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Gear Up For The Baikal Ice Marathon

Written by 56th Parallel

Join hundreds of elite runners across the globe in the Baikal ice marathon for Preservation of Clean Waters. Race across the frozen surface of UNESCO heritage site Lake Baikal, the deepest freshwater lake on the globe.This one-of-a-kind ice marathon has seen competitors from over 50 different countries race across the frozen surface of Lake Baikal in the south-east of Siberia in what’s recognised as one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges.

The Baikal Ice Marathon ‘For Preservation of Clean Water’ gives daring international and local runners the unique chance to race across a 42 km course across the entirely frozen surface of Baikal, the oldest and deepest freshwater lake in the world.

The BIM “Training to Run” tour package was developed with expertise in mind to allow people who are physically well fit for running, but lack practical or certified experience in long distance running. This carefully designed package program enables participants to acclimatise in unique conditions of Lake Baikal northern hemisphere.

Here are some things you should know about the world’s deepest lake, Baikal:

It is a UNESCO listed site and recognised as one of the world’s oldest, deepest and largest lakes, comprising 20% of the world’s natural freshwater resources.

Baikal ice marathon 2014

Lake Baikal is estimated to have formed over 20-25 million years ago. It constitutes 90% of the Russia’s drinking water and is considered the deepest lake in the world reaching depths of nearly 1700m, curving through Siberia towards the Mongolian border. Baikal is a UNESCO protected site and a biological mecca, or the ‘Galapagos of Russia,’ due to its rich and unusual forms of freshwater fauna and flora. The landscape surrounding the basin has attracted visitors for decades due to its picturesque mountains, boreal forests and taiga woods.

Baikal siberia russia

Baikal Ice Marathon 2014

And now back to the race…

Proving to be one of the world’s ten most challenging endurance competitions, the Baikal Ice Marathon is predominantly flat and covered with a light layer of snow. Visitors to Siberia will find the northern winds and harsh and unpredictable Siberian climate the race’s biggest challenge: past marathons have seen conditions varying in severity from high winds and a biting cold to a sunny sky with almost no chill factor. The lake’s surface can be hard and uneven at times with occasional patches resembling the conditions of an ice skating rink, crafting a completely unique racetrack for the world’s most adventurous runners.

Baikal ice marathon runners

Lake Baikal Ice marathon runners

Running across a frozen lake may sound magical but it still comes with its risks, all carefully considered by an experienced Siberian support team. A huge amount of preparation and safety precautions are taken prior to the marathon. The Baikal Ice Marathon’s ‘Ice captain’ and an assembled support team plot a safe race course through consistent monitoring via satellite images, assessing the risk of cracks that can form on the frozen surface of Lake Baikal. By the day of the race, you’re in safe hands – there are six food and drinks stations plotted throughout the race’s 42 km stretch, as well as prepared service teams and hovercrafts.

lake baikal ice marathon

Baikal Ice Marathon 2014

On race day competitors are ferried from the local town of Listvyanka, the race’s base camp, to Tankhoy train station on the opposite shore of Baikal. Here runners partake in the precautionary ritual of ‘vodka sprinkling,’ keeping in Russian tradition and pacifying the spirits of the Great Baikal.

Baikal Ice marathon 2014 Russia

Baikal ice Marathon 2014

For enquiries, registration and special packages to Lake Baikal, contact us at 56th Parallel.

You can find a tour program here: Lake Baikal Ice Marathon.


©All photos in this blog post made by Louise Murray and Victoria Sanches.

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56th Parallel is a travel company specialising in providing packaged tours and travel services in Russia.

Our goal is to redefine travel to Russia, focusing on creating the most rewarding experiences, which help travellers unfolds the soul of this exciting destination.

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