Kenwynne Barber (Great Britain / Wales)
A 66 year-old grandmother of four who likes to compete in extreme running events and distances. Kenwynne has run six London Marathons as well as New York, Hawaii and Barbados. She has also run marathons in Italy, France and Australia as well as completing numerous ultra distances: among them, the 80-mile South Downs Way, the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage race, two Marathon des Sables 150-mile events, and two 100km del Sahara. Kenwynne has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and completed the three peaks challenge (highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales in succession). As is always the case with her, Kenwynne will attempt to raise funds for the UK 'Dreams Come True' charity, which fulfills the dreams of terminally ill children.
Gary Baron (Australia / Britain / Canada)
Despite only completing his first marathon in Vancouver in May 2003, 46 year-old Gary intends to have completed marathons on all seven continents by February 2006 when he will complete the Luxor Marathon in Egypt. After that, it’s off to the North Pole Marathon in April to become member of the exclusive Grand Slam Club of marathoners. Gary has always had an adventurous spirit. At only sixteen years of age, he left his school and home in England for life at sea as a deck cadet, emigrated to Australia when he was 21 and now calls Vancouver, Canada home. His choice of marathons reflects this adventurous spirit – the Antarctica Marathon, the Great Wall Marathon in China, the Easter Island Marathon being among his choices. Despite leaving school at such a young age, Gary earned his MBA at 44 and is business development manager with a shipping company.
Mark Clifford (Great Britain / England)
Previously competed in the Sahara Desert's Marathon des Sables, the Kilimanjaro Marathon and the highest marathon in the world - the Everest Marathon. Mark admits to using these extreme events as a bizarre weight control system in which he ranges from being overweight and unmotivated to being obsessively fit and not too fat. On his journeys he has eaten his fair share of doughnuts, beefburgers and bags of plain crisps. Mark was talked into entering the North Pole Marathon by another participant - David Jones - and intends to use the event to continue his funraising efforts for two very worth causes: the St. James's Place Foundation (www.sjpc.co.uk) and Hope and Homes for Children (www.hopeandhomes.org). With a target sponsorship of £25,000, St James's Place, where the 44 year-old works as Regional Director, have kindly agreed to double every pound that Mark raises to give a projected total of £50,000.
Michael Collins (Ireland)
Top endurance athlete and ward-winning author. In 1997, Michael co-won the Antarctica Marathon in an astounding 2.33 and followed this up a couple of years later by winning the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race and Everest Challenge Marathon in record time. A long-time resident of Washington State (USA), Michael holds a PhD in English and is a highly respected and successful international novelist. He has also competed in ski racing, specifically the hazardous 150km Arctic Circle Race in Greenland. His books have been translated into many languages with 'The Keepers of Truth' being shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000.
Alain D'Andria (France)
Completed numerous marathons and half-marathons since his first race nine years ago at age forty-six. Alain says he caught the marathon bug from his very first race and although difficult to combine training with long hours of work as Head of Undertakings in the building sector, he uses running as a great way to unwind and relax. Included among Alain's marathons are New York, London (twice), Rotterdam, Hamilton, Peking, Stockholm, Chicago, Monaco, Maranello Ferrari, La Rochelle and one in his native Marseille. He has also completed the Two Oceans ultra in South Africa, a half-marathon in Rio de Janeiro and many other half-marathons in France.
David Donnell-Jones (Great Britain / England)
A competitive swimmer from a young age, a quest for new challenges saw him compete in the UK’s first Ironman triathlon in the early 80s. Since then, David has completed a variety of events including the London and Paris triathlons, Karrimor mountain marathons, English Channel swims and numerous London Marathons. Now, following 10 years of living the good life and improving his golf handicap, David's imagination and motivation has been rekindled by the prospect of competing at the North Pole. What seems like an outstanding challenge to him, it is also a great excuse to dust off the running shoes, explore a part of the world he'd never even dreamt of visiting and raise some much needed funds for St Rocco’s Hospice and Reach, a charity helping children cope with limb deficiencies.
Johnny Donnelly (Ireland)
A 33 year-old father of three who ran his first marathon at the age of twelve. Johnny has run about twenty marathons over the past few years including New York, Dublin, Barcelona and the Two Oceans ultramarathon in Cape Town, South Africa. He will run the 100km del Sahara prior to the 2006 North Pole Marathon and then travel to Cape Town immediately afterwards to compete in the Two Oceans.
Giles Griffiths (Great Britain / England)
A 40-year old who has previously run the 2004 Marathon du Medoc and Trailwalker (South Downs Challenge). Giles also climbed Mont Blanc in 2003.
Nigel Haigh (Great Britain / England)
Keen cross country runner and orienteer in the past and also a veteran of the London Marathon from back in '83. More recently, 50 year-old Nigel completed the 2003 London Triathlon, which set him thinking about completing other challenges on an annual basis. However, a knee operation in 2004 soon curtailed that. He lnow ooks forward to running with his friends, Jim Summers and Giles Griffiths, at the North Pole.
Alison Hamlett (Great Britain / England)
Completed four marathons since 2004, running the Beirut, London, Everest Challenge and Mardi Gras events. Alison finished second female in a highly competitive Himalayan 100-mile stage race in 2005 and ran a PB of a 3.16 to place fourth in the 2006 Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans. She also had two running trips to Russia in 2005 where she participated in week-long stages of the Great Russian Race from Vladivostock to St Petersburg. Alison, who has worked at Runner's World magazine for the past two years, will also be pacing the London Marathon in April if she survives the North Pole.
Mark Howe (Great Britain / England)
Completed two London marathons and the Loch Ness Marathon event. Mark likes the opportunity to challenge himself and to grow through that experience, and, having read an article in Runner's World on the North Pole Marathon he became very engaged. A longstanding Trustee of the Cambridge Cancer Help Centre, the 44 year-old Senior Local Government Manager has been moved by the courage and determination of people who live with cancer in there daily lives. Vulnerability and fear of the unknown are commonplace with people with cancer. Mark's wife suffered with breast cancer and he recently lost his brother James at 45. His participation in the marathon will be the starting point of a fundraising campaign for the Cambridge Cancer Help Centre to secure a permanent home for the unique services the centre offers in Cambridge. Mark will be fuelled by the experiences of those close to him and others' personal journeys with cancer as well as the buzz of running with like-minded people.
Gareth Hughes (Great Britain / Wales)
A former rugby player and cricket player who captained his university teams in both disciplines. Gareth, who is now based in New York and working as a City Trader, is using the North Pole Marathon as a catalyst to return to his previous fitness levels. A 25 year-old travel junkie, he also couldn't refuse the prospect of a trip to the top of the world.
Chris Jonns (Great Britain / England)
Completed two New York City marathons and most recently the Great Ethiopian Run. Chris, who is originally from London, is currently based in New York and looks forward to the travel and adventure involved in competing in the North Pole Marathon. He raised funds for Cancer Research UK when running in Ethiopia and will do so again via his participation at the North Pole. The 25 year-old money broker's future aspirations include an Ironman triathlon.
Marcel Kasumovich (Canada)
Only recently caught the marathon bug, running his first in New York in 2004 (3.10) and his second in Boston, 2005. Marcel is also a supporter of the annual Around the Bay 30k in Hamilton, Ontario, which predates Boston as North America's oldest road race. Although not a lover of the cold, Marcel is nevertheless stubborn and plans to train on the snowy plains of Ottawa as well as upstate New York. He will prepare for encounters with polar bears by fleeing from the rare but vicious snow chipmunks indigenous to the Great White North! Although a New York City resident, the 35 year-old economist runs under the Stoney Creek flag, a small Canadian town in the province of Ontario that is famous for Canada's victory in the war of 1812.
Carsten Kölle (Germany)
Completed several half marathons and marathons with a best time of 2.50. Carsten, who lives in Switzerland with his Dutch girlfriend, has also summitted numerous mountains including Mont Blanc (France), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Mt. Fuji (Japan) and Aconcagua (Argentina). An avid skier in the Swiss Alps, the 30 year-old is also training for his first Ironman triathlon in July 2006. Carsten has travelled extensively around the globe and taken time out to back pack for several weeks to months at a time.
Jim Lawrence (USA)
Ran his first marathon (Seattle) as a 30th birthday present to himself and quickly became addicted to crossing finish lines and earning race numbers and his collection is steadily growing. Jim will run anything from a 5k to ultra marathons and recently ran the entire 24 hours of the San Diego 1 Day race, finishing with 105 miles. It feels nearly unbelievable to Jim that he'll be racing at the top of the world with other gutsy athletes and is happy to be running again with friends Gary Baron, Ginny Turner and the Ross Duo, all of whom he met in Antarctica. His favoutite races: Antarctica Marathon (finished 6th overall); Fin del Mundo Marathon in Ushuaia, Argentina; San Diego 1 Day; White River 50 Mile at Crystal Mountain, WA; Big Sur International Marathon and the Furry 5k, a benefit for the Seattle Animal Shelter. Jim hopes to have raced all seven continents and the North Pole before he turns 45. When not jogging, his days are spent as a paralegal in the Torts Division for the Attorney General of Washington.
Wendy MacKinnon (Great Britain / Scotland)
Winner of the inaugural Antarctic Ice Marathon in January 2006. Wendy won the Ice Marathon, a sister race of the North Pole Marathon and the southernmost marathon on earth, in a time of 6.33.30. She had previously run the London and Loch Ness marathons, both in 2004, and usually runs the Inverness Half Marathon each year. Wendy always wanted to travel to Antarctica and promised herself to do something physically challenging if the opportunity arose. With this mind, she learnt how to ski as she assumed she would end up pulling a sledge on the last continent. However, on reading about the inaugural Antarctic Ice Marathon, Wendy knew this was her ideal Antarctic challenge and signed up immediately. She now turns her attention to the opposite end of the earth and might be hoping for a repeat success.
Peter McGarry (Ireland)
Completed the New York Marathon in 2004 and the Marathon du Medoc in France in 2005 as part preparation for the North Pole Marathon. Peter has lived in the UK and Asia over the past few years and travelled extensively throughout the far east. The 28 year-old interest rate trader is raising money for Cancer Research UK and keeping a detailed blog of his training experiences at http://www.northpolemadness.blogspot.com/. The North Pole Marathon is on a list of 100 things to do before he dies...if he ever gets around to writing a list. To donate to his chosen charity, go to http://www.justgiving.com/np2006.
Jim Montgomerie (Great Britain / Scotland)
An ex-professional boxer who has also run the New York, London and Great Wall of China marathons. Jim, who was undefeated in his two professional bouts, now hopes to run a marathon on each of the seven continents and join the Grand Slam Club by also running the North Pole Marathon on the Arctic Ocean. As well as being a pub owner, the 32 year-old is an actor and has been in films with Jet Lee, Bob Hoskins, Morgan Freeman and Billy Connolly, as well as in numerous advertisements. Jim is going to wear a kilt over his running gear at the North Pole and recently wore it during the Great Wall Marathon in China. He will take part in an ultramarathon in the Sahara Desert (in the kilt of course) just two weeks prior to the 2006 North Pole race. Jim hopes to raise as much money as possible for the Marie Curie Fund, a charity that helps families whose loved ones have cancer.
Philippe Moreau (France)
Took up running two years ago and has since finished the New York City Marathon, the Lisieux 80km and the Course des Templiers (70km). Philippe likes the idea of particpating in races where pushing beyond oneself is the principal objective.The 43 year-old's future aspirations include the Grand Raid de Cro Magnon (106km) in June 2006 and the Grand Raid de la Reunion (150km with 8,000 metres of climbing) in October 2006. Philippe is married with three children.
Stephen Murphy (Great Britain / England)
Completed two London Marathons and one Edinburgh Marathon since commencing running three years ago. A member of Reigate Priory Running Club, the 49 year-old father of four will be trying to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital through his participation in the race.
Phil Murray (Great Britain / England)
A keen downhill and cross-country skier who has participated in some adventure races in the UK. Phil also rock climbs and mountaineers and has had recent trips to the French Alps. Although he has taken part in some 10-mile and half-marathon road races, he has never run a marathon before. Nevertheless, he reckons this is the best one to attempt first. Phil works as an Emergency Medical Technician for the ambulance service in the north east of England and finds training between shifts to be difficult. However, he looks forward to the possibility of seeing a polar bear.
Vir Kumar Nanda (USA)
Completed seven marathons in various locations such as the USA, Greece and South Africa. Running has become a life's passion since Vir first took it up in 1989 and the 51 year-old medical physician now gets up daily at 4.30am for his morning training session.
Paul O'Dwyer (Ireland)
A sporting enthusiast who has participated in many different outdoor activities. Paul, a 36 year-old field engineer, has climbed and trekked through the Himalayas, scuba dived in the Philippines and Cuba and skied a number of times in Europe. His main sports are now squash, football, golf and tennis. Although he has never run a marathon before, he enjoys challenges and views the North Pole Marathon as a once in a lifetime experience.
Simon Pinchin (Great Britain / England)
Never ran a race before but won a Runner's World (UK) competition for an all expenses paid trip to the North Pole Marathon. The competition required readers to write a short story recounting a running adventure, true or fictional, and Simon's fictional story about running in a refugee camp scooped the prize. The 40 year-old police officer's winning story was also featured in the February 2005 edition of Runner's World. Simon is married with two children and began recreational running in late 2004.
Kimi Puntillo (USA)
A journalist who has covered professional sports, the Olympics and adventure marathons for U.S. newspapers, magazines, web sites and television. Kimi has completed 19 marathons and was the first woman to run a marathon on every continent in the world. A New York City native, she favours marathons set in exotic locales with a terrain challenge, including the Kilauea Wilderness Run in Hawaii with 14 miles of jagged lava rock, the Everest Marathon on trekking trails with a race start at an altitude of 17,500 feet, and the Great Wall Marathon where the entire course is on the Wall requiring scaling more than 60,000 steps. She looks forward to meeting some of the world's most prolific adventure marathoners, running on top of the world and learning more on how global warming is affecting the area.
Neil Rhodes (Great Britain / England)
A personal trainer by profession who has trained World Champions and World record holders, but has marathon experience. Rather, Neil's area of expertise is rowing. He is a member of the Great Britain indoor rowing squad and is the only person in the world to have rowed one million metres (on three occasions). At 48 years old, he is acknowledged by Guinness World Records as the world record holder with this distance. Remarkably, Neil's brain technically died for a short period on February 18th 2003 due to a massive brain haemorrhage. However, he obviously recovered to tell the tale but with "even less intelligence than before" accoridng to himself.
David Ross (USA)
Completed two marathons, including the Antarctica Marathon, and plans for numerous others before the 2006 North Pole Marathon. David's son James will join him at the North Pole in a very unique father-son combination in the race. The 55 year-old hikes and bikes lot, having cycled the 450 mile Ride the Rockies and other routes as well as trekking long distances across the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. He is the founder and chief scientist at REF Technology, which produces the primary software that routes US mail and perfors electronic authentication for the US Department of Treasury. His wife Heidi is probably not surprised he wished to run the North Pole Marathon given that his first date was to bring her parachute jumping.
James Ross (USA)
Completed two marathons - the Antarctica Marathon and the Yakima River Marathon - and should have five completed by April 2006. At 18 years-old, James is already an expert skier, an avid traveller, and is majoring in physics at college. He is interested in wilderness survival and hikes extensively, having been to all three scouting high-adventure camps as an Eagle Scout. The eldest of three siblings, James will accompany his father, David Ross, in the North Pole Marathon.
Hal Salvesen (Great Britain / Scotland)
Completed the 2005 London Marathon and then the 2005 New York Marathon in a gorrilla outfit. An officer in the merchant navy, he lives in Newcastle Upon Tyne when not at sea and plays rugby when not training for marathons. Twenty-four years old, Hal has also signed up for the 2007 Marathon des Sables.
James Sams (Great Britain / England)
An ex-national swimmer who has recently taken to marathon running and completed the New York City Marathon. James has travelled much of the world in the last few years, living in Australia and Thailand along the way. A 25 year-old business owner and self-confessed adrenaline junkie, he will add this challenge to his latest sporting endeavours, including climbing Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro and eight bungee jumps and three sky dives in New Zealand. He hopes to raise money for Cancer Research UK in the process.
Clyde Shank (USA)
Having started running in 1985, Clyde ran his first marathon in 1994. Four years ago he met a fellow runner who had recently become a member of the 7 continents club. That was all it took. With his passion for life, love of foreign travel and adventuresome spirit, he was off to do the same. At 58 years old Clyde has been a manager at Honeywell for 26+ years. He has one son, a daughter and a step daughter. Clyde and his wife are past presidents of Plano Pacers, the local running group in Plano, Texas. One of his major highlights and joys in life was to train his wife Kelly (a non runner) to run the 2001 Chicago marathon. This was only equaled by the happiness experienced when he did the same thing in Dallas with his daughter Jennifer in 2002. Clyde completed his first ultra marathon in December 2005. Now, after running marathons in Antarctica, Easter Island, Egypt, Sweden and Australia that only leaves Great Wall (which he plans on completing this May) to fulfill his goal of becoming a member of the exclusive Marathon Grand Slam club. In the last year, Clyde has also learned to Scuba dive, dived the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and gained a Rescue Diver certification.
Mark Sinclair (Great Britain / England)
Recognised by Guinness World Records as the youngest person to run a marathon on all seven continents. His world record-breaking marathons have already taken him to Dubai, London, Rio, Sydney, New York, Antarctica and South Africa and Mark now wants to join the North Pole Marathon Grand Slam Club by running on the Arctic Ocean. The 25 year-old teacher's 2006 North Pole Marathon effort will be in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity (GOSHCC).
Brendan Smith (Australia)
Completed one marathon and two half-marathons to date and maintains an excellent standard of fitness. Brendan is a keen traveller, having backpacked and travelled through nearly 50 countries. Among his journeys, he has hiked the Kokoda Track in PNG, the Inca Trail in Peru and gone on numerous other shorter treks in Uganda, Zaire, Guatemala and Mexico. A 40 year-old police officer, currently working as an operations co-ordinator dealing with counter-terrorism and the protection of visiting dignitaries, Brendan has a journalism degree and a post grad in tv & film production. Married with three sons, he is competing in the 2006 North Pole Marathon in order to raise funds for the Mater Children's Hospital in Brisbane.
Johan Soderstrom (Sweden)
No marathon running experience, but has done a lot of alpine skiing, ski mountaineering, rock climbing, mixed climbing and walking. Johan's main motivation for the trip is simply to stand at the North Pole and he sees completion of the marathon as a great bonus - one of a long list of both big and small adventures he hopes to achieve. In addition to rock climbing in a number of countires, he has climbed Mount Blanc, Kilimanjaro and several peaks in Scandinavia. Married with three children, 41 year-old Johan is director of a machine manufacturing company.
Caitriona Strain (Ireland)
Completed two marathons and several half-marathons. Caitriona has additionally trekked across parts of the Sahara Desert and back-packed along the east coast of Australia. She has climbed the Atlas mountains, Mount Teidi and recently returned from climbing in the Alps. Caitriona's hobbies include cycling, hill-walking and travelling and she has dabbled in numerous outdoor activities, including canoeing, diving, white-water rafting, off-road 4 wheel driving, bungee-jumping and climbing. However, the 31 year-old ICT manager and lecturer has not bungee-jumped since a near fatal accident in 1998 when she hit the ground from 390 feet and was out of action for some time. Catriona has already raised €33,000 for two local hospices by participating in the 2006 North Pole Marathon.
Terri Straiton (Canada)
Never completed a marathon before and has never had ambitions to! Terri's first half-marathon was at the Great Wall of China in May 2005 where her boyfriend Gary Baron (also participating in the North Pole Marathon) asked her to marry him. Despite preferring creature comforts and not particularly liking to run or the cold, she nevertheless couldn't pass up the chance to run in Santa's backyard. It was Gary who talked her into joining him and Terri confesses the trip offers the prospect of a tremendous adventure and undoubtedly something they can talk about for a long time. Having proposed to her at the end of the Great Wall Marathon, Terri can't want to see what's in store for her when both herself and Gary finish the marathon together at the Pole.
Jim Summers (Great Britain / England)
Having an Irish mother, Welsh father, Scottish godparents and an English birth certificate, Jim runs under the Union Jack. This will be his first attempt at the 26.2 mile distance and being a resident of Lodsworth (a small village in West Sussex, England and the former home of Ranulph Fiennes' mother), the North Pole seemed like a good place to start - and probably end - his marathon running experience. Jim, age 51, is Chairman of London based investment firm Hydra Capital and CEO of the Lodsworth Arbitrage Fund. He says he plans to seek out and support the Pizza Express Team as, in his words, " Having run less than a 100 marathons each they seem to be the only normal people competing and fingers crossed they will have arranged a mobile restaurant nearby !". As a confirmed competitor in the 2005 postponed NP Marathon he is delighted for the opportunity to have another go at the event. While training for last years marathon, he reports that he has recovered from his fall on the Theodul glacier at the foot of the Klien Matterhorn, Switzerland. However, as before he will still be relying heavily on his training for the 1998 London Triathlon (his last strenuous event) to get him to the start, while a pledge to assist the Himalayan Cataract Project (http://www.cureblindness.org/) with the funding for 5000 operations in Nepal should get him to the finish.
Herve Taquet (France)
Completed numerous marathons and ultramarathons and enjoys running long distances in extreme conditions such as high altitude. Among his races, Herve has run the Grand Raid de Cro Magnon (106km), the 100km de Millau, the Grand Raid de la Reunion (150km with 8,000 metres of climbing), and the Ultra Trail of Mont Blanc (158km with over 8,500 metres of ascent). A 44 year-old kinesitherapist, he is married with four children.
Mark Tointon (Great Britain / England)
Mark, who was born with a club foot, is undertaking a mammoth challenge for charity of running nine marathons, most in extreme conditions, during a two-year period. Having already completed New York, the 40 year-old will also run the Antarctic Ice Marathon, North Pole Marathon, London Marathon, Jungle Marathon, Sahara Marathon, Dead Sea Marathon and Everest Marathon. His itinerary will see him cover the northernmost, southernmost, highest and lowest marathons on earth. In addition, Mark will be attempting to complete the Marathon Grand Slam of running marathons on all seven continents and on the Arctic Ocean. The marathons will additionally entail some of the wettest, driest, coldest and windiest races on the planet. But it’s all for a good cause and designed to raise £50,000 for the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children (GOSHCC) where he once had seven operations to help rectify problems with his club foot. Mark has dubbed his mission the 7/11 Challenge as one foot is now four sizes bigger than the other and he consequently wears size 7 and 11 shoes. Furthermore, one leg is 3cm shorter than the other. For more details of his endeavour, see www.711challenges.com.
Ginny Turner (USA)
An avid runner and racewalker who has completed over 90 marathons to date, including three ultras. This 53 year old grandmother of 5 is a member of the 50 States & DC Group, the 50 States Marathon Club, and the 7 Continents Club—completing marathons in all 50 states of the USA including Washington DC—and all 7 continents of the world, including Antarctica. Ginny, who hails from Hillsboro Oregon USA, likes street marathons and completed the Comrades [Ultra] Marathon in South Africa in 1999. However, she finds excitement in extreme adventure courses including Pike’s Peak Marathon and the Mosquito Marathon in Colorado; 100 Mile Stage Race in the Himalayas of India; Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in the Andes of Peru; and the Marathon du Medoc in the wine country of France. This adventurous marathoner made her first skydive (tandem) the day before completing the 2004 Honolulu Marathon. While visiting South Africa in November 2005 she bungy jumped off the Bloukrans Bridge, which the Guiness Book of World Records claims to be the highest bungy in the world. Her immediate ambition is to add her name to the Grand Slam Club roster by completing the 2006 North Pole Marathon.
Osy Waye (Great Britain, Germany)
Vastly experienced marathon competitor, having completed 99 marathons across the globe in the last 18 years. Osy is already a member of the Seven Continents Club and will join the Marathon Grand Slam Club in April 2006 when he completes the North Pole Marathon. He also intends to make sure that his polar marathon will be his 100th marathon - a very significant milestone. Doing promotional runs in a polar bear outfit, Osy hopes to raise funds for a London-based education centre for children with cerebral palsy and for a soup kitchen that feeds those in need. A 56 year-old baptist church caretaker, his fundraising website is www.osy100.com.
Brent Weigner (USA)
First person to run an ultramarathon on all seven continents. Brent has run more than 130 marathons and ultramarathons to date, including in all 50 states and Washington DC, in all Canadian provinces and territories, and at both the North and South Poles. An experienced traveller, Brent has raced various distances in 87 different countries in all. A 55 year-old teacher, he has been the race director for the Wyoming Marathon races for the past 27 years and has a best marathon time of 2.45.50. He holds a PhD in educational administration.
Profiles of the ten competitors on the PizzaExpress team are outlined below.
Harvey Smyth, Great Britain
Chief Executive of PizzaExpress
The driving force behind the PizzaExpress team of chefs, waiters and managers running the North Pole Marathon to raise money for the charity Kids. Having hiked, ran, canoed and biked the Snowdonia Challenge last year with the PizzaExpress All Stars, the 37 year old thought this would be a bit more of a challenge. Former conquests, including an ascent of Mont Blanc and three marathons, put Harvey in a great position to take on the rigorous training for polar conditions. However, some may argue that pounding the South Bank on a cold Tuesday morning isn't quite the extreme conditions he’ll find at the North Pole!
Simon Chester, Great Britain
Supply Chain Manager
Keen on any outdoor pursuit be it mountaineering in the Andes or diving in the Grenadines, Simon began running several years ago on retirement from Sunday league rugby. Having never embarked upon a marathon before, Simon thought he’d take the bull by the horns. He’s also hoping the pain of the cold will take away the pain of the running. Forever the optimist, he's pounding the foothills of the Chilterns in preparation and hoping to take this race in his stride. As unofficial team photographer, he’s hoping to get hold of a camera that functions at minus 30 degrees. Any offers?? Simon too is running for the charity Kids.
Huw Jones, Great Britain
Supervisor at PizzaExpress, Banbury
Despite being one of the younger competitors at 23, Huw already has several marathons under his belt. After being dragged into the sport by his dad, he's been running frequently since 2003. After a competition was posted around the company looking for people to join the PizzaExpress team for the North Pole marathon, he felt it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. As well as the North Pole marathon, Huw has several other races lined up for 2006 including the London marathon two weeks after the North Pole event. Huw, like the rest of the PizzaExpress team, is running for Kids.
Colleen Antrobus, New Zealand/Great Britain
PA for Capricorn, shareholders of Gondola Holdings
Colleen is a total marathon novice however she does have one major running achievement under her belt. In her youth she was a member of the relay team that ran HM The Queens baton around New Zealand for the Commonwealth Games. With 2006 marking her 40th birthday, Colleen decided that the time was ripe to do something really significant. Colleen will be raising money for Kids.
Stuart Codling, Great Britain
Restaurant Operations Manager
The North Pole Marathon will be Stuart’s first ever marathon. As he sees it, it’s best to start with a real challenge. Having got the bug for all things extreme fairly recently, probably starting with Cage Diving with Great White Sharks in South Africa, Stuart competed in the Snowdon Triathlon in 2005. Along with three other team members from PizzaExpress, Stuart finished fourth in a field of over 50. Having just signed up for the triathlon again this year and having recently spent time trekking through the Amazon jungle and Andes in Peru, Stuart sees the NP Marathon as a fantastic challenge to get the year off to a good start. Like all his fellow PizzaExpress team mates, Stuart is raising money for Kids, a charity that provides much needed support for disabled children and young people in the UK.
Joanne Gowing, Great Britain
PA to Harvey Smyth
Having never run more than 3 miles (at the age of two whilst escaping from her parents on a beach), Jo was challenged to sign up for the North Pole marathon by her boss, Harvey. Being a Northern girl, Jo's obviously used to the cold, although pounding the streets of London is slightly warmer than minus 30! As a travel freak, this will be the experience of a lifetime not to mention a great personal achievement in reaching the finish line. Jo's blackmailed her friends and family to raise as much as possible for Kids, otherwise she'll show them her blisters!
Roobik Eskandari, Great Britain
Supervisor at PizzaExpress, Ealing
Roobik has been getting excited about running this marathon ever since he signed up. However, after finishing the 2003 London Marathon (the only one he has ever run) he told himself never to run another marathon – just too much pain! He is hoping this time the only pain will be the cold. A keen footballer and badminton player, he likes big challenges. Roobik is raising money for Kids.
Will Knight, Great Britain
Restaurant Trainer, North of England/Scotland
Having spent many of his junior years leading a highly active lifestyle such as cross country running, rugby and kayaking for the East Midlands, Will has successfully managed to avoid nearly all forms of physical activity for the past 11 years. Will’s current role as a regional trainer for PizzaExpress further adds to his healthy living ethos. He currently drives up and down the UK covering between 8-12 hundred miles a week consuming a balanced diet of motorway ‘a la carte’! Realising his life was prematurely running away from him, as well as having to get in shape for his marriage to his beautiful fiancée this June, Will decided he needed a wee bit of a challenge. Will's running for Kids.
Evelyn Haran, Great Britain/Ireland
A complete novice in terms of marathon running, Evelyn's not adverse to dare devil challenges. She experienced the most arduous icy challenge during her 3000m climb to the top of Volcan Villarica in Chile. Her partner in crime and husband, Tony Copp, will be running too, their idea of a romantic weekend away! Ultimately the chance to run at the North Pole, in the freezing cold and on ice, on top of the world was too great an experience to pass up. She too will be supporting the charity Kids.
Tony Copp, Great Britain
A 51 year-old father of three, Tony has been inspired by his sporty children to take a step back in time to his own more sporting youth and take part. He was a keen sportsman, having run the 7 peaks of the Mountains of Mourne in Ireland. With no conventional marathon running behind him, Tony is looking forward to helping his wife Evelyn finish the marathon, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. He too will be raising money for Kids.