84year old Canadian man is the oldest person to finish a marathon in Antarctica

It took 11 hours, 41 minutes and 58 seconds, but Roy Svenningsen of Edmonton, at 84, became the oldest person ever to complete a marathon in Antarctica when he crossed the finish line of the Antarctic Ice Marathon on Friday. (Results unofficial.) Race director Richard Donovan praised Roy’s accomplishment and said “It’s a fantastic achievement and one to inspire generations of athletes.”

Svenningsen, a retired oil executive, has run more than 50 marathons on five continents. His first was the Calgary marathon, back in 1964, and he posted his fastest time (an impressive 2:38) in Helsinki, Finland.

The Antarctic Ice Marathon is the southernmost marathon in the world. It takes place at 80 degrees south latitude, at the foot of the Ellsworth Mountains, only a few hundred miles from the South Pole. It is one of two official running events that take place inside the Antarctic Circle on mainland Antarctica. (The other is the Antarctica International Marathon, which kicks off the World Marathon Challenge, in February.) Runners face very challenging conditions, with temperatures as low as -20 C.

In the same race this weekend, Susan Ragon of Cambridge, Mass. became the oldest woman to finish a marathon in Antarctica, at 69. Her time was 7:38:32. Ragon, who came to marathon running relatively late in life, has run the Boston Marathon 20 times, and set her personal best of 3:52 there in 2008, at age 58.

The race was won by William Hafferty of Boston, who set an event record in 3:34:12, and Lenka Frycova of the Czech Republic in 4:40:38.

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