BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Marathon might be one of the most prestigious races in the world, but one runner says it will be a walk in the park compared to what he did last week.
Gary Craig, a computer scientist from California, will run his 10th Boston Marathon in a row on Patriot Day. But he earned a medal on Tuesday that might be just as special to him, even if it took him twice as long to finish the race.
“On a good day I can run a marathon in maybe 3:15, 3:20, something like that,” Craig told WBZ. “But at the North Pole, I finished 6:27.”
Yes. That’s right. Craig ran 26.2 miles on the North Pole a mere 6 days ago. The temperature was -30 degrees. He had to wear four layers of heavy clothing to survive; and he still came back with frost bite on his nose.
“It’s very difficult to deal with just unzipping your jacket so you can peel off the layers to drink something,” said Craig.
More than 20,000 runners are expected to finish the Boston Marathon this year. Craig is one of only 40 people from around the world who completed the North Pole Marathon Tuesday.
Gary Thornton of Ireland won the race with a time of 3:49. The North Pole course is just short of 3 miles; runners complete 9 laps with tents every mile for them to rest if necessary.
“The first 3 laps I was living the dream and it was great and I was thinking ‘oh this is easy!’” Thornton told camera crews after the race. “Then from [laps] 3 to 6 it started to get tiring; and then from 6 to 9 it was the mental challenge.”
“The footing conditions were just horrible,” said Craig. “Forget about running. You try to run it the first lap but give up. You’re using way too much energy. The rest of the time, I just walked through sections.”
Craig probably won’t run sections of the Boston Marathon on Monday, but still isn’t expecting to set a lightning fast pace with such a short turnaround between races.
“I’m definitely backing off my expectations,” said Craig with a laugh.