Wolves and bitter sub-zero temperatures were the perils facing runners in the first Genghis Khan Ice Marathon which took runners across remote parts of Mongolia. The race was staged in breathtaking scenery in the Tuul Gol River area, a region so heavily populated with wolves that teams of dog sleds were provided to keep the runners safe as they crossed the wilderness and to carry supplies and medical equipment.
Only nine runners took part, although some support runners joined in for part of the distance, and British doctor Andrew Murray came first, in just three hours, seven minutes, with Douglas Wilson of Australia taking second place 35 minutes behind him with another Briton, Paul Dunstan, third in four hours, 12 minutes.
Still gasping for breath, Murray said afterwards: Its not easy but its absolutely perfect conditions for ice running. It started off about minus 34 or minus 35 [Celsius], its maybe now about minus 26 which is actually quite nice and mild for a Mongolian winter apparently. Three days ago it was minus 47.
The one thing thats difficult is route finding. Its really clearly marked but youre [busy]looking around at all the mountains, the ice, the huskies, looking out for wolves, yaks. The Mongolians are extremely friendly. They dont know what is going on but they all give you a wee wave, a thumbs up or some sort of signal that they mind you, so its great.
Australian Lucja Leonard, finished fourth overall in 4 hours, 19 minutes to take the womens title with Slovakian Lenka Istvanova and Marina Ranger of Britain sharing second place.