Ice runner: Siberian man runs marathon in -36 F weather

Tuesday January 7, 2014    1:21 PM

How cold is too cold for a jog?

For most people, below-freezing temperatures generally put a stop to outdoor exercise, but Siberian native Boris Fyodorov is not most people.

Minutes after the calendar ticked over to 2014 this past New Years Eve, Fyodorov set off on a solo, out-and-back marathon run from his home in the Siberian village of Oymyakon, completing the 26.2-mile course his first marathon in just over five hours. During the run he experienced temperatures as low as -36 F (-38 C).

And that was just the way he wanted it.

"I heard about other marathons around the globe, naming themselves 'the coldest', like the most recent North Pole marathon with runners going at -28 C -18 F ," Fyodorov told the Siberian Times. "I thought surely this cannot be right. Our Oymyakon is the coldest inhabited place in northern hemisphere. Why don't we arrange a marathon here?"

Oymyakon is widely considered to be one of the coldest places on the planet, and its record-low temperature of -90 F, recorded in 1933, is tied for the coldest recorded temperature for any inhabited place on Earth. The average January temperature in the area is -50 C (-58 F).

Not only did Fyodorov finish the marathon in high spirits, but he also wants it to be colder the next time he tries it.

"I really want to organize the next Oymyakon marathon in January when the air goes down to -50 C or -60 C," he said.

Fyodorov is not the first person to take on a cold-weather athletic challenge like this. In addition to the North Pole Marathon that he mentioned, the Antarctica Marathon is held every year in late February, taking runners on an out-and-back tour from Russias Bellingshausen Station. A second Antarctica event the Ice Marathon has been held at 80 degrees south since 2006.

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