Polar Circle Marathon 5-day package
The Polar Circle Marathon takes place in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland where the endless ice and arctic tundra of this vast country make up the backdrop of this unusual race. Runners pass glacier tongues, moraine landscapes and the soundless, arctic desert.
This is a rare opportunity to combine your visit to remote Greenland with a unique arctic race.
26 Oct 2017 Copenhagen - Kangerlussuaq. Route inspection and excursions
|26 Oct 2017||Copenhagen - Kangerlussuaq. Route inspection and excursions|
All participants meet at Copenhagen Airport Terminal 2.
The flight to Greenland departs early in the morning and Air Greenland does not cooperate with other airlines, meaning you must claim your luggage at Copenhagen Airport, clear customs and check in again for the flight to Greenland. As check in closes one hour before departure we therefore strongly recommend that you do not book a same day connection, but instead arrive in Copenhagen one or more days in advance. Pre-nights can be booked in Copenhagen at Grand Hotel located in the city centre, less than a 5 minute walk from Copenhagen Central Station, which again is only a 15 minutes train ride from the airport.
A 5hr flight will bring us to Kangerlussuaq where we arrive in the morning, local time (GMT –3 hours). The permanent population of this township, which was established by the American army during the Second World War and handed over to the Government of Greenland in 1992, is approximately 500 people.
Upon our arrival we check in at Polar Lodge, Old Camp or Hotel Kangerlussuaq. The tour leaders will give a brief welcome before participants staying at Hotel Kangerlussuaq depart for the route inspection.
Participants staying at Polar Lodge and Old Camp can go on one of the optional excursions (see details further down) 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 is a 2-3 hour hike that follows 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 route inspection is heading 35km east of the airport to Point 660 from where participants will walk the marked route on the ice cap. Remember that this will be a cold walk in freezing temperatures and a warm winter jacket, hiking or winter boots, hat and gloves are essential. The route inspection is also an opportunity for participants who are not running to take part in the excursion to the ice cap. We drive in large all-terrain vehicles, which will take us along Watson River through the fantastic landscape varying from lakes, fertile moor and dense scrub to 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.
Finally we arrive at the edge of the ice cap at Point 660 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 suddenly realise that Greenland is in a category by itself.
In the evening dinner is served at Hotel Kangerlussuaq.
A meal onboard the flight, a sandwich lunch, and dinner are included today.
27 Oct 2017 Route inspection and Kangerlussuaq excursions
|27 Oct 2017||Route inspection and Kangerlussuaq excursions|
Today, participants staying at Polar Lodge and Old Camp will depart for the route inspection in the morning.
Participants staying at Hotel Kangerlussuaq 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 an information meeting about Ilulissat will take place for participants who have booked the extension to Ilulissat. Following this meeting all runners gather at Hotel Kangerlussuaq for the race briefing where the race officials and medical team will give the final briefing about the marathon and half marathon races.
If you wish to change distance* or make late registration for the Polar Bear Challenge* this is also the time to do it. It is not possible to make late registration to the Polar Bear Challenge after the marathon race on Saturday.
*Both full and half marathons are each limited to 150 runners, so change of distance and registration for the Polar Bear Challenge is due to availability and on a first come, first served basis.
After the race briefing, a pasta dinner is served at Hotel Kangerlussuaq.
Breakfast, sandwich lunch and pasta dinner are included today.
28 Oct 2017 Marathon race day
|28 Oct 2017||Marathon race day|
At 7:30 in the morning marathon and Polar Bear Challenge runners drive to the starting point near the ice sheet and all-terrain vehicles are used to get there. The marathon is scheduled to start at 9:00 and has a time limit of 7 hours. More information about the race can be found on the race info section.
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 BBQ lunch will be served for all participants between 12:00 and 15:30.
Half marathon runners and non-runners can spend the day exploring the area on their own, but are also encouraged to cheer on the runners at the finish line. 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, a dinner with pasta dishes is served at restaurant Roklubben.
Breakfast, BBQ lunch, and dinner are included this day.
29 Oct 2017 Half marathon race day
|29 Oct 2017||Half marathon race day|
At 7:30 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 9:00 and have a time limit of 4 hours. More information about the race can be found on the race info section.
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 evening we will celebrate the completion of The Polar Circle Marathon & Half 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.
Breakfast and celebration dinner are included this day. In addition participants running the half marathon this day have a post-race meal included.
30 Oct 2017 Farewell Greenland
|30 Oct 2017||Farewell Greenland|
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.
We arrive in Copenhagen in the evening (CET). Once again please note that we do not recommend same day connections from Copenhagen due to the late arrival from Greenland and the fact that luggage can’t be checked in all the way. Again it is possible to book post nights at Grand hotel in the city centre.
Breakfast and a meal onboard the flight is included this day.
We've arranged a specially-crafted running tour for Polar Circle Marathon participants that you can book if you would like some sightseeing in Copenhagen and to stretch your legs before heading off to Greenland. The relatively short distances, the fantastic sights, and the vibe of the city makes it perfect for sightseeing while running. The tour departs at 16:30 from Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square). From the statue of world famous storyteller H.C. Andernsen we head towards the main sights in Copenhagen including the Parliament, the Queen’s castle and the Little Mermaid. The route has been planned with the beautiful scenery of Copenhagen in mind and we will be running along the canals and the harbour as well as some of Copenhagen’s many parks. We keep our tours very informal and run only in smaller groups, so there is plenty of time to ask questions about the sights, places or people that we pass, or any other questions that you may have during the tour.
- About the tour
The tour is approximately 8km long and the pace will be between 5 and 6 min/km depending on the overall level of the participants.
Start time 16:30 at the H.C. Andersen statue at City Hall Square.
Tundra safari and Kangerlussuaq sightseeing
Kangerlussuaq is a former American air base, but today it is the main airport of Greenland. The guide will share exciting stories, starting from the origins of the base, from the Second World War to the Cold War, into a modern international airport and small settlement.
The area around Kangerlussuaq has Greenland's longest road and here we will experience and see several interesting places and meet the great Greenlandic nature. We drive to the harbour to enjoy views of the beautiful fjord. We drive past Kellyville, a small town for science, 12km from the airport and tour the old base area. We will also visit the village kennel where we'll get better acquainted with Greenlandic sled dogs (as the season is not open in October, we will not be able to go dog sledding). We'll have ample opportunity to take in the stunning nature, and, if we are very lucky, spot musk oxen, during this scenic 3.5hr drive.
- About the tour
Duration: 3.5 hours
Driving partially off-road we take the fascinating route to the spectacular Russell Glacier. The glacier is an impressive sight with its vertical ice walls rising as high as 60m.
We'll get close enough for some great photo and video opportunities.
The surroundings are spectacular, and chances are good for spotting musk oxen and perhaps even ptarmigans and snow hare.
- About the tour
Duration: 4 hours
What makes Greenland a truly unique destination is the combination of wild nature and the Inuit culture adapted to it through hundreds of generations. It is along the coast the people of Greenland live and it is in the towns and settlements that we find “the real Greenland”. Small colourful houses cling to mountainsides, culture and architecture enriched and limited by nature, and if you take just a few steps outside the town you’ll find yourself almost completely isolated, surrounded by one of the world’s last and biggest wildernesses. Ilulissat offers a variety of tour possibilities. If we are lucky with the weather there might be snow enough for the dog sledges to operate otherwise a helicopter flight over the Ice fjord is a stunning experience. These extra excursions can be booked upon arrival to Ilulissat. Please note all optional tours are permitted by weather and/or number of participants and therefore cannot be guaranteed in advance.
- 30 Oct 2017: Kangerlussuaq to Ilulissat
We check in for Air Greenland’s flight to Ilulissat in the morning. After arrival and transfer to the town we check in at Hotel Hvide Falk. The hotel is situated at the waterfront of the world famous Ice fjord with an impressive view over the Disko Bay. Restaurants, museums, shops and the harbour are all within walking distance. Ilulissat is situated in the heart of the famed Disko Bay, an area of great natural beauty. The town itself is picturesque, lively and inviting. By Greenland standards it offers many cultural sights that - apart from the birthplace and museum of arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen - include a Hunting and Fishing museum and the fine collection of paintings of Emanuel A. Petersen. Since the foundation of Ilulissat more than 250 years ago, it has grown steadily and is today Greenland’s third largest city with more than 4000 inhabitants. The main occupation is fishing. Our tour leader will guide us on a walking tour, giving us an overall introduction to the town and the possibilities we have in the area. Breakfast is included.
- 31 Oct 2017: Ilulissat and the Ice Fjord
Ilulissat is rightfully called the capital of icebergs. In the Disko Bay the gigantic icebergs linger. South of the city the enormous Ice fjord cuts its way through the country. It starts 32 kilometres further inland, where the huge Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, with a front more than 5 kilometres wide and several hundred meters high, is calving icebergs with a speed of 25 metres per day, equivalent to 20 million tons of ice or more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland. This makes the glacier the most productive outside Antarctica. These facts and the stunning setting have put the Ice fjord on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. After breakfast we walk to the harbour and embark for a 2½ hours boat trip on the Ice fjord where we will see the spectacular icebergs. We will get really close to the impressive “floating mountains” and see their true greatness. A good chance to get some stunning photos and an experience you will never forget. Remember warm clothes. The afternoon is free to shop or walk to one of the nearby hilltops overlooking the Ice fjord or go on some of the optional excursions if available. Breakfast is included.
- 1 Nov 2017: Ilulissat
We will go for a walk down to the Sermermiut Valley, approximately 2 kilometres south of Ilulissat. Sermermiut means “The People by the Ice”, and the place has been inhabited from 1400 BC to 1737. In 1727 when the first Danish commercial expedition arrived at the Ice Fjord and discovered Sermermiut, some 250 people were living there. From the valley and the small bay, we walk along the fjord and up onto the hills with a grand view of the Ice fjord. The rest of the day is at your own leisure with the opportunity to book one of the optional tours. Breakfast is included.
- 2 Nov 2017: Ilulissat - Kangerlussuaq – Copenhagen
We go by bus to the airport in the morning and fly via Kangerlussuaq to Copenhagen. Arrival in the evening (CET). Breakfast and a meal on the flight is included.
- Price information
Hotel Hvide Falke
- Shared double room - EUR 998
- Single room supplement - EUR 158
- Flight Kangerlussauq-Ilulissat round trip with Air Greenland and airport taxes
- English-speaking tour leader
- 3 nights at Hotel Hvide Falk
- Guided city walk in Ilulissat
- Boat trip to the Ice Fjord
- Personal expenses
- Meals other than breakfast
- Single room supplement
- Anything not mentioned under “Inclusions”
All prices are per person in Euro
- Shared double room - EUR 1798 - SOLD OUT
- Single room supplement - EUR 248 - SOLD OUT
QAJAK and TUUKKAQ
- Shared double room - EUR 1898
- Single room supplement - EUR 248
- Shared double room - EUR 1998
- Single room supplement - EUR 248 - SOLD OUT
- Shared double room - EUR 2198
- Single room supplement - EUR 348 - SOLD OUT
Optional extension to Ilulissat
Hotel Hvide Falk
- Shared double room - EUR 998
- Single room supplement - EUR 158
- Flight Copenhagen-Kangerlussuaq r/t with Air Greenland
- English-speaking tour leader
- 4 nights at chosen accommodation
- Meals according to itinerary
- Route inspection to the ice sheet
- International flights to/from Copenhagen
- Meals not stated in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- Cancellation insurance due to illness or injury prior to departure
- Travel and health insurance (we strongly recommend you to take out sufficient insurance)
- Accommodation in Copenhagen
- Additional tours and excursions
- Everything not listed under ‘Inclusions’
Marathon or half marathon - EUR 298
Polar Bear Challenge - EUR 398
Race entry includes:
- English-speaking race officials
- Medical team
- Time keeping
- Transport to the starting point
- Manned drink stations including safety equipment
- Start number, medal, running T-shirt
If you hold a passport from a country with visa requirement to enter the Schengen you must apply for a special validation of your Schengen visa to enter Greenland, as Greenland is not part of the EU and Schengen Agreement.
The Schengen visa and special Greenland validation must be applied at the Danish embassy or consulate in your country of residence.
More information on visa for Greenland.
If you are a solo traveller and choose a shared double room when booking, we will pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If you prefer to have your own room, choose single room. A single supplement will apply.
The weather in Greenland is always unpredictable! The average temperature in October is minus 9 degrees Celsius at night and minus 3 degrees Celsius in daytime.
Snow may occur, but Kangerlussuaq is known for its stabile and relatively comfortable climate with little precipitation on an annual basis.
Once again we stress that the weather in Greenland is in a category of its own and unpredictable, so be prepared for strong winds and snow as well. Please read the section on Clothing thoroughly.
Greenland uses the Danish Krone (DKK) as currency. ATM’s are plentiful in Copenhagen as well as currency exchange offices are located in Copenhagen Airport and Copenhagen Central Station.
There are two ATMs in Kangerlussuaq, but the hotel/lodges also accept the major credit cards. It is not possible to exchange money or pay with other currency than Danish Kroner in Kangerlussuaq.
The tap water in Greenland is some of the cleanest in the world, so it is safe to drink water from the tap.
Greenland uses the 2-pin 220 volt electricity plugs. We recommend you to bring an adapter no matter where you travel from.
Note: 2017 flight times are not yet confirmed. And these are expected times only.
Route Copenhagen - Kangerlussuaq – Copenhagen
• 26 OCT CPH - SFJ 09:00 – 09:40 GL781
• 30 OCT SFJ - CPH 11:40 – 20:00 GL782
For participants on the Ilulissat extension
Route Kangerlussuaq - Ilulissat, Ilulissat - Kangerlussuaq, Kangerlussuaq - Copenhagen
• 26 OCT CPH - SFJ 09:00 – 09:40 GL781
• 30 OCT SFJ - JAV 07:35 – 08:20 GL1502
• 02 NOV JAV - SFJ 09:10 – 09:55 GL571
• 02 NOV SFJ - CPH 13:10 – 21:30 GL782
Please note that the above flight times may be subject to change and delays.
Internet and phone
The international country code to call Greenland is +299. Roaming is possible, but Greenland is possibly the most expensive place to roam from in the world, so it is not recommended if you want to keep costs down.
Internet access can be purchased, but is also expensive.
Greenland’s time zone is GMT-3. When the time is 12:00 in London it’s 9:00 in Kangerlussuaq.
Travel insurance is not included in the price. It is strongly recommended for all participants to have sufficient insurance coverage during their stay in Denmark and Greenland.
Albatros Adventure Marathons reserve the right to change the itinerary and/or running course without further notice in the event of extreme weather.
By signing up for this event you agree to the Terms & Conditions.
The 5-day tour starts in Copenhagen, Denmark. All participants will meet at Terminal 2 in Copenhagen Airport. The flight to Greenland departs early in the morning, and Air Greenland does not cooperate with other airlines, meaning you must claim your luggage at Copenhagen Airport, clear customs and check in again for the flight to Greenland.
As check in closes one hour before departure we therefore strongly recommend that you do not book a same day connection, but instead arrive in Copenhagen one or more days in advance. Pre-package nights can be booked in Copenhagen.
On return to Copenhagen the arrival is in the evening. Once again please note that we do not recommend same day connections out of Copenhagen due to the late arrival from Greenland and the fact that luggage can’t be checked in all the way. It is possible to book post-package nights in the city centre.
You can choose between three accommodation sites in Kangerlussuaq, book pre- and post-nights in Copenhagen, and enjoy the hotel view in Ilulissat.
Old Camp is a traditional hostel in Kangerlussuaq. It is located 3km from the airport and offers a fantastic view of the Fjord. The Old Camp consists of three accommodation buildings and a fourth building serving as the reception and souvenir shop. The Qajak and Tuukkaq buildings are newly renovated and features double rooms with two single beds that can be joined as a double bed. The Ulo building consists of bunk bed rooms. All rooms share toilets and showers in the corridors. Look here for more information about Old Camp.
Polar Lodge is a cosy hostel located in Kangerlussuaq about 200m from Hotel Kangerlussuaq and the airport arrival hall. The total capacity is 16 rooms. Toilets and bathrooms are on a shared basis in the hallway. The lodge has a small dining room where breakfast is served, a small kitchen with a stove, refrigerator and kettle, and a souvenir shop. Internet can be purchased in the reception/souvenir shop.
Read more about this Greenland hostel here: World of Greenland - Arctic Circle.
Hotel Kangerlussuaq is directly connected to the main building in the airport complex. It has nice and fairly large single and double rooms with private bathrooms. Breakfast is served in the cafeteria. Wireless internet connection in the rooms can be purchased.
Grand Hotel Copenhagen
The classic Grand Hotel lives up to its name when it comes to charm and Scandinavian style. Built in 1890, the hotel has been lovingly maintained in an elegant, classic style boasting every modern amenity. We welcome you in our inviting reception area and do everything possible to ensure that your stay with us meets the same high standards.
Wireless internet is accessible throughout the hotel at no extra charge.
Just beyond the entrance to the hotel is the heart of Copenhagen and all that it has to offer: Nearby attractions include the world-famous Tivoli Gardens, exclusive shopping galore, an array of inspiring museums and a wide variety of internationally renowned restaurants.
Hotel Hvide Falk, Ilulissat
If you book the extension to Ilulissat you’ll stay at Hotel Hvide Falk - a 3-star hotel right in the heart of town overlooking the Ice fjord. Enjoy your breakfast with a view to the ice bergs floating in the Disko Bay.
The Hotel has 40 non-smoking rooms and wireless internet can be purchased.