Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Run a Marathon at the North Pole??

Just saw this on www.houstonrunning.blogspot.com and felt it was worth passing along. Julie? Olga? Anyone up to this??

Got What It Takes to Run 26.2 at the North Pole?

BOULDER, Colorado (January 1, 2007) -- Who would like to run amarathon at the North Pole (for free)? Does spending several hours running in sub-zero temperatures further north than even polar bears are willing to go sound like a fun adventure? Brad Feld and YourRunning.com, a new participative online community and website for running enthusiasts, is giving away an entry to the 2007 North Pole Marathon and travel to the event -- valued at well over $12,000.

The winner will be selected from applicants who submit their running resumes to YourRunning.com by midnight US Eastern time on January 31, 2007. A winner will be selected by February 15, and run in the marathon on April 15. (Contest is restricted to athletes from the USA and Canada, excluding Quebec.)


Brad Feld, an avid marathoner and an investor in YourRunning.com's parent company, the Enthusiast Group, was signed up to run in the 2007 North Pole Marathon. While initially excited about the polar run, he reconsidered the prospect of running for 8 hours (his projected time in that environment) in the sub-zero conditions at the top of the Arctic Ocean -- so he decided to pass his already-paid entry on to andsponsor another hardy entrant.

He explains: "When I came up with the idea of running the North Pole Marathon last summer, I thought to myself, 'This will be a fun challenge.' As the time (and the miles) passed, I started to think itwas a crazy idea -- which was reinforced by my friends who simply shook their heads (side to side) whenever I said anything about it. Last month, as I suited up to go for a run in minus 20 degree weather, I realized that it was a 'stupid f*****g idea.' So, I came up with a better one. Since I'd already paid for the entry fee, I'd sponsor someone instead to run for Team Feld.

"YourRunning.com is holding a competition among runners and will award Brad's entry to the person deemed most worthy and capable of succeeding at running long distance at the top of the world -- and documenting the training and actual Arctic marathon experience.

The race

The North Pole Marathon is run at ... yes ... the North Pole, making it the only marathon to be run on water! The winner will be flown to the Pole, where he or she will run on top of a thick sheet of ice on the Arctic Ocean. There should be no worries about polar bears -- they're usually not crazy enough to go this far north -- but race organizers keep weapons handy just in case.

This year, some 50competitors are expected to run.

Racers will be flown to the North Pole where a 2-mile loop will be setup, with warming tents and runner support. Depending on snow and ice conditions, marathon entrants will run in either trail shoes or lightweight snowshoes.

More information can be found at http://www.npmarathon.com.

The competition

YourRunning.com is inviting hardy marathoners to submit their runningand athletic resumes to a North Pole Marathon application. Entrants inthe contest must demonstrate not only their athletic prowess andendurance, but also their media savvy, for part of winning will be theduty to write about the experience of training to run 26.2 miles at the North Pole and to document the race itself, shooting photos andvideo, and recording audio reports.

Entrants in the YourRunning.com North Pole Marathon contest should demonstrate:

* Extensive marathon experience. The winner should be a marathon or ultra-marathon veteran, and perhaps harbor confidence of actually winning the race. This is not a marathon for beginners.

* Experience in cold-weather running. (Do we really need to say more?)

* Strong writing and blogging skills, with experience writing about adventure and sports topics, especially documenting their own athletic exploits.

* Experience with video and audio reporting. We don't expect network-correspondent quality, but the winner should be comfortable doing audio reports, or shooting a video with a small video cam.

The winner will be expected to maintain a daily blog about training for the race, the race itself and the aftermath, as well as a weekly podcast audio report. Shooting photos and/or videos of the race also is expected.

Selecting the winner

YourRunning.com will select the winner from entrant submissionsreceived by midnight EST, January 31, 2007. The winner will be announced on or thereabouts February 15, 2007.

The winner will not necessarily be the best and strongest athlete; it could be a middle-of-the-pack runner with an unusual story to tell who demonstrates the fortitude to complete the North Pole Marathon. A marathoner with excellent and creative media skills could beat out a better athlete. In other words, the selection will be subjective on the part of the judges -- and their decision is final.

In addition to selecting a winner to go to the North Pole Marathon, YourRunning.com also will choose a runner-up, who will participate inthe event that the winner falls ill (or chickens out). If the winner can't participate, the entry fee and travel will be transferred to the runner-up.

The purpose for doing this

When Brad Feld originally signed up to run the race, it was his intention to blog about preparing for the race and give publicity to the International Polar Year (2007-08), a major scientific initiative designed to draw attention to the changes occurring in the Arctic region due to global warming. With Brad not running, this competition and the winner will serve that purpose, helping educate the world's population about the situation and supporting polar research programs.

About YourRunning.com

YourRunning.com is an online community and resource for runners --from world-class athletes to passionate enthusiasts -- and a place for them to share their tales of adventure, photos and videos with other runners. The site is led by "enthusiast-in-chief" Simon Martin, who serves as community chearleader and writes a regular blog about the running life.

The website is meant as a friendly place where runners can tell their own stories and share their experiences without needing a professional journalist to discover them. It is based on the concept of "citizen media" -- which simply means that runners themselves are the authors of much of the content on the site.

About the Enthusiast Group

The Boulder, Colorado-based company was founded in early 2006 byonline media pioneer Steve Outing and Internet entrepreneur Derek Scruggs, with the goal of creating a network of citizen-media-basedwebsites serving adventure and participant sports.

YourRunning.com, YourClimbing.com and YourMTB.com are the first sites published by the company to open to the public. Sites covering additional adventure and participant sports -- including road biking, horse sports, kayaking and skateboarding -- are planned for roll-out early in 2007.

The Enthusiast Group is funded by a group of 11 investors, including Omidyar Network (a mission-based investment group founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar), DB Medialab (the new-media arm of Norwegian national newspaper Dagbladet), and Brad Feld.


NP Marathon application form

Contest announcement

YourRunning website

Brad Feld's 50 by 50 Blog

Simon Martin's Run Time Blog

YourClimbing website

YourMTB website

Corporate website

International Polar Year website

North Pole Marathon website

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