Randy Boyd of the University of Tennessee to compete in Antarctic marathon

UPDATE: Randy Boyd’s plane to Antarctica has been delayed again. The group’s plan has now been pushed back a day and Boyd intends to make the trip on Friday and run the marathon on Saturday.

The president of the University of Tennessee system, Randy Boyd, takes the motto “Everywhere you look, UT,” well beyond the voluntary state.

Boyd will compete in the Antarctic Ice Marathon on Friday, and he will do so in special UT gear.

Recognized by Guinness World Records as the southernmost marathon on Earth, the Antarctic Ice Marathon attracts runners from around the world who hope to compete in a marathon on all seven continents.

Boyd wants to join this club. But he didn’t think he would tick Antarctica as second on his list.

“I thought I would take out the one that is the hardest to reach first,” Boyd told Knox News.

He was supposed to travel for this race about eight years ago. After initially registering for a marathon in Antarctica in 2013, he was run over after too many people registered. After registering for the 2020 race, there was a spike in COVID-19 cases in Chile, where runners must first fly to enter Antarctica, which has been postponed for a year.

After eight years of trying to compete in the race, Boyd still encountered obstacles in making his way to the frozen continent this year. Race organizers continue to take pre-race COVID-19 precautions, so Boyd and the other runners quarantined themselves in Punta Arenas, Chile for several days before heading to Union Glacier camp. , which is just over 600 nautical miles from the South Pole. The race was scheduled to start on December 13, but weather and flight visibility delayed their departure from Chile until Thursday.

Boyd will share a tent with another runner for one night, compete in the race, sleep another night and then return to Chile.

It’s early summer in the southern hemisphere, which is the only time visitors can make the trip to Antarctica, but that doesn’t mean it’s hot: the forecast for Boyd’s race was maximum 17 degrees with winds at 8 miles per hour.

One of the biggest challenges Boyd will face is running on snow and ice. Although he had run in sub-freezing temperatures before, there weren’t too many opportunities to train for running in the snow in Knoxville. He’s bought some special running shoes that he thinks will stick to the ice, and he’ll dress warmer than usual.

Most importantly, it will be decked out in voluntary orange.

Fifty-eight runners from all continents are registered for this year’s marathon. Boyd will compete as a No.6.

This is not Boyd’s first marathon. He has competed in 44 marathons in total, one of his favorites being the New York Marathon. While Boyd says he typically runs a marathon in about 3 hours and 50 minutes, he doesn’t predict he will beat his time due to the unpredictable conditions.

“I’d kind of like to do it in under 5 hours,” Boyd said. “But I’m going to run 26.2 miles in snow and ice. I don’t know what my traction will be.… There’s no real way to train for a marathon in Antarctica.”

American William Hafferty set the men’s event record of 3:34:12 in 2019. Fiona Oakes of Great Britain set the women’s event record of 4:20:00 in 2013. There is had 15 ice marathon races in Antarctica to date.

If you want to join the Seven Continents Marathon Club, it will cost you dearly. While most marathons are chargeable, the Antarctic Ice Marathon costs $ 18,900 (or $ 17,900, if you pay in full when you register). The fee covers part of the trip to Antarctica, meals and accommodation, medals and memorabilia, and professional photos.

For those looking for another frigid challenge, the sister race of the Antarctic Ice Marathon is the North Pole Marathon, which is the northernmost marathon on Earth.

This is not the first time that UT Orange has arrived in Antarctica. Jill Mikucki, associate professor of microbiology, has visited Antarctica 13 times for research.

Boyd said he was feeling a little anxious, but overall he’s excited about the race.

“It’s a great experience,” he said. “I’m excited to visit Antarctica. It’s a continent I’ve never been to, and I can’t wait to experience it. I can’t wait to meet all these other riders. It’s a very international group, and I imagine that’s a very interesting bunch of people who would want to show up in something like that. “

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