There was a warm up, but there was no warming up. On Nov. 25, elite runner Paul Robinson ran the fastest mile ever recorded in Antarctica, where the temperature was -13 degrees Fahrenheit. His time: 4 minutes, and 17.9 seconds.
“I was like, Holy f***, I don’t know how I’m going to get to the end,” he told Runner’s World. “My legs were going to jelly, and I had this drone following me. I was like, I can’t hit the deck; I have to finish because I’m not doing this again.”
The 26-year-old runner from Kilcock, Ireland traveled for three days to reach Union Glacier in Antarctica, where he slept in a tent and woke up with a frozen nose in the days leading up to his world record setting performance. Oh, and he had to watch out for crevasses, too.
Robinson can tick off a sub-4 minute/mile in mild conditions, which is why Antarctic Ice Marathon race organizer Richard Donovan invited him to attempt the lung-searing distance in conjunction with the annual marathon.
He wore spikes on his shoes, but it was still like running in sand, Robinson told the Irish Examiner.
“You’re used to going four-minute [mile] pace in races, but your foot is going two or three inches into the snow. After a slight incline I got to halfway and thought: ‘oh my God, I’m nearly falling over.’”
As painful as it sounds, the video that emerged is absolutely stunning.
Amazing footage Ireland’s Paul Robinson running the Antarctica Mile in 4 mins 17.9 secs. The event took place on 25th November 2017 at Union Glacier, Antarctica, and was held in conjunction with the annual Antarctic Ice Marathon. pic.twitter.com/vCEkA16kjA
— Richard Donovan (@RichardDonovan7) November 27, 2017
Robinson’s ultimate goal is to medal in the Olympics. Until then, he’ll hang his hat on a record many elite runners wouldn’t even dare to try.
He escaped the continent just in time. A blizzard that arrived the day after he left would have forced him to stay in Antarctica for another week. Instead, he returned to a more temperate climate of an Irish winter.
Well done, Paul Robinson. We’re glad you escaped with an ice tan rather than frostbite.