Events

North Pole Marathon

On Friday 10th April, Annie is running a marathon at the top of the world – The North Pole Marathon.

You may have seen Annie’s alter ego Pi Nanuk  – a friendly polar bear – at the Lighting Design Awards or dancing round Kendal with 5 fellow bears and on social media. You may have also seen Pi appearing in our logo.

Just in-case you have missed them, the images below show what they have been up to. You can also follow Pi’s antics on Facebook – Pi Nanuk or Twitter @LakelandPolar.

Annie & Pi are fundraising  for Samaritans, and would like your help.

You can donate here www.virginmoneygiving.com/AnnieRawlinson.

Facts about the north pole marathon:

  • Member of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races
  • Only certified marathon that is run entirely ‘on’ water, the frozen water of the Arctic Ocean
  • Recognised by Guinness World Records as the Northernmost Marathon on Earth
  • Dubbed the ‘World’s Coolest Marathon’ by Runner’s World magazine in 2004
  • The first North Pole Marathon occured on 5th April 2002 when Richard Donovan (IRL) ran the distance alone
  • There have been 12 North Pole Marathons to date
  • Approximately 350 people from 40 nations have sucessfully completed the event
  • It’s impossible to predict winning times because weather conditions and terrain are variable from one year to the next
  • The men’s record of 3:36:10 was set by Thomas Maguire (IRL) in 2007
  • The women’s record of 4:52:45 was set by Anne-Marie Flammersfeld (GER) in 2014
  • Two guided blind athletes, Mark Pollock and Jamie Cuthbertson, completed the race in 2004 and 2010, respectively
  • In 2007, William Tan – a wheelchair competitor – completed a marathon distance on the aircraft runway
  • Participants are eligible to join the exclusive Marathon Grand Slam Club by finishing a marathon on each of the seven continents and the North Pole Marathon

Full race information can be found at www.npmarathon.com

Annie and Mike are currently in Svalbard, Norway, awaiting transportation to the north pole, where the accommodation is a custom made, temporary camp on top of a giant ice floe.

Annie is scheduled to fly to the north pole at 1.30am, this Friday morning (10th April) on the first of two flights taking the 45 of the competitors to the race.

Profiles of the Competitors are below;

2015 Competitors

1) Michael Baer(SUI)

Michael is Chairman and Founder of Baer Capital Partners, an alternative asset manager with an India focus. He is also Chairman of a Swiss bank, an agriculture venture in India and a UK based investment management company.  In addition, he has been involved in a variety of start-ups. He has over 30 years of international experience in investment banking, trading, and private banking. Michael started running only four years ago and quickly decided to take on the challenge of marathon length events. The Dubai marathon was the first, followed by Zurich, Berlin and Mumbai. He subsequently decided to run on every continent, a challenge he has completed in 2014 with his fellow YPOers (Young Presidents Organization). The ultimate challenge of getting a grand slam medal, and being the first Swiss to do so, is rather appealing.   Other than running, Michael is an ardent skier and enjoys touring in the mountains of Austria during the winter months.

2) Harry Botha(RSA)

Harry is 73 years old and is from Ballito in South Africa. After retiring at the age of 65, Harry started to serious running. Prior to this, he had jogged occasionally but rarely going beyond a distance of 10k. He met his running partner, Lenana Fischer, who then encouraged Harry to run his first marathon in Berlin 2008. After this he ran the 5 marathons which make up the ‘World Marathon Majors’ (Berlin, London, New York, Boston and Chicago). He has already completed a marathon on each on the 7 Continents including the Antarctic Ice Marathon. Harry recently took part in the Mount Everest Base Camp Marathon where the start line was at an altitude of 5,300 metres and finishing in Namiche Bazaar at 3,400 metres. In total, Harry has completed 14 marathons and is determined to finish the North Pole Marathon so that he can join the Grand Slam Club.

3) Jon Brand(AUS)

Jon ran his first marathon in 1990 at the age of 25. He regularly saw Rob ‘Deeks’ de Castella out running in those days and like a generation of long distance runners, was inspired by his achievements. Fast forward 25 years and he is the proud father of four children. He still runs regularly although now he often runs with his children, just as his father ran with him. Running has always been a very personal endeavour for Jon. It’s an opportunity to challenge himself, to impress himself, but also an opportunity to set a good example to his family and friends.For a long time he has had a goal to run an epic marathon, through a desert, at altitude or across the ice, but always considered it a selfish pursuit. Being part of the Indigenous Marathon Project is allowing him to achieve this dream whilst helping other people achieve their dreams.

4) Alice Burch(GBR)

Alice is a talented in-house lawyer but now owns a marine recruitment company in Southampton. She loves various activities including Running, Hockey, Salsa and Triathlons. She completed the Weymouth Challenge Middle Distance last year and plans to compete in the Ironman 70.3 Barcelona and Ironman full distance Copenhagen later this year. Alice is also attempting to enter the Guinness Book of Records by running 60 marathons in 60 consecutive days in October. You can get involved by visiting www.spana.org.60:60 or join her Facebook group.

5) Simon Cariss(AUS)

The North Pole Marathon will be Simon’s fourth marathon. With a career in the HR It Industry for PageUp, he travels a lot and the first thing he always packs is  his running gear. Travel is an opportunity for Simon to run in as many places as possible. Originally from Australia, Simon is currently living in Singapore. He enterted the North Pole Marathon as he was looking for an extreme challenge that matched running with adventure that pushes him to the limit (and a bit beyond). “I don’t spend a lot of time in the snow but when I do I prefer to run the slopes than Ski” explains Simon. He is raising money for the http://lilyroo.org/  foundation, a non-profit fund giving hope to premature babies by proudly supporting the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, and raising awareness of premature birth.

6) Jennifer Cheung(CHN /HKG)

Jennifer is a social worker who has been working with the Society for the Aids and Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers (SARDA) for more than 17 years. Her job is to assist the drug abusers to quit their addictive habits and to restore a healthy life. Rehabilitation is never an easy process, and her clients always meet difficulties that frustrate their motivation to carry on their life re-construction. By participating in the North Pole Marathon she hopes to act as a role model, spreading the message of “Run through the Limits, Run for your Dreams’’ as a mean to encourage the rehabilitated groups, especially her clients, to break through their encountered problems and continue to pursue their life goals.

7) Chien-Liang Chou(TPE / USA)

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8) Mark Collins(USA)

Mark has participated in numerous marathons since 2009 and joined the 7 Continents Marathon Club after finishing the Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2013. Among his previous marathons were Athens (Greece), Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Pacasmayo (Peru), Singapore, and New South Wales Australia. To combine running with travel and adventure, such as climbing Kilimanjaro and hiking along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, makes for great memories and Mark is looking forward to more adventure-type events. According to Mark “Upon finishing the Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2013, the only way to look was up…to the North Pole that is, gotta complete the Grand Slam!”

9) Karen Curtis(USA)

Karen is looking to complete seven marathons on seven continents and the “grand slam” (with her good friend Jason Schneider) while trying to find the most interesting events on the planet. Her first marathon was part of an ironman distance triathlon in North America followed by the Antarctic Ice Marathon and the Jungle Marathon in South America. After the North Pole marathon, Karen will be checking Europe off the list with the London marathon on April 26th. Karen is considering MDS for Africa in 2016 and is open to suggestions for “interesting” events in Asia and Oceania. While at the North Pole, Karen has been tasked with tracking down Santa and hand delivering some special letters from the kids in the family!

10) Alan Davison(GBR)

Alan is a lifelong athlete whose competitive career began at schoolboy level. He ran in school cross country events and raced bikes and time trials at schoolboy level. He enjoyed moderate success in running, cycling and then naturally fell into Triathlon when it arrived in the UK during the 80’s. Alan has run countless races (well over 200) from 1500m to marathon and every triathlon distance from sprint to Ironman. “ I still feel as competitive today as I always have when I put my toe on any start line.” He decided to enter the North Pole marathon in early 2014 whilst browsing the web and planning a solo polar trip. His philosophy in sport is “if it is hurting me, then it must be killing them”. During the latter part of 2014 Alan’s mother was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph system. She embarked on a course of chemotherapy in the last quarter of 2014 and to date has responded superbly well to treatment. She still has a couple of courses of Radiotherapy to have but on the whole she is on the mend and doing very well indeed. This year Alan will be raising money for Cancer Research in the hope that more and more people will benefit from new treatments that valuable research brings about.

11) Tanj Donovan(IRL)

Tanj attends high school in the USA and is a former Irish national champion at swimming. While attending Haas Academy in Fayetteville, Arkansas, she has won the State 2-mile championships and 4 x 800m relay. She enjoys cross-country as well as track but has never run more than 13 miles to date! Her father Paul is a two-time Olympian and world indoor medallist, also winning two individual NCAA titles on the track.

12) Marcus Fillinger(AUS)

Marcus is a professional Advertising Photographer, Royal Australian Air Force photographer (specialist reserve), tranquiliser firearms instructor and Director of the animal rescue organisation Alphadog AnimalArmy Inc. At the North Pole, he is embarking on the first stop of a two-part ice dive / free dive expedition series of the world’s water-based poles; the Geographic North Pole in April 2015, and the Magnetic North Pole in March 2016. Before setting out on his polar dive world record expedition, Marcus will run the North Pole Marathon. He will be accompanied by two of his expedition huskies during part of the marathon, and subsequent polar ice dive expedition.  He hopes people around the world will support the Alphadog AnimalArmy Inc charitable initiative, dubbed “Ks for Kangaroos”, and help raise urgently needed funds to further his charity’s research into ethical non-lethal wildlife solutions:www.alphadog.org.au. “My mission is to ensure the safe future of native wildlife in Australia and around the world by promoting  intelligent, non-lethal solutions developed by Alphadog AnimalArmy and provide an ethical response to rapidly diminishing wildlife habitats. Alphadog AnimalArmy is leading the way in research and development of dart efficiency for the remote delivery of fertility control vaccines for native wildlife. Native habitats are diminishing rapidly and it’s our Alpha Dog to be proactive. It’s time we here in Australia lift our game, and join those at the forefront of ethical wildlife management”. To this end, Marcus will officially announce his intent to run as an Independent in the 2016 ACT Election live from the North Pole. “The complete absence of intent to genuinely commit too, or proceed with, a practical and intelligent plan to progress these matters have motivated me to take a stand and to do what’s right for those with no voice. We appear to have a current culture of deception, closed door politics, and questionable moral agendas. It’s time we stopped being bullied, and embrace ethical ways forward to help our wildlife in their ever decreasing habitats”.

13) Simon Grabowski(POL)

Lover of extreme races, member of GetResponse Power Runners (and the CEO of the Company), Simon answers to the marathon challenge for the second time! Previously he faced the hot summer sands on the Baltic sea coastline and now he will brave snowy extremes of the icy Arctic. Simon is a dedicated family man and a total fan of all things digital, who makes sure to pass on his two passions: running and computers to his sons Jaś (9) and Staś (3).

14) Paul Grealish(IRL)

Paul is a polar running specialist who rarely runs marathons outside of polar circles! On this occasion, he will probably have a big proud head on him as he will be running a fourth North Pole Marathon – nobody has done this before. He previously ran the North Pole Marathon in 2004, 2012 and 2014 and completed the Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2010 and the Volcano Marathon in 2013. The only blemish on his marathon history has been the completion of a ‘normal’ marathon in Paris. As per normal, Paul hasn’t been really bothered to train for the event.

15) Martin Havlena(CZE)

Martin is the co-owner of Author bicycles who distribute and sell to over 20 countries worldwide. Aside from his passion for developing, designing and riding bike, he also lovesnature and adventure. Last year Martin was in K2 as a member of successful expedition. Martin’s other adventures have included such diverse locations as Karakoram(climbing Gasherbrum peaks), Himalayas, Andes, Alaska and the African deserts. His mottos are: “Via Meta Est” and “Carpe Diem”.

16) Heather Hawkins(AUS)

Coming all the way from Coogee, on the east coast of Australia, Heather’s really looking forward to the experience of swapping the beach sand beneath her feet with the ice floes of the North Pole. Heather’s a 50 year old mother of two, who only took up long distance running two years ago…. yet in that time she’s clocked up 6 marathons, 2 ultra marathons and several half marathons. She’s a firm believer that it’s a truly fabulous and surprisingly healthy way of having a midlife crisis! Since overcoming Ovarian cancer in 2007 Heather hasn’t looked back, becoming a qualified Australian Surf Life Saver, trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal in the middle of winter and she’s currently hard at work writing a children’s novel based on her adventures in the remote Outback of Australia. Heather hopes that by running in the North Pole Marathon she’ll tick another challenge off her ‘Second chance at Life’ list and she plans to cross the finish line wearing her Surf Life Saving cap, wearing a teale ribbon to help raise awareness about Ovarian Cancer https://ovariancancer.net.au/ and to celebrate the occasion with an ice angel!

17) Steve Hill(GBR)

Steve is the Deputy Head and Year 6 Teacher at St. Joseph’s RC Primary school. He has a motto within his classroom of “Work Hard – Play Hard” and each year he embarks upon a “Mr. Hill’s Challenge”. These personal Challenges are the catalyst for Charity Fundraising and over the last few years they have managed to raise well over £50,000 for a variety of local charities. These challenges are always fully self-funded and have included:- climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, climbing Mont Blanc, climbing Mount Elbrus, trekking through the Sahara Desert, trekking through the Arctic with huskies, trekking through the Jungles of Borneo, trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp and completing the Tenzing Hillary Mount Everest Marathon in 2014. The Charities supported over the years are the Christie Hospital, Dr. Kershaw’s Hospice, Cancer Research UK, PKD Charity, Help for Heroes, Alzheimer’s Society, The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, When You Wish Upon a Star, MacMillan Cancer Support, Leaukemia & Lymphoma Research, British Heart Foundation, S.A.N.D.S & MS Society. The North Pole Marathon is a massive personal challenge which will push Steve to his limits and help to raise money for some great local charities. More importantly, he hopes that completing the North Pole Marathon will inspire the children he teaches to believe that they too can achieve anything that they put their minds too – “I always tell them that if they believe they can do something then they are half way to achieving it!!” In the New Years Honours 2015 Steve was awarded an MBE for services to Education & Charity.

18) Arthur Kadar(ROM / HUN)

Arthur is 29 and has dual Hungarian and Romanian nationality. He grew up in a multicultural environment at the intersection of cultures and borders of Hungary, Romania and Ukraine. Cultural exchange is his biggest passion and that’s why he lives outside his home country. He currently works as a customer service manager in a French sports store and his professional plans are to became head of an international company.“I aspire at greatness in everything I do and I’m always in search of the so called ‘impossible’. The North Pole Marathon was something ‘impossible’ one and a half years ago when I first thought at doing it.” In fact, the North Pole Marathon will be his first ever running competition. A keen sportsman, Arthur does a lot of swimming and cycling but only started running on a regular basis nine month ago.

19) Gloria Lau(SIN)

The North Pole Marathon will be Gloria’s twelfth marathon. To date she has completed a marathon on all 7 continents, including the Antarctic Ice Marathon, Mt. Everest  Marathon and the Great Wall of China to name a few. Completion of the North Pole Marathon will see Gloria become a member of the Grand Slam Club. She is also the first Singaporean female to complete 7 marathons on 7 continents (at the age of 64). Once she completed her marathons on each continent she set herself the next goal, to run on sea ice at the North Pole!

20)Harald Maier(AUT)

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21) Tony Mangan(IRL)

Tony is the World Indoor Record Holder for 48 Hours, running the equivalent of 10 marathons during the period, and recently ran 50,000km over four years to circumnavigate the planet. His global run began in Dublin in 2010. After running across Ireland, Tony proceeded from Newfoundland down through Canada and the USA, Mexico, Central America, and the entire length of South America. He then ran across Fiji, the entire length of New Zealand and then Australia, followed by East Timor, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, India, Iran, Turkey and across Europe. After crossing the UK from Dover, he finished his global odyssey with a 1600km lap of Ireland! In all, he completed the equivalent of about 1,185 marathons in the process. Tony’s truly pic adventure is detailed on his blog: www.theworldjog.com. As an aside, Tony actually holds the official World Treadmill Record for 48 Hours too!

22) Audrey McIntosh(GBR / SCO)

Audrey is an experienced marathon and ultra marathon runner mainly running in the Scottish Highlands where there is a wide range of challenging ultra events. In 2013 she ran both the Antarctic Ice Marathon and the Antarctic 100km. In 2014 she took her running journey northwards and completed the Volcano Marathon, and has now worked her way to the top of the world. Audrey fundraises for Alzheimer Scotland. The disease has affected her immediate and wider family https://www.justgiving.com/Audrey-McIntosh1/

23) Martin Molsater(NOR)

Martin is a 44-year old equity fund manager that started with endurance sports ten years ago. He has run 7 marathons and several long distance cross country ski races up to 90k. His favorite running environment is up-hill mountain running. After an initial period of racing marathons for fastest time, with a pb of 2.48, he now just runs for fun. His next marathon is the Medoc Marathon together with his wife in Southern France. This race combines two of his favorite activities: running in a scenic environment and being served good wine.

24) Tuedon Morgan(NGR)

Tuedon is married with four sons and will be 42-years-old when she runs the North Pole Marathon. Following the birth of her youngest son in 2008, she tipped the scale at 121kg and wore a UK size 26.  She was also struggling with her health and living with constant pain in her legs due to excess weight. Having previously weighed 63 kg, this was a big wakeup call.  The result was that she vowed to change her sedentary lifestyle as well as herrelationship with food.  “Even though I was embarrassed by my size, I timidly entered a gym for the first time and swore to myself that my commitment was real and long term.”  She has been running for 3 years and has completed 34 full marathons/ultras. She is running the North Pole Marathon to experience something unique and different. Tee will be running on behalf of the National Black Marathoner Association and hoping to inspire others that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. “After all the North Pole Marathon is extraordinary”.

25) Stephane Nedelec(FRA)

Stephane is a 43-year-old runner who loves adventure. For the last four years he has been living in Cameroon, far from his native country. His races to date include the 100km de Millau, the Marathon des Sables and the Iron Man de Nice. His reason for running the North Pole Marathon is to live a new adventure, far removed from his typical daily climate of 35° degrees whilst discovering a new region on the globe. “I am very happy to participate with others in this ‘little bit’ crazy Race!”

26) Patrick Ngan(CHN / HKG)

With one goal in mind,  to see the world, Partick embarked on his running journey in 2010. Since then he has completed 20 full distance marathons in cities such as New York, Tokyo, Paris, Beijing and to more exotic countries like Pyongyang of North Korea and Yangon of Myanmar. He has set foot and conquered a marathon on six of the seven continents – Asia, Oceania, Europe, Africa, North America and South America with only the North Pole and Antartica to go before completing the Grand Slam! One foot forward at a time, one race at a time, one country at a time. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” ~ 2Tim4:7

27) Daniel Palko(SVK)

Daniel is a former top downhill skier. He is and now an experienced Ironman athlete with numerous finishes and a personal best of 9:24. He finished the 2013 Antarctic Ice Marathon in third place and the Antarctic 100k in second place.

28) Haidong Pan(CHN)

Haidong is educated in Beijing, China and Boston, United States. He feels he spent too many years in schools but did not run much. He’s the founder of baike.com, “The Chinese Wikipedia” and also an investor in TMT (Telecommunications, Media and Technology) field. As an entrepreneur, he thinks that marathon running is another way of practicing entrepreneurship, belief, persistence, landscape and experience.  He would like to take the North Pole Marathon as a starting point to embrace the huge challenges he’ll face on the way to ultra marathons.

29) Samir Patel(USA)

Samir is a medical doctor specializing in Internal Medicine and he runs a private practice in New Jersey. Completing this marathon will enable him to become part of the Marathon Grand Slam Club, a quest which he started 4 years ago and which he hopes to complete in the year of his 40th birthday.  He completed and joined The Seven Continents Marathon Club after completing the Ice Marathon in Antarctica in November of 2014. While iron distance triathlon events have recently sparked an interest for Samir, he enjoys marathon running events most.  Running marathons has enabled him to take on challenges and obstacles in his life that would have seemed nearly impossible to deal with prior.  He runs as an example of healthy living for both his patients and his two young children. Even though running is a mostly solitary activity for him, the support and encouragement provided by both his family and friends is what drives him unrelentingly forward.

30) Chris Petrie(GBR)

Chris is a Director of his own business of Independent Financial Advisers.  He lives in Northamptonshire (England) with his wife Liz and two daughters Olivia (11) and Lucy (9). Having enjoyed cross country running from schooldays, he has run three “normal” marathons – although none since 2006.   His usual distance in recent years has been 10k races, so this challenge is a decent step up!  Chris is very much looking forward to the exciting adventure and challenge of running a marathon at the North Pole and notes that his most northerly trip to date has been Scotland! The trip is being funded personally and he is raising money for two charities – National Autistic Society (his eldest daughter Olivia has Asperger’s) and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

31) Karl Michael Pilsl(AUT)

Karmichael is a professional speaker and author from Austria. He is married to Christie for 24 years and together they have 6 children. This is his first marathon but he has no doubt that he is ready for the challenge ahead!

32) Jaroslaw Rajtar(POL)

Jaroslaw, a former international handball payer, joined The 7 Continents Marathon Club by completing the 2009 Antarctic Ice Marathon.  After completing the 2015 North Pole Marathon he will become a member of the Marathon Grand Slam Club by finishing a marathon on all seven continents and on the Arctic Ocean at the North Pole.

33) Annie Rawlinson(GBR)

Annie hails from the English Lake District.  She is a Samaritan Listening Volunteer and is, by her own admission, more fun-running fundraiser than athlete! The UVU North Pole Marathon will be her 6th marathon – London 3 times, Dubai and on her 50th birthday last year, the Lake Baikal International Ice Marathon in Siberia. Always searching for that extra challenge she is looking forward to her visit to the North Pole. She and her alter ego, “Pi Nanuk” – a domesticated, house-trained, people-loving Polar Bear – are particularly excited at the prospect of being quite literally on top of the World! Annie with the help of Pi is once again fundraising for Samaritans and is sponsored by njoTechnology Ltd, the LED lighting company she started with her husband, Mike 20 years ago. Speaking about running at the North Pole, Annie made a very good point; “At least it won’t get dark – so no pressure to finish before nightfall!”

34) Peter Reilly(USA)

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35) Jason Schneider(USA)

A full-time endurance sports coach with his own training and coaching company. Jason has been running marathon / half-marathons for the past 28 years, and triathlon and Ironman distances for 13 years. He has been raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma society for many years through Team in Training and has been coaching the TNT Ironteam and Cycle team, helping hundreds of athletes to reach their goals. He will be running the North Pole Marathon with his friend Karen.

36) Markus Schramm(GER)

Markus is a 52 year old Manager based in Munich. He started running marathons 10 years ago after a long career as a soccer goalkeeper (too lazy to run). During his first international marathon in New York in 2006 he decided to go for the Marathon Grand Slam Club with marathons on all 7 continents and the North Pole. After finishing New York, Athens, Beijing, Sydney, Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro – 2015 is going to be the final ‘icy’ year with running the North Pole in April and the Antarctic Ice Marathon in November. Markus is really looking  forward to this extraordinary challenge and experience.

37) Gary Seery(IRL)

Gary is the Director of IT at Hibernia Networks and is married to Lisa who together have 3 wonderful kids. He is very passionate about long distance running, One of his main reasons for running is to promote the positive impact of running on mental health. He is proud to be an Ambassador for See Change in Ireland. He is a member of Dublin Bay Running Club and can be spotted running along the coast on the Northside of Dublin. Gary is taking on this challenge with his team mate David from Ciena, both of them are running to raise funds and awareness for Habitat for Humanity.

38) Adrian Dodson-Shaw(AUS)

Adrian wil be the first known Indigenous Australian to stand at the North Pole and also participate in the marathon. He was born in Derby, Western Australia  in 1984. His father is a Yawuru man from Broome and  his mother is a Kaytetye/Arrernte woman from Alice Springs. Adrian’s involvement in the Indigenous Marathon Project in 2014 was a life changing transformation. He was challenged to get fit and in doing so it changed his life style surrounding alcohol and the binge culture it creates. It brought the best out of him and he became the role model he wanted to be for his kids. Adrian jumped at the chance to continue pushing his boundaries by applying for the North Pole Marathon and in doing so, becomes the first Aboriginal Australian to compete in one of the world’s most gruelling challenges.

39) Michael Shepherd(GBR)

In October 2012, Mike had a series of heart scares that resulted in him having a pace maker fitted. This affected his fitness, training and outlook on life. When that sort of life changing event occurs most people take a good look at their lives and decide what is important. For Mike, it was his family. He decided  to do something that would help all families who struggle with ME / CFS. His daughter has had ME / Chronic Fatigue since September 2008 and he saw firsthand how damaging ME can be to a person’s life, their prospects and their family. Since applying to run the marathon his wife has fallen ill with Fibromyalgia, meaning that she is now wheelchair bound and shows very similar signs mentally to that of Alzheimer sufferers. Mike is now the carer for both his wife and daughter. “Whilst I have run many half marathons I have found that marathons are a big stretch and so I have only done two so far. The first was the London Marathon in 2010 where I trapped a nerve in my hip at 18.5 miles and had to walk to the end, but at least I finished. The second was the Brighton Marathon in 2012. This one I ran all the way in 4 hours 33 minutes, but I was tired in a big way. My aim in doing this outlandish North Pole marathon is to show the world that there is life after having a pacemaker. I am also hoping to raise a considerable amount of money for charity.”

40) Gilbert Summa(FRA)

After an absence from the sport, Gilbert started running again when he was 50 years old but had never run more than a half marathon. Like ‘Forrest Gump’, he decided to run  longer and his first marathon was the Medoc Marathon. He hopes to join the 7 Continents Marathon Club in the next few years (so far : Marathon de Paris, Nagano Marathon, Marathon de Tanger). He is a member of Kiwanis International and Gilbert is fundraising for “UNICEF – ELIMLINATE”, a not-for-profit charity that provides help and health to the underprivileged children all around the world (http://team.unicef.fr/projects/marathon-du-pole-nord-2015).  The goal of the ELIMINATE Project is to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (http://sites.kiwanis.org/Kiwanis/en/theELIMINATEproject). As a professional, Gilbert has managed companies in the IT world. His motto is : “It is not because things are difficult that  we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.” Seneca

41) Petr Vabrousek(CZE)

Petr won the 2011 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Cup and is a veteran of 152 Ironman distance triathlons. The professional triathlete won both the 2013 Antarctic Ice Marathon and the 2013 Antarctic 100k. Pete holds a 2:31 marathon PB. See www.facebook.com/PetrVabrousek for more information and updates on him.

42) David van de Wetering(CAN)

Dave is from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He will be running with new friend Gary Seery to raise funds and awareness for Habitat for Humanity. Gary and Dave are both in high tech communications, Gary for Hibernia Networks and Dave with Ciena, the network specialist. Running in cold weather is the norm for Dave. When he was in college he would run home from school in -20C weather.  As Dave got older, he sought out more extreme challenges, achieving a number of Olympic and one Iron Man Distance Triathlon.

43) Robert White(USA)

Robert has competed in many multisport events over the last 23 years. He has finished 15 ironman distance triathlons.  He took some time off from multisport the last couple years to race Jeeps (desert racing).  He is looking to the North Pole Marathon and a few more Ironman triathlons and to finish a goal of competing in each continent. “I am happy to have my Dad with me. He has inspired me with his many marathons and pursuit of many adventures.”

44) Douglas Wilson(AUS)

Doug was due to run the North Pole Marathon in 2014 but was diagnosed with a life threatening brain tumour mid 2013. He subsequently underwent a 13 hour operation that landed him in ICU clinging for life and culminating in Meningitis and Swine Flu. “It was grim but somehow I pulled through. During my recovery I had it in mind I’d still be able to run the North Pole 5 months after being released from hospital. It wasn’t the case as I had to learn to walk again.” After successfully completing the World Marathon Challenge (7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days) in January 2015, Doug is now hoping to be successful at the North Pole and complete the Grand Slam in record time.

45) Marianna Zaikova(FIN)

Marianna became the first woman in history to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days when she completed the World Marathon Challenge in January 2015. The 30-year-old is now also ready to set a Grand Slam Record by running a marathon on all 7 continents + the Arctic Ocean in the shortest time period.

 

 

We wish Annie the best of luck