GREENLAND IS THE MOST AMAZING PLACE!
In October 2011 the landscape was a vast expanse of white on white as we flew into Kangerlussuaq airport. I asked my mother to join me for the trip as a spectator as she has an adventurous spirit and is my biggest supporter. We were looking forward to experiencing something really different and our hopes were exceeded many times over.
The day before the race, we drove over the route in heated 4WD vehicles. Reaching the icecap we unloaded to feel the full force of the cold at around -15 that day. I’m not sure if it comforted or worried the competitors having seen the spectacular beauty and technical difficulty of the icecap but I know that my heart was pounding as I drifted off to sleep that night.
On race day there were 47 men and 14 women running the marathon and 17 in the half marathon. After a brief warm up the start line was set up, the countdown started and away we went. The first 4km was an undulating climb with a very strong wind gust blasting us on one section until we hit the powder snow on the icecap itself. The spikes on my shoes gripped the glacier ice really well and the deep snow was a challenge and soon enough I face-planted on one section thinking it would have looked hilarious to the runners behind. The sun rising over the snow dunes was stunning and I took a moment to take it all in.
After the icecap loop the course headed back to town over a snow covered gravel road, undulating many times and passing frozen rivers, lakes, snow dusted mountains and glacier tongues. It was incredibly surreal to be running in this beautiful arctic wilderness.
Every 5km had a manned vehicle with hot blackberry drinks and energy bars and were a welcome sight as we not only refuelled but received encouraging words and bright smiles. Approaching the last kilometre the town was clearly visible and an overwhelming feeling of achievement flooded my senses. My mum was standing on the finish line and as I crossed it heard that I was the 2nd female to finish which was a real thrill as I didn’t know who was ahead of me. Mum cried as she hugged me and it was a moment in time I will never forget.
The camaraderie amongst the other competitors from around the world was fantastic and I’ve made some new friends to catch up with at future overseas races. The celebration dinner the following night was a lot of fun and capped off an amazing experience which will remain one of the highlights of my life.