Baikal Ice Marathon is Russias most exotic marathon, the world’s fastest ice marathon and flattest one.
It offers competitors the unique opportunity to race across the frozen waters of the largest, deepest and biotically richest fresh water lake in the world.
The Marathon is a part of a larger winter games festival, the “Winteriada”, which includes also “Baikal Kamchatka” Ice Fishing and Baikal Ice Golf Tournaments, Ice Skating Races and a few other outdoor adventure events.
The surface of the frozen Lake Baikal is covered in fields of ‘hummocks’, small hills of ice rubble. Beneath the ice surface, geothermic springs and seismic activity cause localized melting that weakens the ice to form holes and cracks. Besides, every winter huge ice pressure ridges appear near the marathon course which is flat, but the surface is hard and uneven. Although it is mostly covered in a soft layer of snow, there are areas of highly polished ice that create conditions similar to an ice-rink. Strong winds may often add to the already bitingly cold temperature and provide serious resistance to progress across the Lake.
Baikal Ice Marathon is both psychologically and physically demanding. The utterly featureless landscape gives little or no sense of perspective to competitors, offering them nothing to focus on but how far they are from their goal. It is a long, cold, lonely 42.2 km trail across the barren white landscape, where progress is marked only by checkpoints positioned at 5 km intervals..