Finishers Include a 14-year-old girl, the Youngest to Finish a Marathon on Antarctica
BOSTON (April 5, 2013) – The Antarctica Marathon and its two-week expedition is no stranger to a variety of daunting challenges doled out by Mother Nature and the extreme aspects of getting to, and running on, the coldest, windiest and most remote continent on Earth. The 14th edition of the Antarctica Marathon and Half Marathon held March 30, 2013, was no exception, according to Boston-based Marathon Tours & Travel, the event and expedition organizer.
Ninety-two participants hailing from nine countries braved temperatures hovering around 22 degrees Fahrenheit while navigating the hilly, snow and ice-covered course. “The relentless hills, frozen streams and uneven, slippery conditions made for a very challenging race,” said Thom Gilligan, the Antarctica Marathon race director and expedition leader.
The 26.2 – and 13.1-mile courses transverse mostly gravel roads that connect the research bases of Uruguay, Chile, China and Russia on King George Island, located at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
In the men’s marathon competition, Alan Nawoj, 33, of Lexington, Mass. commanded an early lead, extending it to about 10 minutes 20 miles into the race. Nawoj, who has a personal best marathon time of 2:52:27, went on to win in 3:29:56. Belthazer Nel of South Africa attempted to close the gap in the last few miles but had to settle for second, finishing in 3:37:48. Donnald Raymond of Portland, Ore. rounded out the podium and finished third in 4:11:57.
The women’s race was dominated by Inez Anne Haagen of the Netherlands who was victorious in 3:41:52, finishing third overall. Haagen, 49, has also won marathons on four other continents, including China’s Great Wall Marathon in 2010. Ginger Howell of Newton, Mass. received runner-up honors, clocking 4:24:24. Five Russian and Uruguayan Antarctic research base personnel also joined in on the competition.
One of the most impressive performances of the day came from the women’s division third-place finisher, 14-year-old Winter Vinecki of Salem, Ore., who became the youngest person to complete a marathon in Antarctica, finishing in 4:49:45.Vinecki, who trains in Park City, Utah, is a former two-time Ironkids national champion and the newest and youngest member of the Fly Elite aerials team as a 2018 Olympic hopeful. In her very first year in aerials competition she qualified for Junior Freestyle Skiing World Championships in Valmalenco, Italy but was forced to pass on the invitation to pursue her goal of running a marathon on all seven continents while raising funds for prostate cancer in memory of her father, who died of the disease four years ago.
Also impressive is the record 17 runners who wrapped up their goal of running a marathon or half-marathon on all of Earth’s seven continents and were inducted into the Seven Continents Club during the post-race awards ceremony held at an outdoor barbecue amidst a backdrop of incredible scenery.
This year’s Antarctica Marathon initially faced cancellation. Originally scheduled for March 7, the event came close to being put on ice when the Akademik Ioffe, the chartered Russian research vessel that was to transport the runners from the southernmost tip of Argentina to King George Island, was damaged by an iceberg. The Akademik Sergey Vavilov, the sister ship to the Akademik Ioffe, was quickly commissioned; however, the incident and ship change resulted in a three-week delay. More than 85% of the original 114 travelers rearranged their lives to pursue their goal of completing the marathon or half-marathon on the seventh continent.
More than $37,500 was raised by 2013 Antarctica Marathon participants for the event’s official charity, Oceanites, Inc., a non-profit organization that researches the impact of tourism on Antarctica’s pristine environment.
For more information on the Antarctica Marathon, please visit www.antarcticamarathon.com, write to [email protected] or call +1(617) 242-7845.
|1.||Alan Nawoj||3:29:56||USA||1.||Inez Anne Haagen||3:41:52||NED|
|2.||Belthazer Nel||3:37:48||RSA||2.||Ginger Howell||4:24:24||USA|
|3.||Donnald Raymond||4:11:57||USA||3.||Winter Vinecki||4:49:45||USA|
|1.||Sergei Mikhalchuk||2:01:20||RUS||1.||Beth Hammett||1:58:46||CAN|
|2.||John Kessel||2:17:11||USA||2.||Susan Hawley||2:43:25||USA|
|3.||Andreo Benech||2:21:22||URU||3.||Laurie Rice||2:54:15||USA|
Marathon Tours & Travel is the leading marathon tour operator in North America offering comprehensive travel packages to 28 marathons and half marathons on all seven continents, including the Great Wall Marathon in China and the Safaricom Marathon in Kenya, the only marathon run entirely within a game park.