News, Sports

Running On Top Of The World

North Pole marathon 2011 - Glenn Harkness crosses the finish line
Canadian Glenn Harkness crosses the finish line of the 2011 North Pole Marathon. He finished 11th out of 27 competitors.

Twenty-seven runners from around the world recently ran a marathon on one of the most remote and icy places on earth — the North Pole.

On April 8, competitors from around the world met at the North Pole and ran on the frozen ice for six hours, facing temperatures as low as -32° C.

Contestants flew to Norway from countries around the world. Then they all flew together from Norway to the North Pole. The marathon was scheduled for April 7 but it was delayed by one day because of a problem with the airport runway. Several one-metre-wide cracks had opened up on the plane’s runway due to cold weather.

The North Pole Marathon was organized by a man from Ireland named Richard Donovan, who has ran a marathon on every continent in the world. Donovan organized the first North Pole Marathon in 2002. Since then, seven marathons have taken place and 188 people from 33 different countries around the world have taken part. He has also organized a marathon on the South Pole called the Antarctic Ice Marathon.

This year’s race was dedicated to Mari-Simon Cronje, an 11-year-old girl from South Africa who died. Her dad ran for her at the North Pole.

Canada had a runner in the North Pole Marathon. His name is Glenn Harkness and he is the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton. He ran the race to raise awareness of, and money for, the organization. (Hamilton’s Boys and Girls Club provides the community’s youth with programs and activities such as swimming lessons, access to the Internet, gym activities and even a skate park.) Glenn Harkness called his fundraising campaign On Top of the World.

Glenn kept in touch with friends and family members back in Hamilton using the social networking site Twitter. Right after finishing the race Glenn wrote, “Marathon is over, very tough conditions, minus 32 weather, difficult running in parts with deep snow. Frost bite on my toes, painful.”

Harkness came 11th place, taking six hours and 18 minutes to run the whole 42 kilometres. The winner of the race was Istvan Toth, from Hungary, who ran it in four hours and 54 minutes.


Writing/Discussion Prompt
Glenn Harkness is running in this marathon to raise awareness and money for the charity, The Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton. Mari-Simon Cronje’s father is running in remembrance of her. Have you or someone you know ever taken action for a cause like these men? What are the ways in which you support or honour the people or causes you believe in?
Reading Prompt
“Shorts and running shoes were not enough for the 27 runners who recently ran a marathon at the North Pole.”
Use the descriptions and details in this article and your own knowledge to compare and contrast how runners would be affected by the cold conditions in the North Pole as opposed to running in a hot climate. Which would you prefer?
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them. (OME, Reading: 1.6)
Extend understanding of texts by connecting, comparing, and contrasting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them. (OME, Reading: 1.6).
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).
Grammar Feature: Numbers
Writers often include numbers to give their writing detail. For example, this article uses numbers to describe temperature, times, ages, and lots more. Circle all of the numbers in today’s article and put two lines under the words that the number describes.