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2017 | Press Guide


Welcome to Albatros Adventure Marathons We are very excited to celebrate the forthcoming adventure marathon season with a great milestone in our company’s history – the start signal of The Great Wall Marathon on 20 May 2017 will represent the 60th running event organized worldwide by Albatros Adventure Marathons. For us, this is more than a number, it is a heartwarming achievement and true testament that passion is the best motivation. Over 30 years ago, we opened Albatros Travel, a small, familyoperated travel agency in Copenhagen, Denmark. It all began with a passion for travel and experiencing the world. Although we have seen significant growth since the early days, this original passion is reflected in all that we do. As you will quickly realize in these pages, we believe that each Albatros Adventure Marathon is an opportunity to offer every guest an empowering, eye-opening and life-changing experience. Like us, the runners have undoubtedly committed many hours pursuing their passion – committing, training, sacrificing and pushing their limits! Family and friends have supported their efforts and joined to celebrate the achievement. Regardless of running skills or chosen distance, runners will face an incredible physical and mental test as they take on challenging elevations, demanding terrain and unpredictable weather. But, what is a challenge without a reward? BIOLOGIST, EXPEDITION LEADER, FOUNDER & OWNER OF ALBATROS TRAVEL GROUP

We promise to deliver a rewarding and inspiring adventure that reveals the very best of each destination and leaves each guest feeling enriched and awakened.

Welcome to Albatros Adventure Marathons! Søren Rasmussen

Table of Contents 2

WELCOME FROM THE FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN

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PUSHING YOUR LIMITS

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THE STARTING LINE

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THE CONCEPT

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COURSE OF EVENTS

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LIFE-CHANGING ADVENTURES

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BRAND ARCHITECTURE

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THE GREAT WALL MARATHON

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THE BIG FIVE MARATHON

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THE PETRA DESERT MARATHON

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THE POLAR CIRCLE MARATHON

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THE BAGAN TEMPLE MARATHON

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PAST EVENTS

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ALBATROS TRAVEL & CSR

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YOUR CONTACTS 2


Pushing

limits

Here at Albatros Adventure Marathons, we’re all about taking running to another level. Our philosophy is to offer challenges in beautiful surroundings and varying terrain. The focus is on great experiences, pushing limits and achieving something extraordinary. Albatros Adventure Marathons are not just about the race – the events are also about enjoying time together with family, friends and other running-minded spirits on an active holiday. All the events come with a tour package providing accommodation, social events and excursions at the destination.

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The Starting Line It all began in 1998, when the owner and founder of Albatros Travel, Søren Rasmussen, envisioned a model for The Great Wall Marathon while brainstorming new business ideas. In the days thereafter, a relationship was established between Copenhagen-based Albatros Travel, the Danish Athletic Association and Beijing-based Culturestone Event.

It was truly a sprint to finish as the team finalized site selection, measured the route and laid the framework for the first Great Wall Marathon to be held on 26 May 1999. On Race Day, 350 runners from Denmark gathered in Yin & Yang Square of Huangyaguan’s Great Wall Fortress, focused on conquering the Great Wall of China. Some hours after the start signal, 292 Finishers completed the grueling marathon course. Word quickly spread about The Great Wall Marathon and interest grew in running communities around the world, thus inspiring the dawn of a new era at Albatros Travel. The organizing authority, Albatros Adventure Marathons, was born and set off to unite international runners through challenges hosted in locations of exceptional natural beauty and historical significance. The success of The Great Wall Marathon has since been followed by a series of other adventurous races. Today, Albatros Adventure Marathon owns, plans and executes five major running events around the world: The Great Wall Marathon, The Big Five Marathon, The Petra Desert Marathon, The Polar Circle Marathon and The Bagan Temple Marathon. Similarly, new adventures are always on the horizon! 4


The Concept “Adventure Marathon” Criteria Albatros Adventure Marathons adheres to stringent standards in the creation, organization and execution of every event. In order for a race to be called an “adventure marathon”, it must meet the following criteria: •

The route must go through unique surroundings with distinctive nature or culture.

The substrate must be challenging to run with a significant portion on terrain such as rock, sand or ice. Furthermore, the terrain must be varied along the way.

The route must be extremely physically demanding, so the average completion time is longer than a typical marathon race.

The route must contain hard ascents and descents, or take place at high altitudes.

Destination Selection As a division of Albatros Travel, our origins are deeply rooted in the company’s 30-plus years of expertise as a tour operator. We consider ourselves more than race organizers. The concept of our adventure marathons combines race entry with a tour package, giving runners and spectators the opportunity to visit lesser-travelled areas, know the countries and interact with the native cultures. While offering unique experiences beyond compare, we also aim to generate responsible tourism, build awareness for some of the world’s most remarkable destinations and most importantly, support the local economy. 5


Course of Events 1998: Founder of Albatros Travel, Søren Rasmussen, conceives a vision for The Great Wall Marathon. After exploring the Great Wall of China, the Huangyaguan section in the Tianjin Province is chosen for its small villages, demanding elevations, dramatic scenery and authentic cultural experiences. The groundwork is thus laid for the largest, most well-known and longest running event by Albatros Adventure Marathons.

1999: The first Great

2000: The Great Wall Marathon

Wall Marathon kicks off on 26th May with 350 runners from Denmark. Some hours after the start, 292 Finishers successfully conquered the grueling marathon course.

quickly gains international recognition with runners from 8 countries participating in 2000. The first Karen Blixen Marathon in Kenya sees 147 runners cross the finish!

Thirteen brave and indomitable runners take part in a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro and subsequently the multi-stage Kilimanjaro Marathon descent.

2001: This is the year of “firsts”! The Great Wall Marathon halfmarathon distance is first introduced with 186 Finishers, while marathon entries increase.

2017: This year’s Great Wall Marathon represents the 60th event organized worldwide by Albatros Adventure Marathons.

Runners accept the challenge of the first Polar Circle Marathon with 121 of 130 participants crossing the finish line.

2003: The SARS epidemic causes organisers to cancel The Great Wall Marathon.

2016: The Great Wall Marathon celebrates 22,216 runners successfully finishing the grueling course since 1999! The event becomes an annual sell-out with more than 2,500 runners from over 65 countries.

The first Great Tibetan Marathon is run in August with 179 Finishers. The event is held again in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

2013: The Great Wall Marathon reaches max capacity of 2,500 runners for the first time! The 5km and 10km competitions are merged into the 8.5km Fun Race.

The first Bagan Temple Marathon is a big success with 145 Finishers!

2004: The building of a dam south of Huangyaguan causes flooding on part of The Great Wall Marathon’s original marathon route. The route is changed to its current form. The 5km and 10km events are added. The first and only Great Cruise Marathon was run afloat in the Caribbean Sea with 47 Finishers.

2005: The first Big Five Marathon is run in the private game reserve of Entabeni Safari Conservancy with 83 Finishers. No fences, no rivers, nothing at all separates runners from the wildlife!

2009: The first Petra Desert Marathon is hosted in the UNESCOprotected site of Petra with 121 Finishers. The Great Wall Marathon celebrates its 10th anniversary!

2012: The once-in-a-lifetime Solar Eclipse Marathon begins in Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia as the sun emerged from the moon’s shadow. A total of 336 runners finished the marathon and halfmarathon events.

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Brand Architecture

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Location

Huangyaguan, China

Climate

20-35°C / 68-95°F

First Run

1999

Max Capacity

2,500

Distances

Marathon, half-marathon, 8.5km Fun Run

Best time: men’s marathon

3:09:18

Best time: women’s marathon

3:32:12

Website

great-wall-marathon.com

”Beautiful, painful and difficult. The most brutal race I have ever run. Loved it!! - Michael Olsen, Finisher, 2014 Great Wall Marathon

5,164 steps into history The Great Wall Marathon takes place in the picturesque and rural surroundings of Huangyaguan in Tianjin Province, China. Founded in 1999, this race is more than the average running challenge with steep ascents and descents, not to mention the 5,164 steps to conquer. Deemed one of the toughest marathons in the world by other runners, The Great Wall Marathon is also one of the most beautiful and extraordinary races. Today, it is more popular than ever with runners from all over the world, who travel to China to participate in this unique event. Since the first event in 1999 through 2016, a total of 22,216 Finishers have completed The Great Wall Marathon!

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Where modern life meets ancient, imperial China. The Great Wall Marathon journey beings in Beijing. Before and after the race, one can become fully immersed in the sights, sounds and hastiness of modern Beijing, yet remain ever-surprised by the cultural charms of ancient Chinese dynasties. There is time to visit classic Beijing highlights like Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the former Imperial family’s Summer Palace, and even giant pandas in Beijing Zoo. Shopping in the Silk Alley, as well as sampling exquisite local cuisine in the markets and street stalls of old Beijing, offer a full sensory experience. And a must-see topping to any China tour is a Chinese acrobatic performance! For a touch of culture outside the great metropolis, one can spend two nights in Jixian, which is located closer to the race venue. During the pre-race Inspection Day at the Great Wall in Huangyaguan, runners (and their companions) will attend a Race Day briefing and can enjoy a relaxed visit to the Great Wall and take photos – without racing against the clock!

The Route Annually, 2,500 runners participate in The Great Wall Marathon, crossing the Great Wall of China in the adventure race of a lifetime. This accomplishment is certainly a thrill that many only dream of completing! Regardless of running skills or chosen distance, runners will face an incredible physical and mental test as they take on challenging elevation changes and thousands of steps along the Great Wall. Participants have undoubtedly committed many hours preparing for the big day, and now is really time to push the limit! The availability of three distances – full marathon, half marathon and 8.5km Fun Run – offer something for everyone. Despite the arduous courses, runners will be rewarded by the breathtaking surroundings and an energizing spirit. All events in The Great Wall Marathon start from Yin & Yang Square in the old Huangyaguan fortress. Along each route, runners should expect many staircases, rolling trails, historic cobblestone paths, unpaved terrain, and steep ascents and descents. The course showcases China’s natural surroundings and typical countryside villages with supportive locals lining the route, both of which give runners a welldeserved break from the demanding elevations. Marathoners will face the Great Wall two times, first east to west and then, west to east for a total of 5,164 steps on the Great Wall. Half-marathoners and Fun Race Runners take on the Great Wall one time, east to west, for a total of 2,582 steps. In May, spring is in its prime with sunny, blue skies and lush, green vegetation lining the Great Wall. In recent years, the weather during The Great Wall Marathon has been somewhat unpredictable, varying from a low of 16°C (61°F) to a high of 35°C (95°F). On average, the temperature is around 25°C (77°F). Rain is unusual during the race, but can occur. Be prepared for high humidity.

Event Dates 20 May 2017 19 May 2018

Elevation Profiles

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“The scenery is beautiful, thrilling, challenging and inspiring.

We watched herds of wildebeest running past, ran past a lake full of hippos, saw amazing birds and ran over all kinds of animal tracks. Although being close to the animals was slightly scary - I felt safe with the rangers close by. ” - Micheleromano, Finisher, 2016 Big Five Marathon

The wildest of them all In 2005, the Entabeni Safari Conservancy, situated in the World Heritage ”Waterberg Biosphere”, was found to have the perfect setting for a stunning marathon adventure. North of Johannesburg, this 22,000 h.a. malari-free reserve boasts five eco-systems and a stunning mix of mountains, plains, bush and wetlands topped with the majestic wildlife of Africa. It is regarded as one of the most spectacular Big Five game reserves in Africa. In these magnificent surroundings, runners from all over the world are taken on a challenging route through the habitat of the most famous “Big Five” African game: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. No fences, no rivers, nothing at all separates runners from the wildlife. Race entries are limited to ensure safety – the #1 priority of this race. The big five game are closely watched by park rangers during the race, making sure that runners can focus on sighting other animals like zebra, antelope and giraffe, as well as paying attention to the rugged terrain. Before and after the race, guests will encounter African wildlife on some of the most fascinating safari drives South Africa has to offer, and learn about the abundant wildlife and unique ecosystem of the Entabeni Game Reserve.

Location

Entabeni, South Africa

Climate

15-25°C / 59-77°F

First Run

2005

Max Capacity

275

Distances

Marathon, half-marathon

Best time: men’s marathon

3:16:01

Best time: women’s marathon

3:47:07

Website

big-five-marathon.com

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Where marathon meets classic African safari. The Entabeni Safari Conservancy is the largest and most diverse private reserve in the Limpopo province, located between Johannesburg and the Kruger National Park. Beautiful sandstone monoliths, ravines, waterfalls and diverse wildlife exist within Entabeni's borders, providing the perfect setting for The Big Five Marathon. Within this private game reserve, several accommodation choices are available, varying from wellappointed, tented camps to luxurious lodges. Guests can look forward to a serene, wilderness atmosphere with relatively few tourists. In the days before and after the race, bush walks and game drives in open-air safari vehicles allow for close encounters with African wildlife. Rangers are constantly present to ensure guest safety.

The Route The Big Five Marathon is known for its demanding course, which takes runners through incredible scenery, showcasing South Africa’s natural beauty and wildlife. Runners weave through the African savannah, encountering zebras, elephants, giraffes and antelopes. The route even ventures into lion country and runners could chance upon a rhino! The terrain is varied with sand, loose rocks, pebbles and holes. Significant changes in elevation with a few steep ascents and descents should be expected. The Yellow Wood Valley is the most dreaded part of the course with possibly the steepest slope runners have ever encountered. This sharp, 3-kilometer descent is on a paved surface and will be excruciatingly hard on the quadriceps. Next, runners enter lion country, negotiating the deep sand and flatter terrain. Returning back up the dreaded hill, runners face an average incline of 23.3%, which only intensifies to a punishing 47% at select points. It is virtually impossible to run up this hill. Runners will be happily distracted by the spectacular views over the African savannah, active wildlife and the plateau’s lake. The weather is very dry, sunny and cool at this time of the year. Daytime temperatures hover around 15-25°C (59-77°F), but with variations due to sun, shade, wind and altitude.

Event Dates 24 June 2017 23 June 2018

Elevation Profiles Marathon & Half-marathon

Zip-line excursions, waterfall hikes and a selection of extensions are available to witness more of Africa’s unrivaled natural beauty. Truly a wild adventure!

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“Wonderful setting, excellent organisation, friendly atmosphere.” - Charm Robson, Finisher, 2015 Petra Desert Marathon

Run back in time The Petra Desert Marathon is run in and around the ancient, fabeled city of Petra, Jordan. Location

Wadi Mousa, Jordan

Climate

25-35°C / 77-95°F

First Run

2009

Max Capacity

250

Distances

Marathon, half-marathon

Best time: men’s marathon

3:15:03

Best time: women’s marathon

4:06:49

Website

petra-desert-marathon.com

Carved out of red sandstone mountains, the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the ”New 7 Wonders of the World”. The route of The Petra Desert Marathon leads runners through well-preserved Petra before venturing into the Jordanian desert. The Petra Desert Marathon is an arduous race, but the reward is a sightseeing tour in the land of the Bedouins – a lunar-like landscape of red, yellow, brown and golden-coloured mountains, in dreamlike shapes where camels and goats are curious spectators.

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Where an Arabian adventure awaits. Being rich in history, culture and scenic nature, Jordan offers its visitors superb possibilities for an exciting vacation. From the splendid ruins of Petra and the vast, aweinspiring Wadi Rum desert to a floating swim in the Dead Sea – Jordan has something for everybody to enjoy, not to mention, the generous Jordanian hospitality! In addition to these exciting excursions, participation in the event includes social happenings, accommodation, and an entry pass to Petra. Guests can also extend their stay with extensions wellsuited for the adventurous or the cultural traveller.

The Route The Petra Desert Marathon offers two distance events, a marathon and half marathon. From the sound of the start signal, runners immediately find themselves transported back in time. The route leads marathoners and half-marathoners through the ancient city of Petra – past the incredible tombs, caves and amphitheatre that are carved into the red rose sandstone mountains surrounding the old Nobatean capital. Blanketed by heat beneath the blazing sun, runners will venture into the Jordanian desert, where the Bedouins live, and pass the jagged sandstone mountains that stand gleaming in the bright skies of the late Jordanian summer. With temperatures as high as 25°C (35°F) and a hilly, desert route offering very little shade, The Petra Desert Marathon is a strenuous race. The course is hilly with an ascent of roughly 1,200m (3,937ft) and a descent of 1,100m (3,680ft). Participants should expect mixed terrain with gravel and paved roads, as well as sand with loose rocks in the desert stretches.

Event Dates 26 August 2017 1 September 2018

Elevation Profiles Marathon

Half-marathon

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“It was an unbelievable experience, one that was truly out of the ordinary. If you enjoy extreme sports and going to different places, this is one for you. It was also extremely well run by the team in the harshest of conditions. - Heather Casey, Finisher, 2015 Polar Circle Marathon

The coolest marathon on Earth Ice as far as the eye beholds. Incredibly fresh air. Blue skies by day, and the Northern Lights celestial kaleidoscope by night. Musk oxen, reindeer and arctic foxes dot the barren terrain. Welcome to Greenland, one of the world’s most fascinating and remote corners! The Polar Circle Marathon is held above the Arctic Circle, where endless ice and arctic tundra make up the backdrop of this unusual race. In 2001, the event premiered with 130 runners taking on the slippery landscape of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and since has become one of the world’s most exclusive races. Due to logistics and to ensure the safety of all participants, entries are capped at 250 and annually, The Polar Circle Marathon sells out within weeks of registration opening. International participants from Australia to Brazil and South Africa to Japan travel to Greenland to battle the freezing temperatures, endless sky and unpredictable weather. It’s a rush beyond compare!

Location

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

Climate

-15 - -5°C / 5-23°F

First Run

2001

Max Capacity

250

Distances

Marathon, half-marathon, Polar Bear Challenge

Best time: men’s marathon

2:57:19

Best time: women’s marathon

3:41:37

Website

polar-circle-marathon.com

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Where nature reigns supreme. Kangerlussuaq, which means “big fjord” in Greenlandic, is in fact situated on a plain overlooking the 170-km (105-mi) long fjord. At the fjord’s midpoint, lies the Arctic Circle. The area’s geological origins combined with its geography present a gift for all explorers – a distinctive nature with abundant plant and animal life, grassy tundra and access to the Greenland Ice Sheet, which is only 25km (16mi) from Kangerlussuaq. The Polar Circle Marathon offers the rare opportunity to combine a visit to remote Greenland with a unique arctic race. Excursions can be arranged to Russell Glacier, which stands like a wall of ice reaching up to 60m (197ft) at certain points, as well as into the arctic tundra that lies between Greenland’s gigantic ice sheet and the icy fjord. The tundra is home to many terrestrial species such as Greenland’s largest concentration of musk oxen, in addition to reindeer, the highly-adaptive Arctic fox, hares, the illusive Arctic wolf and multitudes of birdlife. Extensions are available to the neighboring, coastal city of Ilulissat – “the capital of icebergs”. It is home to small colourful houses clinging to the mountainsides, the UNESCO-listed Ice Fjord and picturesque Sermeriut Valley.

The Route The backdrop of The Polar Circle Marathon is characterized by endless ice, arctic tundra and hilly terrain. Runners pass glacier tongues, moraine landscapes and must maintain their resolve amid the soundless, arctic desert. Part of the route weaves onto the Greenland Ice Sheet, which covers 80% of the island’s surface and is second in size to the world’s only other ice sheet in Antarctica. Temperatures are at or below freezing and the winds are typically strong. There’s always a possibility that thick dunes of drifting snow will blanket the routes, forcing runners to carefully find suitable footing. Both the marathon and half-marathon start roughly 4km (2.5mi) from the Greenland Ice Sheet on a gravel road, which leads directly onto the frigid and unforgiving ice. Due to the enormous powers of nature and general retraction of the ice sheet, the exact distance on the ice will only be determined a few days before the race, but the goal is a 3km (2mi) loop. While running on the Ice Sheet, one must be attentive and careful. It can be very slippery and the danger of falling into a crevasse is real; therefore, it is strictly forbidden to leave the marked route and deviate further on the Ice Sheet. Upon returning to the gravel (likely snow-covered) road, half-marathoners will enter the final 14km (9mi) stretch of their race, while marathoners run 32-km (20-mi) to the finish in Kangerlussuaq. It is during this leg that both routes pass enormous glaciers and glacial deposits; then press onwards through tundra and arctic desert. There is a great chance runners will spot grazing reindeer and musk.

The Polar Bear Challenge The marathon is held on Saturday and the half-marathon on Sunday, giving runners the chance to participate in the ultimate endurance test – The Polar Bear Challenge. Introduced in 2014, The Polar Bear Challenge is a test for the very fit (or the very brave!). Participants completing both races within the time limits (half-marathon: 4 hours, marathon: 7 hours) will receive the Polar Bear medal, in addition to the half-marathon and marathon medals. In 2016, a new record was set with 91 runners pushing their limits in this two-day test!

Event Dates 28-29 October 2017 27-28 October 2018

Elevation Profiles Marathon & Half-marathon

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A brilliant, but really tough course in such a unique environment. You have to see it, or do it, to believe it!” - Finisher, 2016 Bagan Temple Marathon

2,000 wonders await you

Location

Bagan, Myanmar

Climate

25-30°C / 77-86°F

First Run

2013

Max Capacity

500

Distances

Marathon, half-marathon, 10km

Best time: men’s marathon

2:53:34

Best time: women’s marathon

3:27:20

Website

bagan-temple-marathon.com

Tucked away in central Myanmar on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River, the ancient site of Bagan is home to more than 2,000 Budhhist temples. Rising above the palm trees, these red brick pagodas glimmer in the sun, standing in bright constrast to the green countryside. This magical, mystical landscape is the ”heart of Myanmar”. Runners will have ample opportunity to admire the beautiful temples of Bagan and be distracted from the scorching heat and sandy route. The area’s small, traditional villages exude an aura of yesteryear and offer a sense of daily life from one hundred years ago. Mutliple tour options are available for The Bagan Temple Marathon, giving participants the opportunity to explore the cultural and historical diversity of Myanmar.

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Where time stands still. The adventure that is The Bagan Temple Marathon starts in the cultural hub of Yangon and Mandalay. Prior to the race, guests can look forward to seeing one of Yangon’s most iconic symbols, the intricately adorned Shwedagon Pagoda, which is believed to be more than 2,500 years old. A lunch of exquisite Myanmar cuisine is preempted by a tour on the Karaweik Royal Barge, a floating palace on the eastern shore of Kandawgyi Lake. New in 2017, guests on the 8-day tour will cruise from Mandalay to Bagan via the serene Irrawaddy River. Arriving into “the heart of Maynmar”, Bagan is home to majestic temples of worship, which showcase the glorious era of 11th century kings. The historical significance and beauty of Bagan is unsurpassed, and this temple-studded landscape just happens to be the setting for The Bagan Temple Marathon. Guests can also extend their stay, including a one-of-a-kind visit to Inle Lake, famous for their special leg rowing technique and beautiful floating gardens. On the other hand, those seeking exotic, palm-fringed shorelines, snorkeling and relaxation, will quickly discover that Ngapali Beach is the place to be. Myanmar has experienced increased interest from travellers worldwide, but the way of life has remained largely intact and travelling to Myanmar is like turning back the clock.

The Route The Bagan Temple Marathon features three competitive distances: marathon, half marathon and 10k. All events start and finish at Htilominlo Temple, which was constructed in 1211. The beginning of each event follows along the same route. The journey begins on dirt roads and the plains of Bagan towards historic Old Bagan. The views of impressive marvels like Sulamani Temple and Ananda Temple are magnificent. Runners continue across a temple-studded wonderland into the countryside and through small villages, where time has seemingly stood still. Along the way, runners pass monks both young and old, ox laden carts carrying grain along the sandy tracks, farmers tending to their rice and peanut fields and curious children outfitted in festive clothing. Their warm smiles, friendly cheers and energy-boosting high-fives provide much needed encouragement. Runners encounter relatively flat terrain with a mixture of dirt and sand paths, as well as some paved roads. Typically, November is hot and humid with temperatures reaching highs around 30°C (86°F).

The combination of heat and dusty terrain is challenging for most; however, the beautiful temples, friendly villagers and other-worldly atmosphere make The Bagan Temple Marathon a special experience.

Event Dates 25 November 2017 24 November 2018

Elevation Profiles Marathon

Half-marathon

10k

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Past events 19


Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia 14 November 2012 At 06:40:09 AM Local Time

An intergalactic starting signal. A grand stand view of the sun and moon’s impressive solar light show. One of the most unique running events the world had ever seen: The Solar Eclipse Marathon. Early on the morning of 14 November 2012, over 400 runners and spectators from 20 countries worldwide gathered on the shores of the beautiful 4 Mile Beach in Port Douglas, Queensland. Armed with special glasses for safe solar eclipse viewing, their gazes turned to the skies for a once-in-a-lifetime event, the solar eclipse’s phase of totality, the point when the moon completely covers the sun. This cosmic event could only be viewed from a very narrow window of the world, specifically a 200km (124mi) wide strip of land in Northern Australia, only for a period of 2 minutes and 5 seconds – from 6:38:04 AM to 6:40:09 AM. As the first rays of the sun re-emerged from behind the moon, race officials signaled the start of the marathon event, followed by the half-marathon. Steve Moneghetti, an Australian marathon running legend who participated in 4 Olympic Games, as well as won the Berlin Marathon in 1990, Tokyo Marathon in 1994 and placed 3rd in the 1997 World Championships, served as event ambassador hosting various group runs through the week-long event. In addition to the race, the tour package included an exciting series of activities showcasing Australia’s quintessential natural beauty – snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, hiking and swimming in the Daintree Rainforest, and sightseeing in Port Douglas.

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Somewhere afloat in the US Virgin Islands 23 February 2004

An event for every kind of runner and walker. Flat terrain. An endless horizon of cerulean-blue seas and skies dappled by wispy, white clouds. Gentle waves mirroring the beaming sunlight. Invigorating breezes carry the Caribbean Sea’s salty spray. In the summer of 2003, plans for a new, one-time marathon event were announced – The Great Cruise Marathon. The event was to be held in February 2004. During this special arrangement, cruise guests departed from the Port of Miami, sailing to Caribbean gems like St. Thomas, USVI; St. Martin/St. Maarten; Jamaica; Grand Cayman; and several stops along Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.

Outfitted with a 480m (1575ft) track that encircled the top deck , the cruise ship provided the ideal platform for a race on the Caribbean Sea. Promising to be an event for every type of runner, The Great Cruise Marathon offered three distances: marathon, half-marathon and 4.8K Fun Race. In addition to cheerful friends and family, 15 marathoners, 7 half-marathoners and 25 fun runners took part in the festivities at sea.

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The Kilimanjaro Marathon

Tarekea, Tanzania 2000 Few marathons can stake claim to the impressive backdrops, technical challenges and physical tests that distinguish an adventure marathon quite like The Kilimanjaro Marathon, organized by Albatros Travel in 2000. This event ticked every box on the “adventure marathon” checklist – not only did The Kilimanjaro Marathon push runners through the ultimate physical challenge, but it offered a unique, active touristic experience that only a fortunate handful had the chance to take on. Thirteen daring and determined runners faced altitude-related challenges, thin air, blustery winds, cold temperatures and mixed terrain of rock, hardened volcanic ash, lava, ice, dirt, and more – all in pursuit of the ultimate adventure marathon. These participants spent the first six days trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain, to its highest point, Uhuru Peak, which stands at 5,895m (19,341ft). On the seventh day, the multi-stage marathon descent began in frosty temperatures from Kibo Huts, situated at an elevation of 4,700m (15,419ft) and concluded in the heat of Tarekea, Tanzania, located near the Kenyan border.

Ngong Hills, Nairobi, Kenya November 2000 In search of a new marathon concept, Albatros Travel took to its Danish roots and love for Africa’s matchless narrative, to organize The Karen Blixen Marathon in 2000. It not only presented the opportunity for a new running event in extreme conditions, but also served as a fitting tribute to Karen Blixen, a famous Danish author and humanitarian with migrated to Kenya (then British East Africa) in 1914. Entry to the marathon and half-marathon event was available to runners in Denmark, as well as locals from Kenya. The pre-race inspection day revealed a strenuous route through sunbaked, hilly, dusty and pebble-filled terrain. Adding to the challenge, the equator runs directly through Kenya, making it one of Earth’s hottest regions. At an elevation of 1600m1800m (roughly 1 mile) above sea level, the route winded through Kenya’s semi-arid savannah, home to the vibrantly colored, proud Maasai and beautiful African wildlife. The winner and first man to cross the finish line in 2:25:01 was Nairobi’s Suleiman Kihagi, who’s first marathon was The Karen Blixen Marathon. Ruth Kalunba was the first woman across the line with a time of 2:58:08. In all, 147 runners finished the demanding event.

Ladakh, India August 2003, 2007, 2008 & 2009 Called the “Roof of the World”, and for good reason, the Tibetan Plateau stands at 3,400-3,800 meters (over 3 miles) above sea level. It is surrounded by the breathlessly awe-inspiring and supernatural peaks of the Great Himalayas, including two of the world’s highest summits, and adorned by colorful prayer flags quivering in the mountain breeze. In 2003, the first Great Tibetan Marathon began at 5:45am beside the Hemis Monastery, the area’s largest monastery dating back to the early 1600s, with ritual blessings and dances performed by Buddhist monks. Traditional Tibetan long horns echoed through the valley, signaling the start of the race. The route ventured through traditional villages, past monasteries and through a landscape of rocky mountainous outcrops where goats, cattle and sheep stood to feed. In addition to demanding terrain, runners were challenged by the high altitudes and thin air. In its first year, 147 Finishers crossed the finish line. The first three runners crossed the line in quick succession with the fastest earning a time of 2:59:43.

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QUALITY TRAVELS SINCE 1986 A Scandinavian travel company with a global wingspan, Albatros Travel has grown from a small office in Copenhagen, Denmark to offices around the world. ‘Albatros’ is the Danish spelling of ‘albatross’ - the globetrotting bird with the big wingspan! From safaris and cruises, to Arctic voyages and Adventure Marathons in the African bush, Albatros Travel spans the world with our unique packages.

From our humble beginnings in 1986, the family-owned company now employs more than´250 full-time staff in branches across three continents. All of Albatros Travel’s different business operations are united under the same set of principles that govern the Albatros Way: a commitment to quality, responsible travel and customer satisfaction. Albatros Adventure Marathons Our challenging running events take participants to a whole new level! Albatros Adventure Marathons organizes annual races, each characterized by locations of exceptional natural beauty and historic significance. Our concept offers race entry along with a tour package, creating the perfect opportunity to share the journey with family and friends. We also aim to provide you with a lifetime experience while creating responsible tourism, raising awareness for these remarkable areas and giving back to the local communities.

Albatros Expeditions Albatros Expeditions specialises in expedition cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica. With icestrengthened hulls, our small ships provide access to the most remote polar regions.

Albatros Africa From our tented Honeyguide Safari Camps to our branch offices in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania, we offer exciting, adventurous and diverse safari experiences in Southern and East Africa.

Victory Cruise Lines Our newest cruise product offers tours on America’s Great Lakes in the summer and Cuba in winter, including a circumnavigation of this lively island nation. Join us as we visit the top destinations in these two regions.

Corporate

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Albatros Travel and all of its business entities recognize their responsibility to not be a barrier, but to contribute positively to social, environmental and economic sustainable development in accordance with the UN Global Compact. Albatros Travel will comply with all applicable laws regarding human rights, environment and corruption, and apply internationally recognized principles when local laws and regulations set lower standards. 23


PRESS Press releases are issued on an ongoing basis in connection with all Albatros Adventure Marathons activity. For stories, special requests or press accreditation:

Steen Albrechtsen Press Manager sa@albatros-travel.dk For photographs and logos: http://albatros.livedrive.com/

SPONSORSHIP For opportunities to sponsor the series, or specific events: Rune Nortoft & Lars Fyhr Race Directors & Heads of Albatros Adventure Marathons Tel: +45 36 98 98 38 marathon@albatros-adventure.com

REGISTRATION Event registration can be completed online, or contact us: Albatros Adventure Marathons Tøndergade 16 1752 Copenhagen V Denmark Tel: +45 36 98 98 38 marathon@albatros-adventure.com www.albatros-adventure-marathons.com

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Albatros Adventure Marathons: Press Guide 2017  

This official press guide provides a detailed look at the history, concept and all events organized by Albatros Adventure Marathons. Curren...

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