Getting to the Pole
By what means am I transported to and from the North Pole?
An AN-74TK-100 (Antonov) jet will fly you to an international North Pole Camp called Barneo situated between 89N and 90N, drifting in the high Arctic Ocean. The Antonov will return to collect you approximately 36 - 48 hours later. The flight duration is 2½ hours each way. The AN-74TK-100 is a converted cargo plane that is purposely built for such conditions. By design, the front of the plane is used for seating and the rear is utilised for cargo storage.
The AN-74TK-100 is an exceptional medium-sized transport aircraft. It belongs to the category of STOL aircrafts: Short Take-Off and Landing aircrafts. It’s unique design and a robust fuselage provide for a perfect performance in hostile weather conditions and shorter landing strips. Mounted on elevated wings, the Antonov’s two jet engines provide greater thrust wing capacity to the wing’s surface area (referred to as the ‘Coanda’ effect).
Is it safe to fly to the North Pole?
There have never been any accidents involving flights to the North Pole camp and the pilots are experts in polar environments. The Antonovs receive appropriate certification from the Russian Ministry of Transport and are additionally authorised by the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority. Great Britain's Prince Harry used the same plane as the North Pole Marathon to fly to the Pole 2011.
Is there any land at the North Pole?
No. The North Pole is not situated on land, but on the Arctic Ocean. Athletes will therefore be running 'on' water…frozen water! You will be running on an ice sheet some 6 - 12 feet thick above 12,000 feet of Arctic Ocean on the top of the world.
Information on the North Pole Camp
Barneo Ice Camp is the name of the temporary base camp that is put in place for the North Pole Marathon. It is a unique complex on a drifting ice floe in the Arctic Ocean in the immediate proximity of The North Pole. The complex includes a runway and a tent camp constructed for a period of three weeks each April, where it also caters for scientists and explorers.
Barneo Ice Camp owes its exotic name to the first radio operator who broadcasted ‘Barneo’ as their call sign in April 1993. Every year the construction of the ice camp starts with a search for a suitable ice floe in the area between latitudes 88.5 and 89.5 degrees North and longitudes 80 and 130 degrees East. A suitable ice floe must be a combination of a one-year-old ice field about 1.2 to 1.5 metres thick, to construct the runway and an older ice flow over 2metres in thickness for the ice camp to be built on. Fuel and all major equipment, including a tractor for building a runway, are then delivered by air drops.
Will I get to stand at the exact North Pole?
Yes. Assuming we are not by some remote chance floating over 90N when all have finished the race, we will travel by Mi-8 chopper the short distance to the exact Geographic North Pole (90N). Remember that we are floating on the Arctic Ocean and within minutes we will have moved away from the exact North Pole!