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Baikal Ice Marathon

 

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

   

  

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 “white m sprinkling”, in order to pacify the spirits of the Great Baikal.

 

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...

 

                                                     Reporst and stories of Baikal Ice Marathon are found here

 

 

 

XVI Baikal International Ice Marathon 
"For preservation of clean water"


February 28,2021, Listvyanka-Tankhoy, Lake Baikal 

Organized by "Absolute Siberia" Ltd. Events & Expedition Bureau 

“For our world, consumed by egoistic aspiration, it is necessary to review and overcome all divides and antagonistic barriers on our way… To achieve optimistic scenario, of primary importance is the education of younger generation from “child’s pot”. Children should grow with understanding of the holiness of water, value of each water droplet that carries an element of life, contains the mind and memory of entire world...” - Professor Victor Dukhovny, World Water Council Board Member.

  To register for participation in the XVII edition of Baikal Ice Marathon go to  www.baikal-marathon.org 

                                                  

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Read comments of Lake Baikal International Ice Marathon runners below:                                               

-  "As an Australian, the attraction was intense to run the Baikal Ice Marathon because in our country there is nothing to compare to the vast white wilderness and frozen beauty of Lake Baikal in Siberia. On the sunny and frosty morning of the 2012 event it was a privilege to stand with competitors from all over the world to bless this ancient and sacred lake.  It is tradition to pacify the lake god Burkhan and hope for a safe passage across the lake.  This year the offering was with milk sprinkled north, south, east and west.  It was an honour, not only to bless the lake but to experience the 42.2km journey on foot across its frozen water. The pristine snow, pure air, stunning landscape and comfort of knowing that friendly faces welcomed us at each of the drink stations served to enhance this amazing experience.  Not far from the finish line a large bird flew directly towards me and when it was overhead it greeted me with a kind and welcome call, as if to say "you are nearly there" - I will never forget it. Burkhan was kind to us that day as the predicted winds did not arrive and we were treated to a perfect sunny day.  A huge thank you to everyone involved in the organisation of this magnificent and unique event.  It was an absolute joy and I look forward to returning to Lake Baikal soon." - Maybritt Elisabet Prahl, of Sydney, Australia (female winner of the 8-th Baikal Ice Marathon wo achieved new world record of running marathon on ice).

-  "After my first run on the Lake Baikal, I decided to come back again and I already ran three times. This year was my first try to run a full marathon which I wished to do for a long time. I trained myself a lot and participated in several marathons in 2011.  Every run were for the Baikal.  Finally, my dream comes true.  I ran from a shore to the opposite shore with enjoying the time talking with the great nature of Baikal. The cleanest water, the most beautiful ice, the freshest water and the kindest people are the treasure of Russia.  I wish I can come back to this hallowed lake every year. Thank you, Baikal!! “ - Higuchi Yasuaki, Japan.

- "The run, I won’t deny, was something of a slog: even the toasts we drank in milk at the start to appease the lake spirits could not moderate the toughness of a featureless ice field where the brain can find no progress markers and distances are impossible to gauge. Yet the sense of achievement on reaching the little wooden hut set up in mid-lake after 21km (13 miles) and two hours 25 minutes was extraordinary, and as we drove back by hovercraft the otherworldly beauty of Baikal worked its magic." - Lucy Ward, UK.

- "On 3rd March 2012 Trevor and I finished the Baikal Ice Marathon in Siberia. We crossed the finish line in 5 hours and 3 minutes, running on one of the most unique landscapes on the planet. Conditions on the day of the race were exceptional - Heaven gave us blue sky and lots of sun. In such conditions, a new world record was set of marathon running on the ice! Our race did not beat any records, but we succeeded in finishing the race on the beautiful frozen scenic trail and it was for us a huge achievement" - Dr Philip Blezdel, UK.

- "There are a few adventures that I have undertaken, that really stayed on my mind for a long time. Of course I remember them all, but they tend to merge and blend and I lose some of the details. Sometimes it’s just the beautiful scenery you find yourself in. Sometimes it’s the outstanding physical or aesthetically pleasurable experience. Sometimes the good company or the inspiring people I met, or the different and admirable culture, or the unusual circumstances. And sometimes it’s all of the above.  And that’s how it was: the Baikal Ice Marathon."  - Lora Nicolai , Bulgaria.

- "It was a great privilege to run across this vast and beautiful expanse of ice.  I took part with my Embassy colleagues to raise awareness of global climate change and the contribution which each of us can individually make to save energy from fossil fuels. LakeBaikal supplies a sixth of the world’s fresh water so it is crucial that we make global efforts to preserve important natural resources such as this for future generations” - Julia Knights, UK.

-  "Baikal Ice Marathon is Russia's most exotic foot race! " - Gennadyi Vasyukevich, Russia.

- "It is with great sincerity that I share my compliments with you regarding a wonderful experience in your country in association with running the VIII Lake Baikal International Ice Marathon.  The event was masterfully organized to the extent I will say that the organization could only be topped by the sheer beauty and majesty of the setting.  Without a doubt, Lake Baikal is a true wonder of the world, and I feel very fortunate to have traversed its ice-covered surface.  I can only imagine how beautiful the Lake is when it is not frozen.  The race was fair- yet extremely challenging.  It is a race I take immense pride in completing as I move toward running a marathon on every continent. I can imagine no experience more unique on the Asian continent.  Staff members were extremely professional. The Russian people were wonderfully hospitable during my entire stay, and I will always treasure the memories of my visit to Listvyanka, Siberia. Thank you for organizing a great event! “ - David Bryan, Portsmouth, NH-USA.

- "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.


Read our report on the VIII-th Baikal Ice Marathon   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
TOTAL DESCENT: Negligible
KEY CHARACTERISTICS: Marathon on frozen surface of world’s largest and deepest fresh-water lake
RACE RECORDS: Male:2:55:51, Female:3:50:11
FIELD (APROX): 30
CLIMATE: -5˚ to 2˚C (23˚F to 35˚F)
FINISHERS: 85-90 % of starters

 

 

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