Two Thunder Bay women are heading to Antarctica next month to run a half-marathon — dressed as penguins.

Rachel Rauwerda and Stacey Collie are competing in the Antarctic Marathon to raise money for Open Doors, a school in Jos, Nigeria for children with disabilities.

Rauwerda is a physiotherapist who loves outdoor sports, but she admitted she's never run a marathon, and she hasn't trained that hard yet.

Stacey Collie and Rachel Rauwerda

Stacey Collie, left, and Rachel Rauwerda will run in the Antarctica Marathon in March — but they plan to run the half-marathon dressed as penguins, as part of a fundraiser for a Nigerian school. (Rachel Rauwerda)

"I love the cross-county skiing and the dog sledding and so it's hard to go running when I could go skiing, so I've been not doing a lot of running," she said.

Rauwerda said she was motivated to join her friend for the opportunity to spend time on the Antarctic landscape.

Collie is a runner who registered for the Antarctic Marathon as part of her goal of running a half marathon on every continent, according to the women's fundraising web site. 

"If you're pretty active, I think I can do it. It won't be easy, but I think you can do it with a little extra preparing," she said.

The women will leave Thunder Bay on March 4 to travel to King George Island, off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, where the full and half marathons are staged on gravel roads that connect the scientific research bases of Uruguay, Chile, China and Russia.

Rauwerda and Collie committed to wearing penguin costumes in the race in exchange for a $1,000 donation to Open Doors.

If they reach $3,000 in donations, they promised to do a penguin waddle and slide across the finish line.

For $4,000, they've pledged to take the plunge into the Antarctic Ocean.