Set for ice challenge

2016-11-07 11:02
Stephan and Eleanor Pienaar at their sixth marathon in Rio last year, for the Seven Continents Challenge.

Stephan and Eleanor Pienaar at their sixth marathon in Rio last year, for the Seven Continents Challenge. (Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A Pietermaritzburg couple who have completed six marathons on six continents, will be running their seventh at the end of this month, in Antarctica.

Having completed the six marathons in six years, Pietermaritzburg couple Eleanor and Stephen Pienaar will take on their biggest challenge yet by running their first marathon on ice in sub-zero temperatures.

Considered one of the toughest marathons in the world, the course winds through the interior of Antarctic — over 42,2 km of snow and ice.

Runners must brave an average windchill temperature of -20°C, and the possibility of contending with strong downslope winds.

Eleanor said their sixth marathon had been the Rio de Janeiro Marathon last year.

She said they had first decided to run the seven races on the seven continents after running the London Marathon with her family as part of her father’s 60th birthday celebrations.

From there, they had participated in the New York Marathon, the Sydney Marathon and the Great Wall Marathon.

“All the marathons have been extremely special as they are all so different,” she said.

The Antarctic Marathon will definitely be the toughest because of the harsh conditions.

“The temperatures are expected to be anywhere between -10°C and -30°C and it will be very windy.

“It will be the first time we are running on ice and we have been told to train on the beach as running in snow is said to be a lot like running in sand.”

She said they had recently been able to train in an industrial freezer with a temperature of -24°C.

“During the race, we have been told to wear about three layers of clothing at all times, and to not have any skin exposed at all.

“We are nervous, but also very excited. We never dreamed we would reach our seven on seven.”

Pienaar said they were the only South African couple to have done the seven on seven as far as she knew.

“It is all so exciting, especially since the Antarctic Ice Marathon is very unknown.”

Stephen said he felt “very privileged and excited” that he was able to run the race, especially since he was running with his wife.

“I am happy that we can do this together and that we are still healthy enough to participate in these marathons.”

The couple will be leaving for Antarctica on November 18, embarking on a three-day-journey to reach their destination.

The race will take place on November 24, with both Eleanor and Stephen excited and ready to take on the challenge.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.