Singapore

Colleagues to run North Pole marathon for charity

Nothing defines a challenge more than running a marathon at the North Pole.

Colleagues Andrea Bonanomi and Thomas Hennessy will be among 55 participants who will run the 17th FWD North Pole Marathon on April 9 on Barneo, a drifting ice camp that floats about the North Pole between the latitudes of 89 deg north and 90 deg north.

Mr Hennessy, 55, and Mr Bonanomi, 30, had run two full marathons together, and decided that the next challenge worth pursuing is running the 42.195km distance at the North Pole.

Mr Hennessy, who is from Ireland, told The New Paper that they could have done an ultramarathon and run for 80km, but they felt that the 17th FWD North Pole Marathon would be more of a challenge given the climate and the temperature.

According to the official website of the FWD North Pole Marathon, the temperature at the North Pole can go below -30 deg C.

Also, the race is the only certified marathon that is run entirely "on" water, as participants will be running on an ice sheet, two to four metres thick, above the Arctic Ocean.

There is also the potential presence of polar bears, and camp operators keep rifles to scare them away.

Mr Bonanomi and Mr Hennessy, who work for a courier company here, do not consider themselves experienced runners but have confidence in their fitness and ability to complete the race.

This will be Mr Bonanomi's third full marathon and Mr Hennessy's sixth.

However, they are concerned about the impact of the harsh physical conditions and the mental pressures that come with it.

Mr Bonanomi, who is from Italy, said: "We can go outside (in Singapore) and do a marathon now because we have already done it before. But when you go there, there are a lot of uncertainties.

"You may be completely blind because everything is white, it is super cold, and there may be strong winds, animals, the surface... a lot of things can happen."

The men aim to raise funds for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, sports co-operative Runninghour, and humanitarian aid organisation Direct Relief.

Mr Bonanomi said: "The event is a special once-in-a-lifetime adventure and a challenge for us, but the point is that we are doing some good."

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