Good Form Will Carry You Through®

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Antarctica Again – Competing in World’s Toughest Marathon

By on 02/07/2013 in Running
Antarctica Marathon  – World’s Toughest Marathon

Antarctica Marathon – World’s Toughest Marathon.

I’m running the Antarctica Marathon on March 7, in exactly one month. It is the second time I’ve run this race (once can be a lucky break, but two times is a trend). It is billed as “Running’s Greatest Adventure,” and it certainly is one of the most unpredictable races anywhere. We run over a trail of mud, snow and ice … following a few days at sea where practically everyone fights seasickness and tries to stave off the resulting dehydration. The weather is unpredictable and potentially dangerous on race-day. But, as I keep repeating to myself, “Good form will carry you through.℠” Even during what some think is the toughest marathon in the world.

I arrive on King George Island Antarctica on March 6 and run Antarctica the next day, after three days at sea, on a small boat that launches from the southernmost city in Argentina. Ice and wind storms, blizzards or deep freezes can occur with little notice. Runners also have to be weary of wildlife such as penguins, seals or the deadly sea leopard.

The course is an unpaved, ice-hardened dirt road that connects international science stations of several countries on King George Island.  Fewer than 150 athletes are allowed to run the marathon due to concerns that crowds of runners will disturb the island’s pristine environment. There are no spectators along the course, and it’s easy to wander off course during a flash blizzard. Staying safe and alive is my main objective in completing this race.

My goal is to finish the marathon between five and six hours, which is about 50 percent slower than my average marathon time. I plan on running a strategic race – planning a smart race and racing my plan. Six years ago, I had a reaction to medication and had some hallucinations in the second half of the race. I was lucid enough to understand that if I wandered off the trail, it was likely no one would find me for several hours. So I didn’t finish the race, because my personal safety was paramount – and I listened to what my body was telling me. When I complete this marathon, it will fulfill my life-long goal of completing a marathon on all 7 continents and in all 50 states.

This year, I have prepared as best I can for the unpredictability. In this race, the weather and other elements are in control, so we do the best we can. Sometimes it seems running a race like this seems impossible. After a while, the goal becomes improbable. And ultimately, there comes a point when success becomes inevitable.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share how I’ve trained for this marathon. “Friend” me on Facebook to get updates – look for “CoachBrendanCournane.” And check back on the Coach Brendan blog for a complete summary of the race.

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