Answer the questions below by exploring this web site and the associated links that go with the various questions. Good luck and have fun learning about Antarctica.
Adventure Network International will help you explore Antarctica.
1. How much did each runner pay to participate in the world's first marathon to the South Pole?
2. What is the cost to ski the last degree of latitude to the South Pole?
Join the Bancroft Arnesen Expedition in their quest to become the first women to ski and sail across Antarctica. You can retrace their epic journey. http://www.yourexpedition.com
3. Arnesen was born in what country?
4. What do Bancroft and Arnesen do for a living (profession)?
5. Name the first woman to ski to both the North and South Poles.
What’s happening at the South Pole this summer?
6. Who wrote the above South Pole diaries?
See live images (up-dated every ten minutes) from the South Pole.
7. Describe what you see in this view from the South Pole.
8. What is the noise you hear at this web site?
Find out what is the current weather is at the South Pole?
9. What is the current temperature at the South Pole?
Check out the CIA Fact Book to learn about Antarctica.
10. What document governs/controls activities in Antarctica?
11. What is the elevation of the highest point in Antarctica?
Bonus: Explore this web site to answer the following questions.
12. When did the first ultramarathon race take place in Antarctica?
13. On what island did the race take place?
14. How many people finished the race?
15. What distance did the runners cover in Antarctica's first ever ultramarathon?
16. The South Pole Marathon Team departed for Antarctica from what South American country?
17. What is unique about Patriot Hills, Antarctica, that makes it possible for jet aircraft to land?
18. From a logistical standpoint, why were the Theil Mountains important to the marathon team?
19. The marathon runners had to be concerned with various natural hazards. Name three natural hazards that threatened the safety and well being of the athletes.
20. What are sastrugi and why might they be a concern for the runners?
21. "Katabatic" refers to what natural phenomenon that originates on the Polar Plateau?
22. How many runners actually ran 26.2 miles to the South Pole?
23. What is the name of the U.S. scientific research station located at the South Pole?
24. Give an example of some current research that is taking place at the South Pole.
25. Why must the Geographic South Pole be repositioned every year?
Fitness and Training for the South Pole Marathon
As the marathon consultant for Adventure Network International, I would not presume to tell anybody how he or she should specifically train. Proper conditioning is a complex process based on many variables that differ from individual to individual. The suggestions and guidelines listed below are based on my experiences during the past thirty years of cold weather running in many kinds of extreme conditions and events. These events include the World High Altitude Snowshoe Championships up and down Mt. Elbert in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, the Iditasport 100 Mile on Alaska’s Iditarod Trail, the Antarctica Artigas Adventure 50k on King George Island (the first ultramarathon in the Antarctic), and numerous other races, treks, climbs, and training runs. Having said that, this is what I have learned and can recommend to others who seek out the challenges afforded by snow and ice. I have co-mingled the suggestions for both city and wilderness running.
Tips for Cold Weather Running
Use a mental or written checklist of things you need to thoughtfully consider before leaving the warmth of your shelter. What do I really need to take with me? How long will I be gone? How will I effectively deal with emergencies? Do I have the equipment, skills and knowledge necessary to safely run at this time and location?
Above all, remember that no run, or summit, is worth risking your life for when good judgement dictates otherwise.
The course and the mountain will still be there tomorrow when circumstances may present an entirely new set of hazards and challenges.
Know the approximate temperature and wind direction before placing yourself in the cold. Plan your course to run against the wind as you begin and with the wind as you return. Shield yourself from the wind whenever possible.
On days when you must get in a long run, have someone drive you out 20 miles and run back with the wind. Try to run with a partner in adverse weather conditions. Both runners can then check each other for signs of cold weather injuries and your buddy will be around to help you should you get into trouble.
Know your route and make sure someone knows where you are going and your expected time of return. Be aware that some kinds of rescues and evacuations are not possible in certain circumstances. Plan on being self-sufficient and realize you are the responsible party.
Be sure you have good navigation skills, check landmarks and bearings frequently, and be constantly alert for evidence or indications that you may become disoriented and lost. It happens every winter and people die.
In extreme temperatures, cover exposed skin. Vaseline on checks, nose, and lips will help. Make sure your head and neck are well protected because a significant amount of body heat is lost through these areas. Protect your extremities from exposure to prevent frostbite. In the early stages you will notice a burning sensation in the skin. Skin color will change from red to purple to white. If you notice a white, sensitive area, get out of the cold immediately and seek medical help. Be constantly alert for signs of frostbite.
One way to help prevent frostbite is to make sure you are well hydrated. You must drink, drink, and drink some more, just like you are in a desert. After all, Antarctica is the world’s largest desert and it is extremely dry. You should be drinking a minimum of 16-20 ounces of fluid per hour. In addition to drinking, don’t forget to eat. Remember that your body must have enough calories to keep you warm, plus enough calories to sustain the running. You should consume a minimum of 200-300 calories per hour. This will also help with your recovery after the event.
Wear multiple layers of clothing. A wide variety of clothing is designed specifically for cold weather running. Do not wear cotton next to your skin. When it gets wet it tends to stay wet and promote hypothermia. Remove wet clothing as soon as possible. Wet clothing increases the risk of cold injury. Wool insulates well and will help retain body heat even when wet. Be ever vigilant for signs of hypothermia. Know the warning signals of hypothermia; a feeling of disorientation, loss of hand coordination, slurred speech, difficulty walking, and uncontrollable shivering. Find a warm place at once and get some warm liquids and carbohydrates into your body. Hypothermia is a serious threat because it can sneak up on you. When your core body temperature drops significantly, you are in serious danger of dying. That danger is multiplied several times over when you are in the middle of an extreme environment with no shelter, poor thought processes, and no energy to save yourself.
A Gore-Tex jacket is a good windbreaker and works well as an outer layer and can be removed and tied around your waist if not needed. Experiment to find the best clothing combination for you. Remember that you can always take clothes off; but you can’t put them on if you don’t have any extra clothing.
Wear a good comfortable pair of trail shoes that are one to two sizes larger that what you normally wear. This will allow you to wear extra socks and promote good blood circulation. I prefer to wear a polypropylene liner and Neo-socks. They are a neoprene booty type sock that snowshoe racers wear. A good pair of gaiters is also necessary to keep snow and ice from getting in your shoes. If the course includes a great deal of glare ice, you may want to bring lightweight mini-crampons, or screw pan-head sheet metal screws into the bottom of your shoes to improve traction.
Use an insulated fanny pack/water belt to keep your supplies from freezing. Turn your water bottles upside down in their holder. When they start freezing, you will still be able to get a drink by turning them right side up. You may also want to put a small heat pack in the bottom of your water holder. Do not put them inside of your water bottle. They could leak and contaminate your water. Keep your energy foods in an inside pocket to prevent them from becoming rock hard.
When doing events in the dark, remember to use properly rated batteries (lithium works the best), because the cold may render your batteries worthless or significantly decrease the duration of useful light.
Remember that any terrain becomes treacherous when covered with a layer of ice or snow. The results are poor footing for the runner and the dangerous possibility that a car may skid or slide into you. Run early in the morning oruse an alternate route when snow accumulation leaves only a narrow, cleared lane for cars. Always ensure a margin for safety. Leave yourself an escape route. When running in the wilderness, beware of buried hazards such as rocks, fallen trees, streams, and crevasses. In the mountains, even the experts have trouble telling the difference between snowfields and glaciers. The main difference being, a glacier crevasse can swallow you, whereas an unstable snowfield might result in an avalanche.
Consider another form of exercise when truly adverse weather conditions make running extremely dangerous. For a fit runner who is used to training in the cold, this would be when the temperature was more than –50 Fahrenheit. Studies have been done indicating that you can do aerobic running safety up to 50 below zero. This assumes you know how to dress and have previous experience in these types of conditions.
Preparing for the Marathon
There are many ways to prepare for a cold weather marathon depending on your individual goals. If one’s goal is to simply finish the event, a modest weekly training mileage of 25-30 miles will be adequate. However, more ambitious goals obviously require greater training mileage. Many world class marathoners average around 100 miles per week. In any case, preparation for a marathon is a long process normally lasting anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks depending on your present level of fitness. Most experienced marathoners would agree that runners who want to race well should try and average 60-70 miles per week for 3-4 months prior to the race. This is based on the notion of “Collapse Point Theory” which states that a runner is normally able to run three times his or her average daily mileage before “hitting the wall.” Thus if a runner wants to race 26.2 miles, he or she should average 9 miles a day in training. You can certainly do it on less mileage, but your performance is poor, the suffering factor increases and the event is not as enjoyable. Beware; do not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% in any given week. Otherwise you risk injury and time lost.
Training to race in the Antarctic requires traditional runners to adopt a different mindset. Runners will need to adjust their thinking and their training. You will need to consider the climate, the terrain, and realize everything is weather dependent. A fit runner might be able to average only half his normal speed. Remember that you will be running on the South Polar Plateau where the actual elevation is around 10,000 feet and the effective elevation is approximately 12,000 feet. Furthermore, you will be running with extra clothing and gear over rough terrain that some compare to a ploughed field. Therefore, training on rough terrain would be highly recommended.
The Inuit of the Arctic have something like a dozen different names for various kinds of snow. Unfortunately, we Kabloonas are not as fortunate with our winter vocabulary. Runners will encounter a course that is highly variable in terms of surface conditions. In places it will be covered with 1-6 inches or corn snow (similar to running in loose sand) and the footing will be soft. In other places it may be semi-hard packed and you will break through from time to time. On occasion the course will be hard packed from the wind and the drifts (sastrugi) and snow will support your full weight without sinking in over your shoes. It is recommended that you wear gaiters to keep the snow and ice out of your shoes. In places you will probably sink in well over your ankles. It is highly unlikely that the runners will encounter any glare ice that is common around the Patriot Hills. However, much will be dependent on the weather and how well the snow machines groom the track.
During the Antarctic summer, the temperatures at the Pole vary from about -20º C at the warmest, to -35º C at the coldest. The “Principle of Specificity” states that the best way to train is to approximate the actual activity over and over. Ideally, you should be doing some cold weather racing at altitude. This could include snowshoeing or cross country skiing. In any case, you should get in one long workout every 7-10 days. This activity should last from 3-6 hours depending on the nature of the event. The trick to training and racing at minus 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit is learning what works for you and that really only comes from experience. Training at colder temperatures would not only give you an understanding of how you react to extreme cold, but also help you to adjust your running speed, style and clothing system to best suit your body. Get out in the winter conditions and learn to dress in layers so you can avoid overheating on the one hand and avoid chilling on the other. It is always a fine line depending on the weather and the intensity of your activity.
It is important to remember that your aim should be to complete this extreme marathon comfortably and safely and the best way to do that is with a long training build-up. The training schedule listed below is a guideline only. For more information, see runtheplanet.com, marathontraining.com and other web sites listed on ANI’s information sheet.
Modest weekly mileage totals (around 25-30 miles).
Include two long runs spread across the week. You could do one run midweek and do the other run on the weekend. At the beginning of training, these long runs could be 6 miles or so. As the weeks progress, gradually increase them e.g. Week Two would be 6 and 8 miles, Week Three 7 and 9 miles, Week Four 7 and 10 miles, gradually increasing until your two runs are around 12 and 18 miles. You may want to think in terms of hours, rather than distance. Remember that during the South Pole Marathon you will be on your feet and moving for five to ten hours.
The shorter runs only need to be between 3 and 6 miles, but try to do these runs on rough terrain.
Include one day of faster running and/or integrate pickups into your regular runs.
Try to run about five or six days each week.
It is not necessary to run the full marathon distance in practice – the longest distance recommended is 23 miles. You should not do any of these long runs the last two to three weeks before the race. The last week before the race should include easy running which includes about half of your normal mileage or time.
Finishers from Antarctica's First Ultramarathon, Antarctica Artigas Adventure 50km, King George Island, 13 February 1999
- Dave Kanners, 52, Rochester, Michigan, 6:06
- Jim Wholey, 52, Saratoga, California, 6:16
- Tad Lancucki, 49, London, England, 6:18
- Raymond Nyce, 47, Parker, Colorado, 6:50
- Brent Weigner, 49, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 6:57
- Mary Ritz, 44, Gooding, Idaho, 7:21
- Louise Wholey, 57, Saratoga, California, 7:25
Polar Running Links
Read about the world's first ultramarathon to the South Pole
What is the current weather at the South Pole?
Investigate the CIA World Fact Book to learn about Antarctica.
Find out what current activities are going on at Amundsen-Scott Station
Source for Antarctic news and information
Should Antarctica become a world park?
Antarctic Non-Government Activity News
7 Continents Quest
Wyoming Marathon Races
Take Antarctica Quiz
Sports Ilustrated Story on the South Pole Marathon
Read Bio of First Person To Run Ultramarathons at both Poles
World's Northern Most Ultra Race Results 2005
Sports Ilustrated Story, Part Two
2003 North Pole Marathon Expedition