Roy Jorgen Svenningsen of Edmonton became the oldest person to cross the finish line at the Antarctic Ice Marathon on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. (Antarctic Ice Marathon/ Facebook)

84-year-old Canadian becomes oldest Antarctic marathoner

Canadian octogenarian runner Roy Jorgen Svenningsen entered record books on Friday by becoming the oldest person to complete a full marathon in Antarctica.

The 84-year-old veteran marathoner from Edmonton, Alberta, completed the 2019 Antarctic Ice Marathon, which bills itself as the world’s southernmost endurance race, in 11 hours 41 minutes and 58 seconds.

“It’s a fantastic achievement and one to inspire generations of athletes,” said in a statement on Facebook race director Richard Donovan.

Svenningsen, a retired oil executive who has run more than 50 marathons on five continents, is now a step closer to completing his personal goal of running a marathon on every continent.

Svenningsen ran his first marathon in Calgary in 1964. He posted his fastest time in Helsinki, Finland, completing the 42-kilometre distance in two hours and 38 minutes.

Sixty-nine-year-old American Susan Ragon became the oldest woman to complete the marathon in 7 hours 38 minutes and 32 seconds.

The Antarctic Ice Marathon takes place at 80 degrees south latitude, at the foot of the Ellsworth Mountains, at an elevation of about 700 metres. The runners face an average windchill temperature of -20C, and the possibility of strong Katabatic winds, according to race organizers.

Svenningsen wasn’t the only Canadian to take part in the race that brought together more than 50 athletes from 17 countries.

Andreas Weichert came in seventh at 4:50:26, while Cedar Jasiuk finished the race in 5:02:42.

American runner William Hafferty finished first among men with 3:34:12, while Lenka Frycova of the Czech Republic became the fastest woman to complete the race at 4:40:38.

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