The North pole – quite simply the top of the world.
A stunning but desolate landscape. Somewhere you would expect to find the occasional explorer, several drifting stations and the odd polar bear, but certainly not a foot race.
However, starting from the Russian Barneo ice base, 46 competitors from around the world took on the extreme conditions to compete in what has come to be known as the world’s coolest race – the North Pole Marathon.
Apart from the expected bone chilling minus 30-degree temperatures, conditions were near-perfect.
And Gary Thornton, a school teacher from Ireland, took full advantage to win top honours in the men’s race while Britain’s Fiona Oakes claimed the women’s title.
Thornton completed the 26-mile course in a winning time of 3 hours 49 minutes and 29 seconds while Oakes crossed the line in 4 hours 53 minutes and 9 seconds which was good enough to place her third overall, beating 44 of the men in the race.