CYPRIOT businessman and philanthropist Nasos Ktorides completed the world’s coolest and most northerly marathon, parking the flags of Cyprus and Greece at the Geographic North Pole.
Ktorides, 44, battled temperatures of -26 degrees Celsius and a sprained ankle to come 16th in the gruelling race, recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the northernmost marathon on earth. He completed 42.195km in six hours and 34 minutes, running entirely on the frozen water of the Arctic Ocean.
The 10th UVU North Pole Marathon 2012 took place on April 6, starting at 10pm at night, with 35 men and five women participants. The 40 runners represented 18 countries and five continents.
Winner Andrew Murray from Scotland finished first with 4 hours and 19 minutes while in the women’s race, Australia’s Delemza Farr beat her female competitors clocking in a time of six hours and six minutes.
Farr had little time to contemplate the history of the moment as her boyfriend James Alderson brought the future forward, proposing to her on crossing the finish line. She accepted.
French contester Philippe Laurent finished the marathon despite suffering from multiple sclerosis.
The last to finish was Rhoda Jones from America, completing in 11 hours and 41 minutes, and making it to the exclusive group of 210 people to ever finish the North Pole Marathon.
Six of the contestants, including Ktorides, had a celebratory swim after the race in freezing cold waters. The Cypriot had his photo taken after the race at the Geographic North Pole, where he added a road sign informing passersby that the island’s capital Nicosia is only 6,098km ‘that way’.
Ktorides became the first Cypriot to be appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) last February.
The 44-year-old is the founder and chairman of Quantum Corporation Group and the Athanasios Ktorides Foundation. In 2009, President Demetris Christofias ratified his appointment as Consul of the Commonwealth of Dominica in Cyprus.
In October 2010, the Quantum Corporation sponsored the first ever Quantum Nicosia Marathon, organised by the Athanasios Ktorides Foundation, attracting more than 5,000 people of all ages to take part. Last December, the Foundation signed an agreement with the University of Cyprus for the construction of Cyprus’ first photovoltaic park, dedicated to the 13 lives lost during the Mari blast.
Ktorides also heads DEI-Quantum Energy which has announced plans to set up a submarine power cable linking Israel, Cyprus and Greece, at an estimated cost of around €1.5 billion.
According to a press release, the Cypriot’s next big challenge is the South Pole Marathon in the Antarctic in November 2012, after which he will help organise another Nicosia Marathon in December.
Meanwhile, for those wishing to conquer the northernmost frozen waters, the next North Pole Marathon is set for April 5, 2013. The entry fee is €11,900.
For more information, go to www.npmarathon.com