IT'S one of the world's toughest races. But an athlete from Huddersfield has proved himself to be The Ice King.
Andy Shaw, a veteran from Holmfirth Harriers, has won the 2005 Polar Marathon - running a stunning course across Greenland's frozen wastelands in under three hours.
His winning time of 2hr 57min 19sec was described as "fantastic" by race organisers, who had plotted a course across some of the world's most spectacular and unforgiving landscapes.
Andy, a microbiologist from Birchencliffe, who has been an athlete for many years, was one of 43 competitors to complete the 26-mile course, run in temperatures which plummeted as low as minus 21°C (-6°F).
And his reward was to enjoy a typical Arctic banquet of reindeer and musk ox!
Andy - regarded as one of the North's top fell runners - is no stranger to success, having won many trophies in his long career.
But even he had doubts when he set off at 9am in a relatively mild minus 15°C (5°F).
He said: "It was my first polar marathon. Greenland was a fantastic experience and the race itself was superb."
Runners began the first two-mile leg towards the ice cap, `aided' by a refreshing headwind.
Fortunately the following part of the course run at the ice cap was covered in a light blanket of fresh snow, so runners using running spikes had few problems.
After the first two legs the course continued westward towards Kangerlussuaq, over a very hilly terrain. It passed enormous glacier tongues, moraine plains, tundra and Arctic desert as bemused musk oxen and reindeer looked on.
Andy said: "The surface wasn't too bad but the big concern was the cold. It is hard to describe and it certainly hits your lungs when you breathe in.
"When I ran across the ice-cap, I had my balaclava over my face to try and shield some of it but it still gets through.
"The warm drinks they gave you as you come off the ice were very welcome.
"I'm delighted to have won and in a time under three hours. We had walked the course the previous day and never thought it was possible".
The first woman home was Elisa Laura Agtagkat, from Greenland, in 4.07.26.
Runners came from Greenland, Denmark, England, Sweden, Austria, the Czech Republic, Scotland and New Zealand.