The Antarctica Marathon may have been the first for-profit sporting event held in Antarctica, on January 28, 1995. The event is now held every year in late February or early March. The 42.195-kilometre (26.219 mi) race is held on King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands just off the Antarctic Peninsula. There is also a half-marathon held at the same time. The start and finish is at Bellingshausen Station (the Russian base), and the course passes the Artigas Base (Uruguayan), the Frei Base (Chilean) and the Great Wall Base (Chinese). The course follows a gravel road that connects the bases.
The first marathon held in Antarctica may have been near the American research base, McMurdo Station, in January 1995. The annual marathon is free and is open to employees and grantees of the United States Antarctic Program, United States Air Force personnel on duty at McMurdo Station, as well as Kiwis from New Zealand's nearby research station, Scott Base. Many participants run the full marathon. However, a half marathon option is available. Some participants elect to ski the course. In January 2015, McMurdo Station hosted possibly the first known Ultra Marathon over 30 miles on the continent.
The South Pole has also witnessed runners braving conditions to complete a full 26.2 mile race. Both for-profit and free events have been held outside the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station. The South Pole is possibly the first known location of an Ultra Marathon on the continent, when defining an Ultra as anything over 26.2 miles.
- "The Antarctic Sun: News about Antarctica - Running Down a Dream (page 1)". usap.gov. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- "The First South Pole Marathon". southpolestation.com. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
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