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Photo: J.R. Arebalo Jr.
Photographs by Mike King 
I’M A NATIVE TEXAN, born and bred. I survived the 1980 Texas summer heat wave, when the temperature reached 100 degrees or higher for 63 consecutive days. The possibility of my running a marathon near the Arctic Circle when the temperature is –34 degrees Fahrenheit would seem fairly ludicrous. But I did it anyway.

Along with 37 other men and women, I ran all 26.2 miles of the North Pole Marathon — aka the World’s Coolest Marathon. All it took was six months of training, a ride on a Russian helicopter, lots of thermal wear, a pair of snowshoes and a very, very healthy respect for polar bears.

My stats? Eleven hours, 32 minutes and 33 seconds; zero digits lost to frostbite; and one unforgettable adventure.

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Photo: Competitors wind their way through hillocks of ice shortly after the start of the event.

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Photo: Loading the specialist Russian cargo plane, an AN-74TK-100, that transports people to and from the North Pole.

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Photo: Sleeping quarters at the North Pole Marathon comprise of heated 10-person tents.

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Photo: A view of Tromso, Norway, while en route to the Pole.

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Photo: Left: Netherlander Rob Plijnaar feels the cold.
Right: Winner Evgeniy Gorkov from Russia apparently doesn’t feel the cold.

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Photo: Renaud Michel from France was one of four Michel brothers in the race.

J.R. AREBALO JR is the design director for American Airlines Custom Publishing. He’s seriously considering a South Pole marathon.