Marathons, they’re everywhere – even in Antarctica, providing people such as Queenslander Sharon Ryder with ‘crazy challenges’ that just have to be met.

She describes her recent Travelling Fit-organised run in the frozen northern landscape as incredible.

“It was a crazy challenge due to the environment, weather and elements.”

It is also part of a broader goal to run marathons on seven continents, with Antarctica her fifth. Only South America and Africa to go.

The run gives entrants a rare glimpse of one of the most pristine areas on earth, including the ‘locals’; penguins, seals, whales and icebergs.

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It was colder than Sharon could have ever imagined.

As well as the ‘elements’ challenge, Sharon went into the marathon with three and a half months of her usual running, cycling, swimming and strength work minus the running section at the end of 2015 due to injury.

She thought she was acclimatising herself with runs in the Narita, Japan winter while she was there for work, testing out her newly acquired warm running gear. Antarctica reality was so much colder and windier!

She thought she would be fine rugged up in possum fur gloves, Sealskinz waterproof gloves, balaklava, warm water-resistant hat, waterproof running jacket and waterproof Saloman trail running shoes.

As they started the marathon it was raining and the wind was at 45km/hr. The rain turned to sleet and snow and throughout the morning the winds strengthened to 104km/hr. She wished she’d had her ski goggles on.


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And Windier

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Starting Out

“Only of being blown away! Just kidding. No, not at all. The support from the organisers and staff was outstanding.”

Every time a staff member went past on a buggy during the six laps of the 42.2km, every contestant had to give a thumbs up.

“At times I wished I was on the buggy with him but then reminded myself of why I love marathon running; for the challenge.”

The hardest part of the event was the weather; so cold and snow belting into their faces.

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But at the same time the environment they ran in was incredible and support from fellow runners made it a fantastic atmosphere. All runners are expected to be self-sufficient during the run with no access to indoor facilities.

“We were like a little family – all running along in those conditions – everyone giving it their all.”

And if she could do it all again – she would. But first there’s two more continents to run.