Charlotte’s Arctic challenge

Charlotte Duxbury training for the half marathon
Charlotte Duxbury training for the half marathon

When most people go for a run, they head to their nearest park or round the block – but Charlotte Duxbury had other ideas.

The 21-year-old entered the world’s northernmost half marathon, in Svalbard, which is inside the Arctic Circle.

She trained for the 13.1-mile course in Norway, where she was working as a host in a ski lodge after graduating from the University of Durham.

Charlotte, from Brinscall, said: “I wanted a big challenge and the idea of finishing this Arctic experience on a massive high in Svalbard sounded incredible.”

Training for the half marathon was not simple though, due to the weather conditions in Norway.

And she faced the added problem of the polar night, when the sun does not rise between November and January.

Charlotte said: “I didn’t take my running shoes with me – I didn’t think about it – but everyone at work was running still with spikes in their shoes and lots of

layers on.

“I bought some running shoes out there and decided to get through the polar night by training for a half marathon.”

She continued: “The idea of putting the head torch on and going out for an hour when it was blowing an absolute gale or in stinging hailstones was tough, but it was all about the challenge.”

After completing her training, Charlotte travelled to the island of Spitsbergen, in Svalbard, to take part in her first half marathon.

Instead of crowds of spectators cheering on the runners, they were surrounded by guards armed with guns to protect them from polar bears.

But there was no snow on the ground and Charlotte did not need to run in her spikes.

She completed the race in two hours and five minutes.

Charlotte, a former pupil at Holy Cross Catholic High School, said: “I absolutely loved it. It got to about two degrees, which was very warm there, and there was sunshine for the first hour.

“I turned around and the weather changed to dark clouds and very strong, cold wind.”

Charlotte now has the running bug and wants to enter another half marathon.

“I want to do one in under two hours, but I need to find another cool place to do it,” she said.

And after a brief trip home to Brinscall, she will soon be heading off to India, where she will manage volunteers and set up new projects for a charity for the next six months.