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Ice, ice baby: runners to face freezing conditions in Antarctic marathon

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The Bermuda Penguins will take part in the Antarctica Marathon to raise cash for youth adventure charity Raleigh Bermuda. From left, Andy McComb, Anna Laura Hocking, Philip Martin and Mark Harris (Photograph supplied)

A team of Bermudian runners is to brave temperatures as low as minus 20F in an Antarctic marathon to raise cash for charity.

Anna Laura Hocking, Philip Martin, Andy McComb and Mark Harris — the Bermuda Penguins — will leave next Thursday to take part in the three-day Antarctica Marathon in support of youth adventure organisation Raleigh Bermuda.

Mr Martin, a veteran marathon runner, said: "We wanted to focus on helping younger kids in our community and Raleigh Bermuda takes kids who have gone through a tough time, whatever that might be, and gives them an opportunity to experience another person’s life.

“They come out of these experiences with a light that helps them grow as individuals, so I think that’s why we’re happy to support Raleigh Bermuda.”

The Bermuda Penguins will fly to Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina in South America and travel by boat to the Antarctic.

The voyage is expected to take about three days and will travel through Drake’s Passage, some of the world’s roughest seas.

Mr Martin said the team was attracted by the “extreme nature” of the marathon and the chance to test themselves.

He added that they believed the run was a good way to raise money for a worthy cause and learn first-hand about the environment of the Antarctic.

Mr Martin explained that he hoped to discuss the fragility of the ecosystem with scientists based in Antarctica and find out how global warming had affected the frozen continent.

He said: “It’s about seeing what the world is doing from the perspective of warming up and bringing that information back to the island and talking to people.”

Mr Martin added: “Part of it is that we also to raise money for a charity that is there to support the sustainability of that environment.

“Plus, there’s just the adventure of going to a continent that very few people get to go to.”

Mr Martin said that he and two other Bermuda Penguin runners had ran in the “Big Six” marathons — London, Berlin, New York, Boston, Chicago and Tokyo.

Ms Hocking has completed a challenge to run 2,021 miles before the end of last year.

Mr Martin said that the group had also been running as often as possible to prepare themselves for the challenge.

He added: “In Antarctica you can get all four seasons during the marathon, so we just try to make our running conditions as extreme as we can here.”

Mr Martin said that although it was summer in Antarctica the temperature could range from 3F to as low as minus 50F.

He added that, although the competitors would not be allowed to run in temperatures below minus 20F, the weather could still be unpredictable and special equipment was needed.

He explained: “They say you can get rain and sleet and hail between plus 3F and minus 20F, and when it warms up it gets muddy, so you’ll be running in mud.

“You’re running up 1,000 metres, you’re in mud and rain, you’re in ice and you could easily hurt yourself.

“Everything is dangerous, so we’re preparing for everything.”

Dany Pen, the executive director of Raleigh Bermuda, said: “Adventure is one of the pillars of Raleigh Bermuda and trekking is the very heart of our organisation.

“We are thankful to Team Bermuda Penguins for choosing us as their charity for this epic adventure.”

Tasha Jones, the chairwoman of Raleigh, added: “We are extremely grateful that the Bermuda Penguins chose our Raleigh Bermuda family to receive the funds they raise from their expedition.

“We are also super excited for them and wish them all the best as they embark on this amazing adventure.”

For information on how to make a donation, contact Raleigh Bermuda at info@raleigh.bm or call 333-5678.

The Raleigh website can be found here.

The Bermuda Penguins, who will take part in the Antarctica Marathon to raise money for Raleigh Bermuda (Photograph supplied)

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Published January 12, 2022 at 7:32 am (Updated January 12, 2022 at 7:32 am)

Ice, ice baby: runners to face freezing conditions in Antarctic marathon

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