North Pole Marathon













2020 Competitors

Abisoye Adekanmbi (USA)

Bio to be added

Chiara Adin (USA)

After running the 2017 Antarctic Ice Marathon, Chiara decided to finish a marathon on all 7 continents by April 2019 so that she could complete the Grand Slam with the FWD North Pole marathon. She has only been running for 5 years but during that time Chiara has completed multiple national marathons and half marathons, triathlons (including an Ironman 70.3) and endurance SUP races. She’s a passionate athlete and competes in most races to raise money for the Flatwater Foundation, providing therapy for those affected by a Cancer diagnosis.

Andrea Bonanomi (ITA)

Andrea has acclimated to the perma-heat of Singapore for the past two year, almost forgetting the cold breeze of the North Italian winter. Along with his colleague Tom Hennessy, also in this race, he has been challenging his physical and mental endurance under the Singapore midday sun as well as the humidity of night. Andrea has completed two marathons to date, both in Singapore, and many other sports competitions such as Spartan races. He likes any kind of sport from football to wakeboarding and now he resides in Asia he is trying to explore a sport culture that is different from the one he grew up with. Andrea actually doesn’t like running but loves its benefits and the fact it involves perseverance and dedication to be effective. He believes it’s one of the best ways to keep the body fit and a way of challenging limits! The North Pole marathon means a lot to Andrea because it’s a massive chance to assist less fortunate families all over the world through some charity fundraising associated with his run: the charity will be the boost of fuel/strength to finish.

Judith Boyd (USA)

An avid traveler and outdoor enthusiast, Judy seeks out adventures around the globe. While she prefers running half-marathons, placing 3rd in the 2010 Antarctica Half Marathon, she also completed the 1995 Marine Corps Marathon, 2015 Boston Marathon Shadow run at Bagram, Afghanistan and the 2016 Boston Marathon. Her other memorable experiences include mountain bike racing in Europe and the United States, diving with sharks in Fiji, trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp, and deployments as a member of the U.S. Army. Judy is running at the North Pole to raise funds for and awareness of Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports, an organization that empowers people of all abilities through inclusive sports and recreational programming. You can learn more at 

Kevin Cochrane (USA)

Bio to be added

David Dudek (USA)

David resides in Hong Kong and has run dozens of marathons and ultra marathons on all 7 continents. He was a podium finisher at the 2016 Antarctic 100K and is a member of the 7 Continents Marathon Club. David has met many previous Marathon Grand Slam Club members and is excited to join this exclusive club as well as get the chance to spend time with the “Legend” Richard Donovan :)

Nicole Elstun (USA)

Nicole grew up in the Midwest, playing in one sport or another through college, but never took up distance running until her mid-twenties. She has since raced multiple distances, working up to her first marathon in 2006. Nicole first heard about the North Pole Marathon when it was featured on the news, and thought the runners were absolutely crazy. Turns out, she is cut from the same cloth, because the more she read about it, the more she wanted to do it She decided to take it off the top of her bucket list for her 40th birthday, which is also in the month of April. The North Pole Marathon will also be her 10th marathon, and the first outside the U.S., and she will be running to raise awareness of the charity Blessons (, founded by a fellow runner friend/marathoner. To support the charity, please follow the link: 

Jessica Finn (GBR)

Jessica has run quite a few half marathon races over the past few years in addition to the Trimpell 20 miler and the Chester Metric marathon. However she has only run one other 26.2 mile marathon, which was London in 2017. In practice for the North Pole, Jessica ran the Tromso half marathon in Norway ins January: However the temperature was disappointingly mild so there was not much opportunity to try out her kit. She says she is not a fast runner but more of a slow and steady type. Jessica is not planning on breaking any records at the North Pole but she has a love of the Arctic and getting to the North Pole is a dream for her that she wants to tick off her bucket list.

Shawn Gray (USA)

Shawn is 50 years old and originally from Houston, Texas. He has lived in Asia for the past 24 years and currently lives in Mumbai India. He was a 3-pack-a-day guy 5 years ago but gave the smokes up and picked up running to heal his body. He has run the last four4 NYC marathons, Mumbai and the Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2018.

Thomas Hennessy (IRL)

The FWD North Pole Marathon will be Tom’s 6th official full marathon. He completed his first half marathon four years ago when he turned 50. Most of is running has been in the daytime sunshine of Singapore or the nighttime dampness of its humidity. Training for him has been a little tricky with the closest acclimatization to the North Pole temperature resulting from putting his weekend food shopping away into the freezer! Thomas is running with work colleague Andrea Bonanami to raise a little money for 3 charitable causes and also to take some “Santa letters to the North Pole” for other colleagues and friends to help create some Christmas 2019 magic for their Children.

Michael Hogan (CAN)

Mike has been a runner for about 10 years and loves races in cold and remote places. He has run a half marathon in Greenland, an ultra in Iceland, a marathon in the Faroe Islands and several races in Northern Canada. The North Pole Marathon has always been a bucket list goal, but lately the effects of Climate Change have been on the top of his mind. His number one goal is to soak in every moment of this grand adventure.

Javed Hussain (GBR)

Javed is father to three wonderful children and a businessman with many accolades to his name; but says he can’t run to save his life! He is coming to the North Pole Marathon with his very athletic wife, Huma Rahman, hoping to run as much of the North Pole Marathon as possible, having done nothing more than 10k road runs to date. As he is getting older and becoming more aware of how fickle life really is, Javed is feeling mentally younger and stronger. He can’t wait to be at the top of the world!

Misaki Izuoka (JPN)

Misaki (Izu) is a Japanese fashion model and a social media influencer who has 1.6 million followers on her social network channels. She has completed nine marathons and half marathons across the world, including running a half marathon during the 2018 FWD North Pole Marathon. One year after that adventure she is now ready to go back to the North Pole and undertake another challenge, to go beyond what she accomplished last year and complete a full marathon of 42.195km. Izu produces her own brand of t-shirts and donates all the profits to those affected by the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.

Jill Jamieson (USA)

Jill is the founder of ‘Memory Joggers’, a fundraising group dedicated to raising money and awareness to fight Alzheimer’s disease, and is running the North Pole Marathon in support of the Alzheimer’s Association. With the motto “racing to the ends of the earth to beat Alzheimer’s disease,” Jill says she is plodding her way through the Marathon Grand Slam, having now completed marathons on 5 continents. Upon completion of the North Pole Marathon, she looks forward to an unofficial designation as a "bipolar marathoner", having completed the Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2017. When not running, Jill is a managing director of a Fortune 500 company based in Washington, D.C.

Karl Haakan Jonsson (SWE)

Håkan, 69, works as a radiologist. He is a member of The 7 Continents Marathon Club and has completed an Ironman and 13 marathons to date including the Stockholm Marathon, Great Wall Marathon in China, Kilimanjaro Marathon in Tanzania, Sydney Marathon, Buenos Aires Marathon, Paris Marathon, Rome Marathon, New York Marathon, Cape Town Marathon, Petra Desert Marathon, Antarctic Ice Marathon and the Ladakh Marathon in Tibet. He’s now aiming to become a member of The Marathon Grand Slam Club and is working with the church of Sweden in promoting a fund-raising campaign called TO FIGHT CHILD MORTALITY.

Joyette Jopson (PHI)

Joyette is a Financial Wealth Officer with FWD Insurance. Nicknamed the “pocket rocket,” she is known for her small and quick steps. She is a seasoned triathlete, with several local triathlon, duathlon and running championships under her belt. She has participated in multiple Ironman and Ironman 70.3s around the world including Ironman 70.3 and XTERRA World Championships and is a three time Ironman Filipino Elite Champion.

Joey Kelly (IRL)

Joey is an entrepreneur, endurance athlete and musician. He has finished more than 100 marathons, ultramarathons and Ironman competitions and more than 100 half marathons, short distance triathlons and short distance competitions.

Luke Kelly (GER)

Luke is a student and athlete. He likes to run various distances such as marathons, half marathons, 10k, and 5k. Luke has been the youngest participant in the “Race across America” ultra race, Iceland Challenge, and Namibia Challenge.

Jason Kemp (GBR)

Bio to be added

Alexey Komissarov (RUS)

Alexey has competed in Ironman races, ultramarathons and marathons, including finishing second in his age category at the Baikal Ice Marathon (42 km on the ice of Lake Baikal in Siberia from one bank to another), completing three Ironman races in 2017-17, and also finishing two Comrades ultramarathon in South Africa. He enjoys motorbike racing, photography, diving, swimming, skiing and boxing. In 2008, he participated in the Russian and European motorcycle championships, taking first place in the Endurance Cup of Russia. In 2003 he received an MBA from Kingston University, United Kingdom and won Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 in the Industrial production category at the "Ernst & Young" Russian stage international competition. He has also received an Honorary Doctorate at Kingston University for his outstanding contribution to the development of the entrepreneur's movement. In 2013 was appointed as Minister in the Government of Moscow and from 2017 Vice-Rector of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) and the Director of the Graduate School of Public Administration at the RANEPA. He has also been an independent director of SIBUR Holding since 2018. Alexey is married and has three daughters. His website is  

Melissa Kullander (USA)

Bio to be added

Gangyao Li (CHN)

Although Gangyao has participated in many 26.2-mile marathons, he has more recently been concentrating on half marathons. A happy runner with an adventure gene, and not being afraid of a little hardship, Gangyao is very much looking forward to the challenge of the FWD North Pole Marathon.

Tianshu Pang (CHN)

Although Jonathan is only 22 years old, he has been a runner for a decade. He is excited to participate in the North Pole Marathon this year. Jonathan started running in order to lose weight when he was extremely overweight during his early teen years. Living next to Century Park in Shanghai equipped him with a great training ground, the largest park in Shanghai. Starting from 800m, he was eventually able to finish the full ring of the park (5.4km) by the sixth month of his training. He lost more than 40 pounds over a course of 2 years and transformed running into a habit. The apex of his running experience was finishing in 5th place in the D2 New England Cross- Country race. Jonathan is currntly a Junior at Fordham University in New York City and a NYRR member. He finished his first half marathon last year at NYC Half and runs about 20 miles weekly at a pace of 7 mins per mile. He looks forward to this truly unique experience and is excited to meet fellow runners.

Yong Pang (CHN)

Yong has been running marathons for the past 4 years. In 2018 he ran 100km during his first 24-hour race and finished the 52-km Mount Kailash Pilgrimage. Yong is the founder of Shanghai Ideo Auto Infotech Company.

Roma Puisiene (LTU)

The 2018 Antarctic Ice Marathon champion, Roma says she was happy to finish the Ice Marathon – her first marathon - as it helped to return both her and her husband to a more professional and disciplined training life. Roma has been a semi-professional sportsperson all her life, participating in many mountain bike, mountain bike orienteering and multisport competitions of long duration. She is exited to run the 2019 FWD North Pole Marathon after the challenge on the Antarctic continent. Romas has competed for the Lithuanian mountain bike orienteering team for 5 years and was the main organizer of World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championship in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2017.

Xiaobin Qiu (CHN)

Xiaobin is a finisher of the World Marathon Challenge 2017, and looks forward to finishing the North Pole Marathon and joining the Grand Slam Club. In 2018, he ran across Europe in 61 days from Istanbul to Amsterdam; and summited Mt. Everest with his team for the 120th Anniversary of Peking University. Xiaobian has also run the 6 World Marathon Majors as well as other city marathons and various ultra races.

Huma Rahman (GBR)

Huma began running some 18 years ago in her early 30s, mainly as a club runner. In addition to numerous 10k runs, half marathons, and cross country and fell runs, she has successfully completed The London Marathon three times, The Tough Guy Challenge, climbed all the National Three Peaks in 22 hours, and cycled from London to Paris in 24 hrs. To mark her 50th birthday, she hopes to run the North Pole Marathon in memory of her late father who was a Dementia patient, and who was of Pakistani origin, and hopes to raise money for that cause along the way. Huma also hopes that her efforts inspire others, especially young girls and women, to get involved in sports and outdoor activities.

Patrick Rennison (IRL)

Patrick is a chiropractor with the two main passions: Travel and Running. He has visited approximately 169 countries and dependencies and has also run seven marathons, including London and Amsterdam. Patrick started running five years ago when, he thought he may as well try and join in rather than merely just watch his son take part in athletics. Not surprisingly, this trip will be his greatest challenge to date but, if all goes to plan, he hopes it will be one of the most rewarding as well.

Erik Rieken (USA)

Eric is from Chicago, but lives in Colorado with his spouse and three kids. He has run 40 marathons, including the Antarctic Ice Marathon and the Volcano Marathon. He loves exploring the world through the lens of running.

Hideaki Sakata (JPN)

Hideaki completed the Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2016. When he saw many of his friends at the North Pole Marathon, he decided to run to achieve the Marathon Grand Slam by completing a marathon on all 7 continents and at the North Pole.

Itthipol Samutthong (THA)

Pok is the host of a fitness show on Thai PBS and is also on the committee of Thailand’s health club. He ran over 2215 km as part of a campaign with celebrity runners to raise funds for hospitals. Having run his first 10k in 1984, Pok has continued running throughout his life and recently ran the Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc (CCC).

Edward Sares (USA)

Edward is 51 year old and lives New York with his wife Eileen and his three children Isabelle, Lourdes and Fabrizio. He has been a Sales Trader for the past 25 years, and currently works for the Brazilian broker dealer XP Securities in New York. He started running in an effort to support a friend – Gary Thompson – in running his first NYC Marathon in 2014 and they have since run the run the last 5 NYC marathons together and recruited many friends to join them in destination marathons along the way. Their list includes Berlin, Chicago, Reykjavík and Washington DC. The will now run the world’s coolest marathon together.

Rob Schimek (USA)

Rob enjoys the physical and mental challenge of extreme events. He is a two-time competitor in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii (‘15 and ‘17); three time competitor in the World’s Toughest Mudder - a 24 hour endurance event in Nevada (‘14, ‘16 and ‘17) and he has completed more than ten marathons including London, Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and, most recently, Hong Kong. He currently lives in Singapore where temperatures range between hot and hotter but he has prepared for cold weather over the years by tailgating at Philadelphia Eagles games and drinking ice cold beer with his friends.

Magnus Steen (SWE)

Magnus took up running ten years ago and has since ticked off numerous distances and races including the Copenhagen Marathon 2010, Frankfurt 2012, Helsingborg 2013 & 2018, Klamar Ironman 2017 and the Vasaloppet (90km) x-country skiing race in 2018. He is 50 years old and married with two children.

Yang Sun (CHN)

Bio to be added

Jens Sydor (GER/USA)

Jens is a scientist living in the Chicago area and working in a US pharmaceutical company, enjoying life to the fullest. He completed his first triathlon in 1994 and since then has always loved endurance racing. Despite running multiple marathons and even an ultramarathon (JFK 50 miler) in 2018, his passion has always been triathlons and he has two Ironman finishes. Sometimes Jens just loves to put a hard marathon in the mix like the North Pole Marathon and this will be his personal gift for his 50th birthday.

Gary Thompson (GBR)

Gary is an avid long-distance marathon runner who has completed 16 marathons to date. He became a Six Star World Major Marathon finisher for completing all Majors within a 12-month period and has enjoyed running a marathon in Pyongyang, North Korea and travelling to Everest base camp. A father of two twin boys, he hopes to instill a love of travel and adventure in them and looks forward to celebrating his 50th year on the top of the world at the Geographic North Pole.

Carlo Tonini (AUS)

Carlo has completed various adventures such as the Murray River Marathon in Australia (404km kayaking event), Kokoda trek in Papua New Guinea (96km) and the Oxfam walk in Australia (100km). In 2019, he hopes to join The Marathon Grand Slam Club by finishing the FWD North Pole Marathon. To date he has completed the following marathons: Gold Coast (Australia), New York (North America), London (Europe), Great Wall of China (Asia), Big 5 (Africa) and Inca Trail (South America) and theAntarctic Ice Marathon (Antarctica). Whilst physically putting himself through the challenge, he is financially raising much needed funds for Cancer Research through his World’s Biggest Dinner campaign He has currently raised over $270,000.

Matthew Von Ertfelda (USA)

Matthew is responsible for global food & beverage strategy and operations for Marriott International, the largest hotel company in the world. Born in Hong Kong and living now in Washington DC, he speaks several languages and has traveled the world as an endurance racer and high-octane adventurer. Past jungle treks include the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia, Borneo and West Papua on the Island of Papua New Guinea. Past endurance race destinations include Hong Kong, Antarctica, Brazil, Morocco, Madagascar, Iceland, Bhutan, Chile, Sri Lanka, Dominica, Albania, Kenya and Namibia. Matthew was also a contestant and season finalist on the television show Survivor: The Amazon.

Jordan Wylie (GBR)

Bio to be added

Yi Yang (CHN)

Yi has previously completed the Dubai Marathon and has been to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. She nelieves the FWD North Pole Marathon will be the most special adventure that she takes part in.

Tao Yao (CHN)

Tao is a 42 years old doctor from Shenzhen, China. She has been running for four years, and completed 13 marathons in China and overseas, including the Berlin Marathon and Gold Coast Marathon, and has a person best of 3 hours 52 minutes. She loves outdoor sports such as climbing, hiking, and traveling. She enjoyed the two trips to Northern Europe to see the aurora, and is ready to go farther north and participate in the FWD North Pole Marathon.