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The Polar Circle Marathon Kicks Off on Greenland’s Ice Sheet

2 Minute Read

Albatros Adventure Marathons warmly welcomes 176 international participants this weekend to a sold out event

This weekend, a global gathering of runners will descend upon Greenland’s Ice Sheet to compete in the 13th edition of the Polar Circle Marathon, hosted by Albatros Adventure Marathons.

Sold out in just three weeks, the Polar Circle Marathon’s 176 participants will run the classic 42.2km marathon on Saturday or the 21.1km half-marathon on Sunday. Among these participants, however, 79 runners share an unquestionable mental and physical tenacity, having opted to take on the Polar Bear Challenge – a special combination where the boldest runners endure freezing conditions to complete both distances!


The Polar Circle Marathon takes places in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, where the endless ice and arctic tundra characterize the backdrop of this unusual race. Runners pass glacier tongues, moraine landscapes and must maintain their resolve amid the soundless, arctic desert. It is possible to see reindeer and musk oxen along the route. The terrain is hilly with the steepest ascents being the climb following the ice sheet and an approximate 75m-high climb located 5km before the finish line.

“When you consider the terrain that runner’s must navigate and the freezing temperatures, the Polar Circle Marathon is undoubtedly one of the most extreme races. Fortunately, the climate in the Kangerlussuaq region of Greenland is generally very stable,” said Lars Fyhr, Race Director & Head of Albatros Adventure Marathons.

During the first kilometer, the route leads runners inland onto the snow and ice. Current weather forecasts predict temperatures down to -15°C during Saturday’s full marathon and down to -10°C during Sunday’s half-marathon. While snow may fall, little precipitation is expected in Kangerlussuaq. Prevailing wind conditions are always unpredictable, and strict procedures are in place to ensure the safety of all participants.

This year, runners are registered from Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Gibraltar, Greenland, Holland, Italy, China, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Spain, Great Britain, Sweden, Swaziland, South Africa, Czech Republic, Germany, USA and Austria.


Fyhr added, “It is great to see how the international attention and participation in this race has grown since the inaugural Polar Circle Marathon in 2001. The runners really connect with one another in this fascinating corner of the world, and I think the remoteness and astonishing scenery here in Kangerlussuaq gives everybody a sense of being in the hands of Mother Nature.”

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.

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