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Last Updated: Friday, 31 March 2006, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
Nurse set for North Pole marathon
By Steven McKenzie
BBC Scotland news website
Highlands and Islands reporter

Wendy MacKinnon
Wendy MacKinnon competed in the Ice Marathon. Picture by Mike King
A nurse is preparing to run a marathon at the North Pole - three months after becoming the first woman to finish a race in Antarctica.

Wendy MacKinnon, 42, from Dingwall, Ross-shire, will compete in the Arctic event in April.

She completed the 26.2 mile Ice Marathon in Antarctica in January.

Mrs MacKinnon will be raising funds for the Scottish Hart charity, which is dedicated to testing youngsters for heart defects and diseases.

The practice nurse finished the Ice Marathon in fifth place with a time of six hours and three minutes.

I could have waited until next year to run the marathon, but my training and fitness are still fresh and like a typical woman I want a matching set
Wendy MacKinnon

Mrs MacKinnon said recent heavy snowfalls in the Highlands had aided her preparation for her next run, but she is bracing herself for tougher conditions than she faced in the Antarctic.

She said: "At the North Pole it is going to be a lot colder. I am going to have to wear more clothing.

"I didn't have to wear a face mask at the Antarctic, but I will this time."

For January's event, she wore boots a size too big so she could wear two pairs of socks.

She also donned a layer of thermals, a fleece, a wind-proof jacket to protect her upper body and gloves under mittens on her hands.

But she will have to pull on a few more extra layers to ward off extreme sub-zero temperatures.

Mrs MacKinnon said: "Psychologically too it is going to be a lot harder. The previous event followed a figure of eight through breath-taking scenery.

"This time I will be running in a circle looking at the same thing 26 times."

Map of North Pole and the marathon's Camp Borneo

She added: "I could have waited until next year to run the marathon, but my training and fitness are still fresh and like a typical woman I want a matching set."

Before her venture to the frozen south, Mrs MacKinnon ran the London Marathon in 1998 and completed the Loch Ness Marathon in 2004 in four hours and five minutes.

Along with the other competitors she will fly out to Spitzbergen, Norway, before heading out to the North Pole camp - called Camp Borneo - where they will stay overnight in heated tents before the race on 8 April.

Listed in the Guinness World Records as the world's most northerly marathon, it is run over six to 12ft of solid ice floating above 12,000ft of Arctic Ocean.

Mrs MacKinnon raised more than 1,500 for the Make a Wish Foundation running in the Ice Marathon.

This time she will collect sponsorship for Scottish Hart (Heart and Risk Testing), which funds testing for youngsters for heart conditions.

See Mrs MacKinnon train in the snow

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