Polar Circle Marathon

26-27 Oct 2019

A record-setting year at the 2016 Polar Circle Marathon

The Polar Bear Challenge sees the highest participation ever, and the weekend’s top female finisher takes first in both the marathon and half-marathon events

Copenhagen, Denmark – (Tuesday, November 15, 2016) – The snow has settled for another year on Greenland’s Ice Sheet as a record-setting race weekend wrapped up at the 13th edition of the Polar Circle Marathon, hosted by Albatros Adventure Marathons.

Runners from 25 nations around the world boldly battled extreme arctic conditions with 58 participants running the classic 42.2km marathon on Saturday and 27 participants running the 21.1km half-marathon on Sunday. However, this year’s event set a new record with 91 runners participating in the Polar Bear Challenge – a special combined event where runners endured freezing conditions to complete both distances!
The backdrop of the Polar Circle Marathon, which is held annually in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, is characterized by endless ice, arctic tundra and hilly terrain. Runners pass glacier tongues, moraine landscapes and must maintain their resolve amid the soundless, arctic desert. The steepest ascents include the climb following the ice sheet and an approximate 75m-high climb located 5km before the finish line. Temperatures are at or below freezing and the winds are typically strong. During this year’s event, thick dunes of drifting snow blanketed the marathon and half-marathon routes, forcing runners to carefully find suitable footing as they navigated through the soft snow.

On Saturday, the marathoners enjoyed clear blue skies, but faced temperatures of -15°C (5°F) temperatures and wind speeds of 20-25 knots on the ice cap. Several hours into the race, they received a welcomed reprieve from face-tingling conditions as the blustery winds settled. Benedict John Osborne of the United Kingdom crossed the finish line first with a time of 3:38:43, while Charlotte Hvid Olavsgaard of Denmark took first in the women’s race with a time of 4:25:51. One hundred and thirty-five participants crossed the finish line within the 7-hour time limit.

On Sunday, runners awoke to slightly warmer temperatures, which hovered just at freezing throughout the half-marathon, yet they remained challenged by strong gusty winds of 30-35 knots. Didier Dhondt of Belgium completed the 21.1km event with a time of 1:48:28. In the women’s category, a new record was set as Charlotte Hvid Olavsgaard crossed the finish line in 2:19:55, becoming the first woman to take first place in both the half-marathon and marathon. One hundred and four participants crossed the finish line within the 4-hour time limit.

Commenting on the nature of the Polar Circle Marathon and their other running events, Lars Fyhr, Race Director and Head of Albatros Adventure Marathons, said, “Albatros Adventure Marathons are not just about the race — the events are also about sharing a great experience with other running-minded spirits, pushing limits and achieving something extraordinary. Our runners come from various backgrounds and levels of experience, but share a common philosophy — crossing the finish line and enjoying the moments are the top priorities. Regardless of their chosen event, it is fantastic to see the shared energy and comradeship that develops between all participants in such a brief period.”

For a video recap of the 2016 Polar Circle Marathon, visit the AdventureMarathon You Tube channel. For complete results on this year’s event, see the 2016 Polar Circle Marathon Results Report.

Ready to push your limits? The 14th edition of the Polar Circle Marathon will be held October 28-29, 2017 Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. With limited availability and high-demand, the Polar Circle Marathon typically sells out within weeks of registration opening. Further details regarding the 2017 event will be released soon.


Media Inquiries & Image Gallery 
Lars Fyhr
Race Director & Head of Albatros Adventure Marathons
Phone: +45 24778675
Email: LF@albatros-adventure.com
Web Site
Image Gallery



Editor’s Notes:

The Polar Circle Marathon is one of five annual races organized by Albatros Adventure Marathons. Each event includes a tour package and the chosen venues are characterized by locations of exceptional natural beauty and historical significance. From the barren desert landscapes of Petra Desert Marathon in Jordan to the Big Five Marathon amid the African savannah, and epic Great Wall Marathon in Beijing to the mystical temples of Bagan, these remarkable courses challenge even the most experienced runners.

Albatros Adventure Marathons is a division of Albatros Travel, a family-owned and operated travel company headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. From humble beginnings in 1986, Albatros Travel now employs more than 250 staff across three continents, and continues to deliver a collection of unique travels with personal service. All business operations are united under the same set of principles that govern the Albatros Way: a commitment to quality, responsible travel and customer satisfaction.

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What others thought

What a fantastic and intimate experience! I was amazed at the great logistics in such a harsh environment! Lars and Annette and the doctors were amazing hosts!

Lisa Forshey,
2015 Polar Circle Marathon finisher

It was a wonderful experience and the team made a great job making us feel secure and having every detail considered! Every penny worth it!!

Liam Lynch,
2015 Polar Circle Marathon finisher

It was an unbelievable experience, one that was truly out of the ordinary. If you enjoy extreme sports and going to different places, this is one for you. It was also extremely well run by the team in the harshest of conditions.

Heather Casey,
2015 Polar Circle Marathon finisher