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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Nurse back home from North Pole
Wendy MacKinnon
Wendy MacKinnon has raced in Antarctica and the Arctic
A nurse who ran a marathon in the Arctic has told how she feared she was going to fall through the ice into the freezing ocean below the North Pole.

Wendy MacKinnon, 42, from Dingwall, Ross-shire, completed the race in six hours 36 minutes earlier this month.

She did sink through the ice up to the tops of her legs when was on a visit to the North Pole.

Mrs MacKinnon told BBC Scotland news online: "In that split second I thought I was going to end up in the ocean."

In the marathon, which was held on a course close to the North Pole, Mrs MacKinnon finished second out of a field of 11 in the women's event.

England's Alison Hamlett came first in five hours 52 minutes and 56 seconds.

Mrs McKinnon also completed the 26.2 mile Ice Marathon in Antarctica earlier this year.

Our footsteps echoed like musical notes which altered with the depth of the surface ice and that is something I will never forget
Wendy MacKinnon

Back home in Dingwall, she said: "It was an amazing experience.

"This one was much tougher than Antarctica and I really had to push myself to finish.

"If I had done this one first there was no way I would have finished it because I wouldn't have been fit enough."

She added: "The arctic is stunning and scary because every now and then it dawns on you that you are on frozen ice which moves and breaks.

"Our footsteps echoed like musical notes which altered with the depth of the surface ice and that is something I will never forget.

"The ice hummocks were stunning and looking into them I saw endless hues of blue, I felt so privileged to be able to see it I was moved to tears."

The nurse said her tumble at the North Pole added to the thrill of the experience.

She said: "I fell into a crack and the time it took to fall seemed endless, and in that split second I thought I was going to end up in the ocean.

Heart defects

"The fall occurred when we were walking across the frozen ice at the exact North Pole which we flew to in helicopters.

"I just suddenly sank up to the tops of my legs in the snow and once I had clambered out and looked down it was a crack in the ice about 10 inches across that went down for quite a distance, though thankfully we didn't see water.

"On closer inspection these breaks were fairly easy to spot because the snow had lines running across which were clearly other snowed in cracks."

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


SEE ALSO:
Arctic runner on top of the world
10 Apr 06 |  Scotland
Nurse set for North Pole marathon
31 Mar 06 |  Scotland


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