|Marco, Rickey and Christina at the finish|
Now, I'm not in a good position to talk about any rivalry. I mean - I've really only spent time here at Pole, so I don't have a lot to compare with. Well, yes, there were those three days in McMurdo, but that's not nearly enough to get a sense for the culture there, or how they do things.
But I do like the way Polies think.
For example: remember the "Race around the World"? A couple of miles over snow, berms, along the skiway, then out in front of the station, finishing where we started, in front of the geographical South Pole (otw, in case I've not made that point before). We had some amazing participants - Keith is a veteran extreme distance runner, Curtis, who's won it something like 5 of the past 7 years, and the newcomer, Rickey, who holds a handful of running world records - things like time to the top of Half Dome, and other mountains. On the distaff, there were women like Christina, Haley, and Katie, who can easily run mere mortals into the ground. It was a good race, and Rickey blew the doors off of everyone, covering the course in 13:32. That's 6:25-minutes per mile over rough terrain, at 9300 feet of altitude at -20F. Let that sink in. Next finisher (Curtis) was still under a 7-minute mile, but over a minute and a half behind. Christina clocked 18:22 for the best womens time, also beating second place by a minute and a half.
Anyhow, the prize for Rickey and Christina went beyond mere glory - they earned the right to represent the Pole at McMurdo's annual "Antarctic Marathon", which was held this morning.
|Flying finish for Christina's first ever|
marathon (and a South Pole record)
But this morning the station was plastered with fliers, advertising "The South Pole Contingency Marathon". Rickey and Christina couldn't run the McMurdo marathon, so out of nowhere, the station decided to organize its own. It would be held this very afternoon, consisting of a circuit over the Round the World course and enough laps up and down the skiway to make up the rest of the 26.2 required miles. All were invited to help and participate.
|When Sarah isn't spontaneously|
running marathons, she's an
astrophysicist at Stanford
|Okay, maybe it's not the *best* thing to have|
written on your finish-line tape, but you make do
with what what you have.
(Oh, by the way: Curtis, our RATW second-place finisher, had flown down from Pole to McMurdo a couple of days earlier for redeployment. I understand he won their Marathon by a rather substantial lead. Didn't I say something about rivalries back at the beginning?)
More pictures, and a much better description of the race itself over at "Life at the Bottom of the World".
In other news, Linda organized a South Pole spelling bee this afternoon - not the first, it turns out. I held on until the final three, flaming out on "rhinocero[u]s" - yes, I know there's no "u" in rhinoceros - there's a bad joke buried there somewhere, despite the fact that rhinoceros (rhinoceri?) are herbivores. Jesse and Steven battled it out on staphylococci, xanolith and the like until Steven tripped on psoriasis and Jesse walked away with first prize: a $100 gift certificate.
|Justus on the spot|
|Just like 8th grade, all over again.|
|Jesse (left) thinks he's got it. He does.|
I still need to tell you about my tour of MAPO, and the ongoing South Pole Coriolis Dish Pit experiment. Busy times at the Pole, busy times.