A guide to the Baikal Marathon
If you’re enjoying running out there in the colder weather, we might have a new challenge for you.
The Baikal Marathon is the world’s only long-distance race held entirely on the ice of a frozen fresh water lake. Held in the Irkutsk region in Siberian Russia, the frozen ice of Lake Baikal provides 42.2km of bleak unchanging scenery, slippery surfaces and a unique sense of satisfaction.
The Baikal Marathon is held as part of the larger Winteriada Baikal Winter Games Festival, and occurs alongside other activities like ice fishing, ice skating and even ice golfing tournaments.
Competitors start at Tanhoi on the western edge of the lake and head south, directly across the lake to Listvyanka on the eastern shore. There are distance markers every 5km, and occasional food and water stations, but little else to indicate progress along the track. The surface of the lake is varied, with patches of glass-like smooth ice, and plenty of ‘hummocks’ – ice rubble caused by geothermic activity under the surface.
The Baikal Marathon carries the tagline, ‘for the preservation of clean water’. The marathon is run in part to draw international attention to the rich biodiversity of the region and attempts to protect it for future generations.
Last year 120 men and women competed in the marathon, from 50 countries. The record is 2:55:51, which should give an indication as to the level of difficulty competitors face.
Eligible competitors must provide proof that they have previously completed a marathon within 4:05, or 2:10 for a half marathon, within the last three years. For those who have competed at 10K level only, a separate acclimatisation and training package must be undertaken prior to the race.
The 620 Euro fee includes 2 night’s accommodation, transfers and some meals. The 14th Baikal Ice Marathon will be run on March 7, 2018.
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