Sunday, 8 January 2012

An Introduction to Siberia

Well - here we go again! I rashly made a promise to an old University friend of mine that I would do a run for her newly founded charity. She set up Target Ovarian Cancer following the deaths of her Mother and Sister within months of each other.
And then one day I found this little beauty - full marathon across a frozen lake in Siberia in winter!
The Lake is Lake Baikal - the oldest and deepest lake in the world. It is so large it contains 22% of all the world's fresh water. It's situated about 200 miles north of the Mongolian border near Irkutsk - 9 time zones away and 11 hours of flying to get there.
Its a comforting -26 in Irkutsk at the moment and will be around -20 at the start. It can then go either way - on a good day being sunny and clear and warming to around -5, but on a bad day ......!!
I've got most of my cold weather kit and ice spikes for my shoes.
I got an email form my old friend Howard Stableford the other day who has camped out on Baikal. He says the cracking of the ice sounds like a freight train coming towards you and going straight underneath you; and that great mounds of ice up to 10m tall are pushed up from the surface - so it isn't all flat by any means. Although I gather they finalise the route on the day having taken satellite images so they know where there are any obstacles or indeed hot spots where the ice melts due to geothermic activity.
And of course we sprinkle vodka on the lake before the start to appease the gods of the lake - so no danger then as long as we have done that!
I'm trialling a helmet/head cam so will put up some test footage from that before I go. I then hope to video quite a lot of the run itself so you can get a feel for what it's like.
Just a bit more training to go before March. I'm running the Windermere course on Saturday with friends old and new from Brathay, then I've got 2 in 2 days courtesy of the great Foxy who has kindly let me enter 2 out of his Quadzilla in February.
I'll let you know how these go and update on preparations for Baikal. Thanks as always for reading!

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