BOSTON, Feb. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 20 runners are expected to reach their goal of completing marathons on all seven continents at the 14 th Antarctica Marathon on March 7, announced Boston-based Marathon Tours & Travel, the event and expedition organizer.
Also known as "The Last Marathon," the Antarctica Marathon is held annually on King George Island, located off the Antarctic Peninsula in Antarctica – the coldest, windiest and most remote continent on Earth.
"There has been tremendous interest in running a marathon on all seven continents ever since the inaugural Antarctica Marathon in 1995," says Thom Gilligan, president of Marathon Tours & Travel and race director of the Antarctica Marathon and Half Marathon. "The goal of running a marathon on all seven continents is an extraordinary feat attempted by ordinary people in their pursuit of self-discovery or other notable goals."
In 1998, Marathon Tours founded a Seven Continents Club to recognize those who have accomplished this feat. Since then, more than 367 globetrotting runners have achieved the goal, according to Gilligan.Despite its extreme nature, the Antarctica Marathon and Half Marathon has sold out 11 of its last 14 editions, usually years in advance, and is presently sold out through 2016. The 26.2- and 13.1-mile courses transverse gravel roads that connect and pass the scientific research bases of Uruguay, Chile, China and Russia. Race-day temperatures can range from 15 to 34 F with wind gusts that can easily reach 40 mph. Held at the tail end of the Antarctic summertime, heavy snow is rare but light flurries are common. Traveling to a marathon on what is often referred to as the "Last Continent," is a marathon in itself. Athletes will travel an average of 6,500 miles each; first to Buenos Aires, Argentina, before departing to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southern-most city in the world. There they will board Akademik loffe, a Russian icebreaker ship for a two-day crossing of the Drake Passage, a body of water notorious for being one of the roughest seas in the world. The 14-day expedition also includes a number of landings on the continent, sea kayaking and wildlife viewing. Other notable entrants include: