It is one formidable thing to want to travel to the most remote and off-beaten path corners of the world. It is also something to want to go to every country in the world but for many of our guests, a great trend in travelling is to go to remote places to participate in great races. A way to see the world and challenge oneself, there are extreme races throughout the world, such as the Somaliland Marathon, the Mogadishu Marathon and the Kabul Marathon. Other races, however, do not take place in regions where the challenge is political but rather in places where the terrain is like no-others around the world. Such a race is the Mongolia Ice Marathon.
The Mongolia Ice Marathon is exceptional since it happens on Lake Khovsgol, known as Khovsgol nuur by the locals (you’ll also see Khövsgöl and Khuvsgul). Picture one of the world’s purest lake and also one of the most ancient. It is an enormous lake, 100-mile long, to be exact. It is renowned for its pristine beauty and offers drastically different sceneries in each season. Picture vibrant colours and lush vegetation around this tranquil lake during the warm months of the year and an electric-blue lake of complete stillness during the winter. In winter, the layer of the lake that freezes becomes extremely thick, with more than a meter of it freezing. This allows vehicles to run on the lake but also allows sport enthusiasts to partake in a crazy challenge: the Mongolia Ice Marathon.
Racers partake in all sorts of ways as they aim to cross the 100 miles of the lake. Some do it skating, running or speed walking. For all, the aim is the same, to challenge oneself in unique conditions. Usually, the finishing line coincides with the site of the Lake Khovsgol Ice Festival, where multiple ice sculptures are exposed, making for a formidable finale, surrounded by grandiose sculptures.
The challenge is not without many extreme difficulties, the temperatures around Lake Khovsgol during winter can go as low as -40 degrees Celsius.