Ice Marathon on the frozen surface of Lake Baikal, the deepest freshwater lake in the world

lake baikal

Lake Baikal is situated in the South of Siberia and is the deepest and largest fresh water lake on earth. It is well-known for its outstanding natural beauty and for surrounding high mountain ranges. However, the lake is turning into a swamp, as tons of liquid waste from tourist camps and water transport vehicles are being dumped into the UNESCO-protected lake.

lake baikal

For preservation of clean water in the lake, 56th Parallel – Russia tours have organized ‘Baikal Ice Marathon – 2015’ in February-March 2015. This one-of-a-kind ice marathon has seen competitors from over 50 different countries, racing across the frozen surface of Lake Baikal in the south east of Siberia, which is recognized as one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges.

Ice Marathon on the frozen Lake Baikal is one of the top 25 adventures marathons in the world. BIM ‘Training to Run’ package was developed with expertise in mind to allow people who are physically fit for running, but lack practical or certified experience in long distance running.

lake baikal

Here are few things one should know about the world’s largest and deepest lake, Baikal:
It is a UNESCO listed site and recognized as one of the world’s oldest, deepest and largest lakes, comprising 20% of the world’s natural freshwater resources.
lake baikal

As the lake is a source of fresh water, one will be surprised to see the supernatural transparency of ice crystals, which adds to the beauty of the lake.
Lake Baikal is estimated to have formed over 20-25 million years ago. It is difficult to comprehend how a lake in the middle of a continent could have a bottom that is 4,215 feet below sea level. The lake is so deep because it is located in an active continental rift zone.
lake baikal

The lake completely freezes over in winter and the locals use its surface as a winter road. This seemed ideal for a winter cycling adventure.
The rift zone is widening at a rate of about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) per year. As the rift grows wider it also grows deeper through subsidence. So, Lake Baikal could grow wider and deeper in the future.
lake baikal

To register for the marathon event, one can visit the link: http://www.56thparallel.com/

(Photos by Louise Murray and Victoria Sanches)