to the ice cap has also declined over the years, partly because of lesser maintenance and partly because of the retraction of the ice cap over the past years. A few kilometres from the edge of the inland ice the Russell Glacier winds through the terrain and we continue to point 660, one of the most beautiful ice landscapes in Greenland, with the inland ice dominating the background and a number of glaciers spreading out. Finally we arrive at the edge of the ice cap where we park the vehicles and walk on to the ice cap itself. It is a great experience to feel the massive cold air from the ice, taste the pure crystal clear air and listen to the deafening silence. You suddenely realise that Greenland is in a category by itself. In the evening dinner is served at the hotel for Hotel Kangerlussuaq participants while the Old Camp and Polar Lodge participants have a BBQ dinner in heated tents outside the Polar Lodge (remember to dress warmly).
A meal onboard the flight, a sandwich lunch for Polar Lodge and Old Camp participants, and dinner are included today.
Day 2 (Oct 24): Route inspection or Kangerlussuaq excursions
Today, participants staying at Hotel Kangerlussuaq will depart for route inspection at 9:00.
Participants staying at Old Camp and Polar Lodge can go on one of the optional tours offered,
follow the tour leader on a hike to Mount Hassel or simply explore the area on their own.
In the late afternoon the race briefing for half marathon and Polar Bear Challenge runners will
take place at the hotel. Please note that if you have signed up for the half marathon, you can
switch to the full just before this briefing starts*. If you signed up for the full marathon and decide
to switch to the half*, or decide to include the half* and do the Polar Bear Challenge, please make sure you attend this briefing.
*Both full and half marathons are limited to 140 runners, so change of distance and upgrade to
Polar Bear Challenge is due to availability.
In the evening, all participants depart for Restaurant Roklubben for dinner.
Dinner will include a selection of pasta dishes for carbo-loading, but other dishes will also be
available for those not running tomorrow. Busses back to the hotel will depart throughout the evening. Breakfast, sandwich lunch for Hotel Kangerlussuaq participants and dinner are included today
Day 3 (Oct 25): Half Marathon race day
At 8:30 in the morning half marathon and Polar Bear Challenge runners drive to the starting point near the inland ice, once again using all terrain vehicles to get there. The half marathon is
scheduled to start at 10:00 and have a time limit of 4 hours. More information about the race can be found on the Polar Circle Marathon page.
At the finish line the all-terrain vehicles will be waiting to take all runners back to Kangerlussuaq as they fill up. The last vehicle departs when the last runner has finished. The runners will be offered water and refreshments at stations posted along the route. In the finish area a light lunch will be provided.
Full marathon runners and non-runners can spend the day going on an optional tour or explore
the area on their own. It is not possible to go to the route and finish line and cheer, as the “all
terrain” vehicles are in full use for the half marathon.
In the late afternoon the race briefing for marathon runners will take place at the hotel. Polar Bear Challenge runners are welcome to participate, but not obliged, as they had a briefing yesterday. Half marathon runners who decide to sign up for the Polar Bear Challenge after the half marathon race can do so at this briefing if spots are still available.
In the evening a pasta dinner will take place at Hotel Kangerlussuaq. Breakfast, and pasta dinner are included this day. In addition participants running the half marathon this day have a post race meal included.
Day 4 (Oct 26): Marathon race day
At 7:30 in the morning marathon and Polar Bear Challenge runners drive to the starting point near the inland ice, once again using all terrain vehicles to get there. The marathon is scheduled to start at 9:00 and have a time limit of 7 hours. More information about the race can be found on the Polar Circle Marathon page.
The marathon finish line will be located in front of Polar Lodge. From here runners staying at Polar Lodge and Hotel Kangerlussuaq can walk to their rooms while a bus will take runners staying at Old Camp to their rooms.
The runners will be offered water and refreshments at stations posted along the route. In the finish area a light lunch will be provided for the runners.
Half marathon runners and non-runners can spend the day exploring the area on their own. It is
not possible to go to the start line to cheer the runners off, as the “all terrain” vehicles are in full use.
In the evening we will celebrate the completion of The Polar Circle Marathon with a festive
Greenlandic dinner in Roklubben. Awards ceremony for the top three finishers in each category will also take place before the party under an (hopefully) northern lights lit night sky sets off.
Busses back to the hotels will depart several times during the night.
Breakfast, and celebration dinner are included this day. In addition participants running the
marathon this day have a post race meal included.
Day 5(Oct 27): Departure
After breakfast and check out we travel back to Copenhagen. The flight leaves just before noon so we have a final opportunity to enjoy a last stroll or jog around Kangerlussuaq.
Arrival in Copenhagen in the evening (CET).
Breakfast and a meal onboard the flight are included this day.