You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

She conquered the Antarctica marathon, now she’s taking on the North Pole


Lisa Richardson loves marathons so much she’s going to the ends of the earth to run them. 

In November 2015, the 41-year-old Hastings, Minn., woman ran “the Southernmost Marathon on Earth,” the Antarctic Ice Marathon, on a glacier in the Antarctic continent.  

On Sunday, she aims to run the North Pole Marathon, the world’s most northerly marathon.  

She’s not the fastest or the most experienced runner.  

Richardson has run seven marathons total since she took up the sport in 2011. Her personal best for the race is over five hours. In the challenging conditions in Antarctica, it took her nearly nine hours to finish the 26.2 miles. But her aim now is to run a marathon on all seven continents of the world in addition to the North Pole.  

Richardson, an orthodontic assistant and mother of two, said running has been part of a healthy transformation that included losing 113 pounds from her former weight of 267 pounds. She also quit smoking.  

“She’s been an inspiration to a lot of people, including me,” said her husband, Chad Richardson.  

For the North Pole Marathon, Richardson flew to Oslo, Norway, and then headed to the coastal island Spitsbergen before flying to Barneo Ice Camp, a temporary air strip and base camp built by Russians on the ice sheet at the top of the world for the Russia Geographical Society.  

That’s where Richardson will run laps on a 4.2-kilometer loop marked out on the snow and ice floating on the Arctic Ocean. The competitors will be watched by race organizers who have rifles on hand in case a polar bear shows up.  

“We have polar guards. There will be people out on the course,” Richardson said in a phone interview last week from the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen.  

The race website says racers could expect windchill temperatures to be 22 below or colder.  

Richardson said she’s taking multiple layers of clothing for the race, including four or five balaclava hats.  

She said the temperature was about zero at her Antarctic marathon.  

“The weather wasn’t that bad for a transplanted Minnesotan,” she said.  

“It’s sure something you have to wrap your brain around: I’m getting on a plane and I’m flying to the North Pole,” said Heather Carr, an Eden Prairie orthodontist and another Minnesota polar marathoner.  

Carr raced the North Pole Marathon last year and did the Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2014. When she heard of an open space for a runner in the 2015 Antarctic race due to a last minute cancellation, she called Richardson, who is a friend.  

Richardson made the decision to do the polar race even though it was only two and a half weeks before she needed to board a plane to Chile to catch the flight to Antarctica.  

“It was a once in a lifetime experience,” Richardson said. “It was like landing on the moon.”  

“I don’t know that she had so much adventurous spirit before she started running,” Chad Richardson said.  

About 55 people for each race pay around $15,000 to a race tour operator for the privilege of running a polar marathon.  

The North Pole Marathon race organizer says that less than 100 people have completed its Marathon Grand Slam Club, finishing a marathon on all seven continents and at the North Pole.  

“Anything is possible. I’m going to be running at the North Pole. That seems something that should be impossible,” Richardson said.  

Richardson’s parents are Puerto Rican, and Chad Richardson said he thinks his wife, who grew up in Ohio and Puerto Rico, will be the only Puerto Rican-American to run a marathon at both Antarctica and the North Pole.  

Richardson has also run a marathon in Poland. She’s thinking about running a marathon in Thailand for her Asian race, and running a marathon around a volcano in Chile to cross South America off her list.  

“I’m not this amazing athlete at all,” Richardson said. “Anyone can do it.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

As travel industry awaits slowdown, travelers pack bags — for now
As travel industry awaits slowdown, travelers pack bags — for now

The travel industry is voicing a common refrain: President Donald Trump’s travel ban, terror attacks in Europe and a laptop ban represent a recipe for a potential sharp decline in visitors to and from the United States.  “When you hear words like ‘travel ban,’ it puts a big chill” on travel and tourism, James J. Murren...
Where to eat and drink in Port Aransas
Where to eat and drink in Port Aransas

Trips to Port Aransas for me in the past used to mean stops in Lockhart for barbecue, maybe a classic Whataburger run in the chain’s home of Corpus Christi and then cooking and grilling at a rental property. OK, and beer. Lots of beer. But over the past couple of months I’ve realized there are more culinary offerings than one might expect...
Dive in and go down below
Dive in and go down below

School’s out, summer is here and the weather is steamy. Luckily, there are plenty of natural spots surrounding Austin to stay cool that don’t come with chlorine and crowds. From sublime swimming holes to constantly chilled caves, here are a dozen places to chill on scorching summer days courtesy of Mother Nature. The best part? They are...
July sizzles with family fun
July sizzles with family fun

July can be hot, but Texas doesn’t let triple-digits stand in the way of fun. From spectacular July Fourth celebrations to fruit-focused festivals, here are a dozen not-to-miss happenings in the Lone Star State worthy of a road trip. Shiner June 30-July 1: This historic, beer-loving town’s annual Half Moon Holidays is upon us. Highlights...
Tuscany for beginners
Tuscany for beginners

Wedged between Florence and Rome, rural Tuscany offers the quintessential Italian experience: sun-soaked hill towns, green and rolling screen-saver hills, romantically fortified farms and cypress trees marching single file up lonely ridges. We go to Italy to experience the finesse of Florence, the splish-splash of Venice and the grandeur of Rome, but...
More Stories