Archive for November 27th, 2008


Flight of fancy for those down under

November 27, 2008

First things first – today is Thanksgiving day in the United States of America so happy Thanksgiving Day to all our US readers – it is a time to give thanks for the harvest, and in general, although this year many Americans will wonder what they should be thankful for. It is also celebrated in Canada, but rather than the 4th Thursday of November the Canadians give thanks on the 2nd Monday of October. And let us not forget the Grenadans, whose Thanksgiving Day is on the 25th October, when they celebrate the removal from office and execution of their Prime Minister Maurice Bishop! Oh well – it takes all sorts, something we should never forget.

And now we turn to Australia – I don’t know about you but its darn cold in the south of France at the moment – snow is forecast – and so we thought it would be good to cheer us up by finding some sunshine – down under here we go, beam me up Scotty!

This sounds fun – have you ever heard of a Tiger Moth? No…..well its an aeroplane – a biplane to be more precise, designed by Geoffrey de Havilland for the Royal Air Force in the 1930s and primarily used as an aircraft for training pilots. It can cruise at about 100mph and is a two seater with an open cockpit – over 8,800 were built and it has been used by airforces in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, India, Persia, Iraq, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Poland, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Spain, Spanish State, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom and Uruguay – they got around a bit as they say.

Well nowadays they are primarily used as air ambulances, aerial advertising, crop dusting, glider tugs and for recreational and aerobatic use. Finally we get there…… for it is this last purpose that would be a lot of fun, kind of extreme, a very nice birthday present perhaps and if you find yourself in Melborne, in the state of Victoria, in southern Australia you have a great opportunity to fly around the city for 30 minutes and even do some gentle loops, rolls and spins – the cost $275 – and I presume thats Aussie dollars.

If you want to find out more go to the companies website which is and check it out and watch the video below from schlutorflyer – it makes you want to reach for your goggles, feel the air rush past in the open cockpit, just imagine you are Ralph Fiennes or the beautiful Kristin Scott Thomas – yes this is the plane they used in The English Patient, an extreme classic – have a great Thanksgiving Day wherever you are.


Extreme Marathon

November 27, 2008

Surely this must be the most extreme marathon on earth – and the use of the word ‘earth’ is meant in the sense that earth is a planet. For understand that this marathon is not run on terra firma – no it is run on between 6 and 12 feet of ice aabove 12,000 feet of Arctic Ocean.

The 2009 North Pole Marathon  will be held in early April – runners will rendez vous at Spitzbergen in northern Norway on April 6th and then be flown to the North Pole for the race which is somewhat weather dependent, in terms of the actual start time, but is scheduled for April 7th to 9th.

Competitors are then flown back to Spitbergen – and the cost for this extreme experience – a cool 11,900 euros. The race is organised by Richard Donovan and is recognised by the Association of International Marathons and Road races and has in the past attracted such luminaries as Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

The 2008  men’s race was won by a Korean – Byeung Sik Ahn in a time of 4:02:37 and the ladies race was won dy Cathrine Due from Denmark in a time of 5:37:14.

So if you want to do something incredibly extreme, something you could talk about at many a party to come, and you like running (note in snow shoes) then get on down to and fill out the entry form. At this stage there are 15 nations represented in the 2009 race – there is also a team competition.

Below is a video of the 2007 event from polarmarathon – it will give you a good idea of what the race is about even if you cannot not feel the -30 degree celsius temperatures!

  Unique Attributes of the Race

  • Certified 26.2 mile marathon distance (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races)
  • Only certified marathon that is run entirely ‘on’ water, the frozen water of the Arctic Ocean
  • Recognised by Guinness World Records as the Northernmost Marathon on Earth
  • Participants are eligible to join the exclusive North Pole Marathon Grand Slam Club by finishing a marathon on each of the seven continents and this race on the Arctic Ocean.


  April 5     Arrive at Spitsbergen (Norway)
April 6     Fly to North Pole Camp & 90N
April 7     2009 North Pole Marathon
April 8     Return to Spitsbergen (Norway)
April 9     Return to Homeland