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01.12.2010 VII Baikal Ice Marathon


Baikal Ice Marathon

The true Baikal winter running experience to support this Gem of Siberia and Well of the Planet Earth – LakeBaikal!



Our Partner 2011: BioWare nature friendly disposable tableware


The Lake Baikal International Ice Marathon offers competitors the unique opportunity to race across the frozen ice surface of the world’s largest, oldest and deepest lake. This extraordinary event takes place in one of the most beautiful places of Lake Baikal, and is based in the small town of Listvyanka,65 km south of Irkutsk ( a major stop-over on the Trans-Siberian route). The Marathon is a part of a larger winter games held on Lake Baikal – the “Winteriada” Baikal Nordic Games Festival which includes a number of other events such as Baikal Kamchatka Ice Fishing Cup, Baikal Prize Open Ice Golf Tournament, Ice Safari Expeditions on 4-WD, sled dogs and snow-mobiles, Alpine and extreme cross country skiing championships,  snow volleyball and football competitions, Baikal area hunters’ and outfitter’s festival and others… 

The surface of the frozen lake Baikal is covered in fields of “hummocks”, small hills of ice rubble. Beneath the ice surface, geothermic springs and seismic activity cause localized melting that sometimes may weaken the ice to form holes ( though the average ice on Lake Baikal in this part is over 1 meter and a half which allows trucks and vehicles up to 10 ton in weight to drive on the ice). The race “Ice Captain” and his team of volunteers and the Baikal Ice Marathon support team have the task of plotting a safe course. To get well prepared for the laying of the ice course about a month and half before the Baikal Marathon the organizers of the Baikal Ice Marathon study satellite photos of the ice surface of Baikal to see how the lake freezes the current winter in order to locate possible stable ice cracks that sometimes can be up to 8 km long. A week before the Marathon we go on and lay preliminary Marathon course. The final course (42 km 195 m or 26 miles) is laid immediately preceding the race, otherwise movements in the ice can render the support team’s effort redundant. The course for the race of Baikal Marathon is also checked by the Emergency and  Rescue Committee staff before being approved as safe to drive the vans and run on the ice.

On the Baikal Ice Marathon race day itself, competitors are ferried by vans from Listvyanka to Tankhoy train station, located on the

opposite shore of Lake Baikal. Prior to the start of the race, competitors some years are required to partake in the precautionary ritual of “vodka sprinkling”, in order to pacify the spirits of the Great Baikal (introducing the novel element of starting a marathon with a shot of vodka).


The course is predominantly flat, but the surface is hard at times and uneven. Although it’s mostly covered in a soft layer f snow, there’re areas of highly polished ice that create conditions similar to an

ice-rink. Wind can add to the already bitingly cold temperature and provide serious resitance to progress across Lake Baikal. Though, often the weather is sunny and with no chill factor one can even get some sun tan. 


The utterly featureless landscape gives little or no sense of perspective to competitors. The finish line at the port of Listvyanka can be seen almost from the start line. It is a long, cold, lonely (if not to count the mobile 5 to 6 feed and drink stands) 42,2 km trail across the baren white landscape, where progress is marked only by checkpoints positioned at 5 km intervals (with hot drinks and food).


"The far reaches of Siberia may not be the first choice destinations for many endurance athletes, who may prefer instead the warmer, and more glamorous, climes. But for those that brave the splendid Russian winter, the reward is a fantastic race, in an area of outstanding natural beauty, on a one-off running surface of the Great Baikal". (Kym McConel & Dave Horsley)


Join us for a fantastic running experience across Lake Baikal in Russia. The opportunity to run on the ice-frozen surface of Lake Baikal and cross this world’s deepest, largest and oldest fresh water on the run – 1400 meters above the bottom – is just one-of-a-kind...



 VII International Baikal Ice Marathon

"Clean Waters Conservation Run"

Statute & Rules


1. The Baikal Ice Marathon is aimed at:

- Ecologically sustainable development of Lake Baikal area, raising awareness on urgent need for conservation of clean water;

- Promotion of responsible recreation and healthy mode of life on Baikal;


2. Organizer

Baikal Ice Marathon is organized by «Absolute Siberia” Events & Expeditions Bureau under support of and coordination with the Organizing Committee of the “Winteriad-2011” International Baikal Winter Games Festival.

Race Director: Mr. Alexei Nikiforov  (


3. Date, time, place of holding, and distances of the VII Baikal Ice Marathon

The VII-th edition of Baikal Ice Marathon foot race will take place on March, 06, 2011 on Lake Baikal. The starting line of the Baikal Ice Marathon will be located near the station of Tankhoy or Pereyomnaya settlement (eastern shore of Baikal), the finish line- at the settlement of Listvyanka (western shore of Baikal) opposite the “MAYAK” conference-hotel. The start time of Baikal Ice full marathon (42.195 km) and half marathon  (21 km) is – 11 a.m. local time.               


4. Admittance and Participation  

Admitted to participate and run the course of Baikal Ice Marathon is anyone being 18 years or older who 

- is physically fit and whose health condition is proper  to run the marathon that has to be  confirmed by a certificate/ reference from a physician issued not later than a month  before  holding of the VII Baikal Ice Marathon;

- paid the start fee and is officially registered as the runner of Baikal Ice Marathon (Non-Russian residents - 150 euro);

- accepts the rules of the Baikal Ice Marathon.   


Control time for the full marathon distance is 6 hours, and half marathon distance – 4 hours. The runners who failed to cross the 21 km mark point of the Baikal Ice course within 4 hours after the start are disqualified, and will be transported to the finish line on the western shore of Baikal either by hovercraft, 4-WD or snow mobile.


At any times when a judge or physician of the Baikal Ice Marathon states a runner unable to continue foot race or meet the course deadline/control time, the runner must stop participation, immediately remove the start number and move to the vehicle for transfer to the finish line.


The start fee is non-refundable. In case if a registered runner fails to timely arrive to the place of indicated transfer place to the Baikal Ice Marathon starting line, such a runner’s participation is cancelled and no any amounts of the paid start fee will be refunded. But such a runner can use 50 % of the start fee amount paid and not used as a part of the start fee in the next Baikal Ice Marathons.


5.  Application for the VII Baikal Ice Marathon

To apply for the Baikal Ice Marathon participation a potential participant should fill out the pre-registration form placed on the  web-site ( or or , or request the form from the Organizing Committee to be sent via e-mail). The filled out pre-registration form should be sent to the any of the following e-mail addresses:   or,   or faxed to +7(3952)-207931.  Deadline for registration is January, 30, 2011. 


6. Pre-start Registration and Start numbers

Pre-start registration and distribution of the start numbers shall take place:

- March,05, 2011  at 05 p.m. at the foyer of “Mayak” Hotel in Listvyanka,

- March,05, 2011 at 5:30 p.m.  at the address of Timiryazeva Str, 59-34 (Agricultural Academy building, 2-nd floor) in Irkutsk ,

- March,06, 2011  from 8:30 till 8:45 a.m. in the foyer of “Mayak” hotel in Listvyanka.


Individual start number of the runner of Baikal Ice Marathon should be placed and well fixed on the runner’s chest. If a runner during the foot race in the Baikal Ice Marathon fails to have the start number or it is not properly fixed on the chest disabling the marathon judges or anyone from the support team to clearly see the start number, the judge will have the right not to register the result of such a runner that will eventually  lead to the runner’s disqualification.  


7. The Course and recommendations
Near the eastern shore, close to the starting line, the course can be covered with fresh layer of snow ( from 15 to 25 cm thick and up to 500 m long); in some places that are closer to the western shore there can be sections of open/naturally polished ice surface from 35 m to 400 m long; in other places there can be fields of so-called “kolobovnik” – sections of the «pan” or “plated” ice with granular tops of blurred color , frozen in the surface, which represent significant difficulty to run or even walk smoothly and require carefulness in fast moving on them.
The weather on Lake Baikal that has over 20 general and locally formed winds is notoriously difficult to predict. The wind can be very changeable and blow in the race direction as well as into the runners’ backs or at a low height (south-eastern wind which will blow into the runners left side). Under the low air pressure, local Siberian “Khius”-wind can blow which though being not very strong is very biting and piercing. Considering the wind chill, sharp gusts of the “khius”-wind even with – 12 ⁰C can at some times freeze one’s face during the run or penetrate to one’s body through any of tiny openings or holes in sports wear cloths. It is very important to make sure that you can stay warm, dry and wind proven in just about any conditions. “Pack up” your body the most appropriate way for the run but in safe and cold wind protecting manner.
The air temperature range in the 1-st decade of March in the area of Baikal Ice Marathon course: from – 12 down to – 20 near the starting line and at time of starting, from – 5 down to – 14 in the middle of the Baikal Ice course , from – 10 up to + 2 Centigrade closer to the finish line.
However, Lake Baikal claims to have more sunshine hours per year than southern Italy, that’s why if the skies above the ice course have no clouds possible lots of sun light reflected from fields of snow and transparent ice surface, pure air can triple the effect of solar beams on human facial skin and eyes.
The runners are strongly recommended to wear and have the following or similar cloths/equipment:
- long distance running shoes with carbide spikes like Icebug or any solid alloy crampons twisted in soles; or average warm sport shoes with put on brackets that have strengthened bobbins( like Yaktrax Pro) and fixing straps, in order to provide for maximum cohesion, better stability and safety while running on ice;
- sun glasses, wind proof light jacket, gloves and wool cap, face mask/ ski bonnet, face protective cream.


8. Drink & feed stations

Drink and feed points en route  the VII-th Baikal Ice Marathon course shall be located at 10, 15, 21,27,32,37 km mark points. The feed & drink ration includes tea, non-gas water, nuts, dried fruits, chocolates, cheese. The feed stations/point logistics and intervals though can slightly be changed depending on the Baikal Ice Course conditions the night before the Baikal Ice Marathon commencing.  If such a change occurs, the participants of the VII Baikal Ice Marathon shall be informed thereof at the pre-start registration (see Clause 7) or even at the starting line.


9. Awards  

Winners of the VII-th Baikal Ice Marathon (full marathon and half-marathon distances both in male and female groups) will be awarded with Baikal Ice Marathon-2011 Winner Cups and Champion medals.

2-nd and 3-rd place winners shall be awarded with Baikal Ice Prize Cups and medals. 

Some other testimonial awards such as the Cup of Baikal Ice Appreciation, Baikal Ice Partner Cup and commemorative medals of Baikal Ice Marathon -2011 for the notable performance during the foot race shall be awarded to runners chosen by the   Organizing Committee members.

All the Baikal Ice Marathon-2011 runners who finish their marathon distance within the control time shall be awarded with commemorative medals of the Baikal Ice Marathon and certificates.


At the award ceremony all the participants who ran the VII-th Baikal Ice Marathon will be invited to take part in the lottery. Those who are lucky in the lottery will win one of 3 Baikal Ice Marathon packages-2012 (or other forthcoming years as per lottery winners’ choice). 


10. Conservation of Clean Waters  

Baikal Ice Marathon is held on the frozen waters of southern Lake  Baikal – the world’s deepest, largest in volume (22 % of the world’s surface water) and oldest – over 20 million years - freshwater lake that supports unique animal and plant life (¾ are endemic species) . Well of the Planet Earth, Sacred Sea, Siberia’s Pearl or Treasure of the World are few of the names that respectfully and with reverence refer to Lake Baikal. And in first turn, the Baikal is a live body of Great Water - the beginning and the continual of life on Earth.

The decade of 2005-2015 commencing on World Water Day in March, 2005, was proclaimed by UNO as International Decade for Action “Water for Life” during which there should be at all levels a greater focus on water related issues.

Throughout entire run in the Baikal Ice Marathon or stay on the shore of the sacred Baikal we urge not to throw away on to the surface any piece of rubbish and anything at all, keeping in mind both cleanness of water and landscape’s natural beauty.

One can leave the rubbish, used cans, cups etc. at any  of the feed stations on the Baikal Ice course, give it away to any one from the Baikal Ice Marathon support or rescue team,  or carry with you until you encounter any of the latter. 


11. Safety

Safety of the runners during the Baikal Ice Marathon will be ensured by the Baikal Regional Rescue and Accident Service staff, use of the hovercrafts, availability of doctor.  Each of the runners will also be provided with personal medical insurance valid from start and until the finish of the Baikal Ice Marathon.


12. Baikal Ice Marathon Financing and Start Fee Coverage

The registration/start fee covers organizational  costs of the Baikal Ice Marathon (expenditures for laying and marking the marathon course on the ice and its checking,  transportation of  participants to the Baikal Ice Marathon starting line,  support and safety team direct costs, judges work , use of hovercrafts or any other vehicles that can be used for safe transfer on the ice, feed stations  operation, start numbers and award fund -  cups, medals, certificates, rent of the conference hall for the award ceremony, first aid medical insurance).


13. Official languages

The official languages of the Baikal Ice Marathon are Russian, English and German languages.


14. Schedule of  VII  International Baikal Ice Marathon  - “Clean waters conservation run”


March, 05, 2011

Pre-start registration and distribution of the start numbers shall take place:

- March,05, 2011  at 05 p.m. at the foyer of “Mayak” Hotel in Listvyanka,

- March,05, 2011 at 5:30 p.m.  at the address of Timiryazeva Str,59-34 ( Agricultural Academy building,2-nd floor) in Irkutsk ,

- March,06, 2011  from 8:30 till 8:55 p.m. in the foyer of “Mayak” hotel in Listvyanka.


March, 06, 2011

07:10  a.m. - meet at the Irkutsk  central Kirov square by the “Angara” Hotel for a transfer  from Irkutsk to the start line ( for those staying inIrkutsk)

08:30 -09:00  a.m – pre-start registration in the “Mayak” Hotel foyer  

09:15 a.m. – departure to the place of starting line on the eastern shore.

10:45 – pre-start call-over at the starting line.

11:00 – start the VII International Baikal Ice Marathon – “Clean Waters Conservation Run”.

13:30 – 17:00 – finishing of the VII-th Baikal Ice Marathon.  

17-00 -18-00 – summing up of the results.

18:00 – Award ceremony begins at the main conference hall of the “Mayak” Hotel followed by press-conference.  

19:30 – Transfer of some participants to Irkutsk.


For both the runners and their accompanying persons who do not intend to run the Baikal Marathon we offer special 3-6 nights tour itineraries during Baikal Nordic games Festival “Winteriada”. For the cost, registration and hotel/guest house accommodations, please, e-mail us at

To book arrangements for Baikal Ice Marathon from the US or Canada, please, contact  Amazing Running Tours at
Or call  (800) 707-0005  

Read few comments of Lake Baikal International Ice Marathon runners below:

“There’re only few places in the world where you can run a marathon on ice. On Lake Baikal it was harder than on Yukon in Canada”Udo Mueller.
“This excellent organized event was AN ICE COLD ORGAZM!!! Please, continue on with your efforts.”Stefan Schlett.
“…The experience of a life time. Thanks you and I hope there will be a chance to come back” – Claus Neumann.
“The Ice Marathon on Lake Baikal is one of the best in the world besides Antarctic, Mount Everest or Mongolia Marathon.” – Peter Clark.
“For people who are coming from European countries the atmosphere of this race was “one-of-a-kind”. Step by step was enjoyable and sometimes difficult, because some little snow fields were breaking the rhythm of run” – Henry Kaluza.
“Ten thousand kilometers away from one’s home feeling to be familiar with friends…42.2 km is much too long for this lake but you managed to make a unique event…” –
Maria Kurz.
“The Baikal Marathon is extraordinary: environment, temperature, and staff… My congratulations for the perfect organization.” – Michael Siebert.
“Very nice run and superb organization: everybody was nice and helpful to us” – Claus Lehr.
“Thank you. This was a great Race across wonderful Baikal: perfect organization and friendly staff. Also nice that it was possible for my girlfriend as “no runner” to follow the race very close. Good luck for more adventure races on Baikal.” – the “Swiss” Roland Haechler.
“ It was a unique experience to take part in such an event which is really unique!!!” –
Katherine from Germany.

Reviews of Lake Baikal International  Ice Marathon     

Lake Baikal  International Ice Marathon 2007 Video Lake Baikal  International Ice Marathon 2008 Video


 Baikal Ice Marathon KEY DATA:

RACE: Lake Baikal International Marathon
LOCATION:Lake Baikal (Listvyanka, Russia)
DISTANCE: 42.2 km (26 miles),single stage
DATE: March
TOTAL ASCENT: Negligible
KEY CHARACTERISTICS: Marathon on frozen surface of world’s largest and deepest fresh-water lake
RACE RECORDS: Male:2:58:46, Female:3:54:00
CLIMATE: -5˚ to 2˚C (23˚F to 35˚F)
FINISHERS: 85-90 % of starters


Destinations in Siberia & Beyond
Weather in Irkutsk
TUE (16.07, morning) 19 / 17 Night Rain
TUE (16.07, day) 25 / 23 Day
TUE (16.07, evening) 25 / 23 Day
WED (16.07, night) 18 / 16 Night

Our Associated Organizations




Inter-Baikal Cultural Organization


Siberian Tourist Organization



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