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Royal Marines brave the freeze on Arctic half marathon

25 February 2021
Royal Marines braved sub-zero temperatures on the first ever commando Arctic half marathon on their winter deployment in northern Norway.

The commandos are in the Arctic to refresh skills in surviving, moving and fighting in one of the world’s most unforgiving environments. 

More than 50 members of 3 Commando Brigade found time during the Cold Weather Warfare Course to run the 13.1 mile course. 

This was the first time a half marathon had been organised as part of a winter deployment, but as it was so successful plans are in place to make it an annual fixture.
Temperatures dropped to -17C and hard-packed snow caused treacherously slippery conditions underfoot.

Despite some excellent competition, Surgeon Lieutenant Ben Smith of 45 Commando came out on top in 1 hour 24 minutes. 

He said: “The conditions were challenging, but the pressure of not knowing what position I was in definitely kept me working hard right to the end.”

Race organiser Corporal Scott Constable, added: “Being deployed 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle is a challenge for everyone, so it was fantastic to see so many turn out today to push themselves even further.”

As the conditions were so extreme, every runner had to wear full-length clothing, a hat, gloves, plus a rucksack containing spare warm clothes. Medics were standing by at 5km intervals and more were patrolling the route in vehicles so they could react quickly in case of an injury.

Runners were set off at ten-second intervals to comply with Covid-19 regulations, meaning the overall winner couldn’t be confirmed until after everyone finished. 

Once all runners had finished and replaced their lost calories with a pasta lunch, prizes were awarded by Lieutenant Colonel Rob Jones, Commanding Officer Commando Logistic Regiment. 

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