Polar Circle Marathon

10-11 Apr 2021 / 30-31 Oct 2021

Route & Elevation

Be as prepared as possible to conquer the Arctic with info about elevation and route.

The Polar Circle Marathon features two distances:

Full marathon - 42.195km/26.2mi

Half marathon - 21.1km/13.1mi

For an extra challenge, tackle both races and become a Polar Bear Challenge finisher! 

Route map
Elevation

Disclaimer

Albatros Adventure Marathons reserves the right to change the itinerary and/or running course without further notice in the event of extreme weather. This also includes the decision to cut the course short. All decisions made by the race officials and or medical team are final and not up for discussion.

By signing up for this event you agree to the Terms & Conditions of Albatros Adventure Marathons.

Route Description

The marathon takes place on uneven gravel road and ice.

The run starts about 4 km from the ice sheet and follows the gravel road onto the ice sheet itself. While running on the ice sheet, one must be very attentive and careful, as even with a thick layer of snow on top this section can still be very slippery. Due to the enormous powers of nature and the general retraction of the ice sheet, the exact distance on the ice will only be found a couple of days before the race, but a 3km loop is the aim. Because of the danger of falling into a crevasse, it is strictly forbidden to leave the marked route on the ice sheet.

Coming back up from the ice and passing the starting point, you have approximately 32km left to the finish line in Kangerlussuaq. Please bear in mind that although the road is gravel, it is likely to be covered in a layer of snow. Running these remaining kilometres you will pass enormous glacier tongues and moraine plains and go through tundra and arctic desert. If you are lucky you may also see reindeer and musk oxen grazing along the route. The terrain is hilly all the way with the steepest ascents being the climb coming off the ice sheet and the approximately 75m-high climb 5km before the finish line. From the ice sheet to the finish line, however, the route has an overall descent of approximately 500m.

The marathon finish line is located in front of Polar Lodge in the northern part of Kangerlussuaq.

The half-marathon finish line is located at Long Lake, just before Sanddrift Valley.

Please note that the route description is subject to change according to the forces of nature.

Do not forget that this is first and foremost an adventure. We are far away from comforts of home and this makes it impossible to offer services at the same level usually provided in city marathons.

Route Logistics & Personal Supplies

Kilometre signs will be set up along the entire route. Owing to the conditions, however, they may be placed a few metres from the precise kilometre mark, so use signs for orientation only and don’t calculate your speed based on the signs.

On the ice sheet, the route will be marked with poles and flags. Because of the danger of falling into a crevasse, it is strictly forbidden to leave the marked route on the ice sheet. 

There will be water supplies approximately every 5 kilometres. All drink stations serve water (warm) and at select stations you will also receive warm elderflower cordial.

You can bring personal supplies and extra clothes for the race. Personal supply stations will be situated at the 10th, 21st, and 30th km mark (10km mark only for the half-marathon). Personal supplies must be delivered at the starting area clearly marked with the runner’s bib number and name. 

Be aware that any special supplies (gels, bars, drinks etc.) that you may need during the race should be brought from home. While sports and running shops in Copenhagen will have a variety of foods and drinks for running, you will not find such items in Greenland. Be aware that gels are likely to freeze… 

There are no toilets along the route - meaning you will find a toilet everywhere… Toilet paper is available at all water stations. Remember that we run in wild and unspoiled nature and things do not decompose in freezing temperatures - cups, empty bottles, and all other trash should be put in the litter bags at the water stations – please leave no trace out in nature! 

Personal supplies (food, drinks, clothes, etc.) can be placed at selected drink stations along the route.

Start / Finish

The Polar Circle Marathon & Half-Marathon are both scheduled to start at 8:30am.  Last-minute changes to the start times may occur.

The marathon, being run Saturday, finishes in front of the Polar Lodge where BBQ lunch is available for all participants before heading back to the rooms.
The half marathon, which takes place Sunday, has its finish line at Long Lake located 21 km from Kangerlussuaq. Here a light meal is available at the finish line before runners are transported back to town. 

Runners still on the route after the cut-off time will be picked up by a race official or medical car and driven to the finish area. 

Surface

You will be running on gravel and ice (and snow depending on weather conditions). Please be aware that even when covered by a thick layer of snow, the ice can be very slippery.