Analysis and Commentary
Arctic marathon: 42 km in the snow
© RIA Novosti. Valeriy Melnikov

Arctic marathon: 42 km in the snow

The North Pole Marathon has been held for many years at the Barneo ice station. Runners from all over the world run 42.2 km. This and last year, Marat Yusupov, the station mechanic, took part in the race. He showed good results: in 2017, Marat took sixth place (5 hours 22 minutes), and in 2016 he came in third (5 hours 31 minutes).

Marat, have you been running for a long time?

I'm an amateur. I run for fun just to keep fit. Honestly, it was my first marathon at Barneo. I fly there to work every year. I saw people running, and decided to try it out myself. This year, I flew in and realized that something was missing, so I ran the marathon. By the way, I want to say a big thank you to the camp management for this opportunity.

What distances do you usually run?

Here, the most I do is 10-20 km.

How is a marathon on an ice floe organized?

First, the marathon organizer, Richard Donovan, and the athletes arrive. They train for about a year before that. It takes them about a day to settle in to the camp. They do some training, warm up and start out. Athletes run in circles of 3.2 km. The distance is marked by flags. There are armed people at certain spots in case bears show up.

Last year, the route went along the runway, that is, we ran on an even surface. This year, part of the course passed through a field, so after everyone is done running across it, the track turns into a mess and the pace slows down.

What was the temperature this year?

It was 30 degrees Celsius below zero. Last year, it was a little better at —25.

How do you run in such cold weather? What would you say to someone who decides to run next year?

It's hard to run. It is easier to run in our climate. There, the weather may change any minute. There may be high winds, and there's not enough oxygen, either.

Endurance, patience and calmness are important for this marathon. The distance is taxing. Sometimes, you start wondering why you are doing it at all. However, you set a goal and go for it.

They say runners get a second wind during a marathon. Did you have one?

That's right. It happens when someone is passing you. Different categories of runners participate in marathons. When a female athlete passes you, you turn on the "athletic mode."

Have you had any injuries?

Last year, I had a frostbitten finger. This year, too, though. But everything is in place.

Did you talk with other runners during the race, or did you just focus on the task at hand?

Of course, we support each other, and smile.

Well, with that kind of cold that's the thing to do, I believe.

Yes, we cheer each other on: Come on, you can do it!