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BOSTON (March 17, 208) – Maria and Catharina Schilder, identical twins from the Netherlands, clocked identical winning times at the 2008 Antarctica Marathon held March 5, announced Boston-based Marathon Tours and Travel, the event organizer.
Wearing matching gear and holding hands, the Dutch duo crossed the finish line in 4 hours, 21 minutes, 22 seconds. Robert Celinski, 28, of Poland dominated the men’s division winning in 3:09:43.
The three champions were part of a contingent of 173 athletes from 17 countries who traveled to the world’s most extreme continent to participate in the ninth running of the 26.2- and 13.1-mile events. The 126 marathon and 51 half marathon entrants were treated to relatively mild weather conditions that included near-freezing temperatures, light winds, fog and gray skies.
Held on King George Island off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Antarctica Marathon features a two-loop course (one loop for the half marathon) that includes a ¾-mile trek up and down an icy glacier as well as jaunts through snow, mud, rocks and glacial streams. The course also treats participants to frequent penguin sightings and a tour through Russian, Chilean, Uruguayan and Chinese research bases.
Running as a pair during the entire race, the Schilder sisters, 37, overtook Denise Sauriol of Chicago at the 17-mile mark. Sauriol hung on for third, finishing in 4:25:05.
“The race was an unforgettable experience but I do not want to do it again soon,” said Catharina. “It was a dream come true to run in Antarctica,” said Maria.
Celinski, who prepared for the hilly, rugged course by logging miles in the mountains in his native Poland, led the men’s race, from the get-go, winning by over 20 minutes – one of the largest margins in the event’s history.
“Robert ran like a madman up and down the glacier,” said Thom Gilligan, race director and president of Marathon Tours and Travel. “Nobody even came close to him. He ran a phenomenal race”
Filippo Faralla of South Africa finished second in 3:30:52 followed by David Smith of the United Kingdom in 3:41:11.
Greg Hales of Aptos, Calif. handily won the half-marathon competition in 1:42:48. Tara Lunn of Seattle topped the women’s division in 2:06:15, finishing fourth overall.
The 10th Antarctica Marathon and Half-marathon are scheduled for March 10, 2009. For race results and more information, please visit www.marathontours.com or call (617) 242-7845.
About Marathon Tours and Travel
Founded in 1979, Marathon Tours and Travel is North America’s largest full service travel agency specializing in travel to running events worldwide. The official travel agency for the BAA Boston Marathon and the Flora London Marathon, Marathon Tours offers 22 trips to marathons and half marathons on all seven continents including events in Kenya, Easter Island, Madagascar and on the Great Wall of China.