Antarctica Marathon Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:
Thom Gilligan, Marathon Tours & Travel, +1-617-242-7845, Thom@marathontours.com
Patrice Malloy. Malloy Marketing Group, +1-760-519-4871, patrice@patricemalloy.com

15th ANTARCTICA MARATHON FIELD TO INCLUDE ITS FIRST TOTALLY BLIND RUNNER
Other notable entrants include 22 globetrotters finishing marathons on all 7 continents

BOSTON (February 25, 2014) – An international field of 185 intrepid runners, including a totally blind South African, will travel to the coldest, windiest and most remote continent on the planet to participate in the 15th Antarctica Marathon & Half Marathon on March 9 and 10, announced Boston-based Marathon Tours & Travel, the event and expedition organizer. The events will take place on King George Island, located off the Antarctic Peninsula in Antarctica.

Hein Wagner of Cape Town, South Africa, is poised to be the Antarctica Marathon’s first totally blind participant. Blind from birth, the 41-year-old adventurer and motivational speaker is running the event to raise funds and create awareness of VisionTrust, a non-profit organization he founded in 2008. VisionTrust’s mission is to strive to make the world a more accessible place for persons living with disabilities and to promote the integration of disabled persons into the workplace, sports arena and the arts.

“Hein will be a true inspiration to fellow participants as well as others who follow his incredible journey,” says Thom Gilligan, president of Marathon Tours & Travel and race director of the Antarctica Marathon & Half Marathon. “He is literally traveling to the ends of the Earth to prove that, despite unimaginable challenges, he is living life to the fullest and that anything is possible.” Wagner will be guided along the course by countryman, Nic Kruiskamp.

The 26.2- and 13.1-mile courses transverse hilly gravel roads that connect and pass the scientific research bases of Uruguay, Chile, China and Russia. Race-day temperatures can range from 15 to 34 F with wind gusts that can easily reach 40 mph. Course conditions can vary year to year but runners may encounter ice, mud and slush. Held at the tail end of the Antarctic summertime, heavy snow is rare but light flurries are common.

Twenty-two of the participants are expected to complete their goal of finishing marathons or half-marathons on all of the Earth’s seven continents at this year’s event. Once they finish, they will be inducted into the Seven Continents Club, a travel club founded in 1998 to recognize those who have accomplished this feat. Since then, more than 517 globetrotting runners have achieved the goal.

“There has been tremendous interest in running a marathon on all seven continents ever since the inaugural Antarctica Marathon in 1995,” says Gilligan. “Finishing a marathon on all seven continents is an extraordinary feat, typically attempted by ordinary people in their pursuit of self-discovery or other notable goals.”

Despite its extreme nature, the Antarctica Marathon & Half Marathon expedition has sold out 12 of its last 15 editions, usually years in advance, and is presently sold out through 2017.

Traveling to a marathon on what is often referred to as the “Last Continent,” is a marathon in itself. Athletes will travel an average of 6,500 miles each; first to Buenos Aires, Argentina, before departing to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southern-most city in the world.  There they will board two chartered Russian icebreakers for a two-day crossing of the Drake Passage, a body of water notorious for being one of the roughest seas in the world. The 14-day expedition also includes a number of landings on the continent, sea kayaking and wildlife viewing. 

The Antarctica Marathon & Half-Marathon’s official charity is Oceanites, Inc., a non-profit organization that researches the impact of tourism on Antarctica’s environment. Participants have raised over $137,500 on behalf of the organization during the past three years. Another large donation is expected in 2014.

For more information on the Antarctica Marathon, please visit  www.antarcticamarathon.com,  write to info@marathontours.com or call +1 (617) 242-7845.                                    

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