Über Baikal Ice Marathon
RUN ON THE WORLD’S ONLY MARATHON ICE COURSE LAID BETWEEN TWO OPPOSITE SHORES OF THE PLANET'S DEEPEST LAKE !
One of the world’s oldest geographical features (formed 25 to 30 million years ago), magnificent Lake Baikal (Озеро Байкал) is the highlight of Eastern Siberia for many. Summer travellers enjoy gob-smacking vistas across waters of the deepest blue to soaring mountain ranges on the opposite shore; rarer winter visitors marvel at its powder-white surface, frozen steel-hard and scored with ice roads. Whether they swim in it, drink its water, skirt its southern tip by train, cycle or dog sled over it in winter or just admire it from 2000km of shoreline, most agree that Siberia doesn’t get better than this.
Banana-shaped Baikal is 636km from north to south and up to 1637m deep, making it the world’s deepest lake. In fact it’s not a lake at all, but the world’s future fifth ocean containing nearly one-fifth of the planet’s unfrozen fresh water (more than North America’s five Great Lakes combined). Despite some environmental concerns, it’s pure enough to drink in most places but use common sense. Fed by 300 rivers, it’s drained by just one, the Angara near Listvyanka. Lake Baikal, home of the Baikal Ice Marathon.
The surface of the frozen Lake Baikal is covered in fields of ‘hummocks’, small hills of ice rubble. Beneath the ice surface, geothermic springs and seismic activity cause localized melting that weakens the ice to form holes and cracks. Besides, every winter huge ice pressure ridges appear near the marathon course which is flat, but the surface is hard and uneven. Although it is mostly covered in a soft layer of snow, there are areas of highly polished ice that create conditions similar to an ice-rink. Strong winds may often add to the already bitingly cold temperature and provide serious resistance to progress across the Lake.
Baikal Ice Marathon offers competitors the unique opportunity to race across the waters of the largest, deepest and biotically richest fresh water lake in the world, but with the twist of the Lake Baikal being frozen. This event attracts many international visitors and has been said to be one of the world’s 50 toughest endurance races.