Posted by: Tony Mangan. The Sun newspaper April 11th
Irish Tom wins Pole Marathon. By Sun reporter.
An Irishman has won the world’s coldest marathon staged at the North Pole in temperatures of MINUS 25 C. And despite running in SNOW SHOES Thomas Maguire finished in a race record time of three hours 36 minutes and ten seconds. Thomas of Belcoo, Co. Fermanagh wore three layers of special clothes, plus goggles and a balaclava, to protect him from frostbite, and beat 40 other competitors from 22 other countries.
He said: “It’s pretty difficult to describe running in these conditions.You have several layers on everywhere so no parts of your skin are exposed. “You heat up and your goggles mist up and you’re sweating buckets. But you can’t take them off. “It’s extremely hard, like running in sand dunes. imagine a lorry load of six-inch blocks are dumped everywhere and you try to run through them. “The conditions were tough. I had no idea what it would be like. the North Pole is a place Irish people don’t normally go to.
The race was arranged by another Irish person, Richard Donovan. It’s a fantastic event,once in a lifetime experience.” He added: ” This is very special. This time last year no-one would have thought I would be up here doing this kind of thing.”
Thomas,a conservation manager, ran ten laps of a short course to complete the 26.2 miles. The runners flew from Spitsbergeen in Norway to a Russian ice base high in the Arctic Ocean. A race spokeswoman said: ” Thomas took the lead from the outset, powering his way through spectacular ice hillocks and vast expanses of white ice floes.” Italian Francesco Galanzino came second with a time of 3:43:03 with Juan Antonio Alegre of Spain third in 3:56:33. Finbarr Murphy, a Limerick based university lecturer, finished in seventh spot while Peter Bell and Paul Grey of Northern Ireland finished fifth and 21st respectively.
Now Thomas is preparing to captain the Irish 100km team in an international race in Edinburgh on May 20th. The Celtic Plate international is a rotating annual challenge race between England,Scotland Wales and Ireland.