World·Video

Pandemic couldn't keep ice-marathon diehards away from freezing temperatures, views on world's deepest lake

Every winter, dozens of Russians and international visitors lace up their special ice cleats and embark on a remarkable 42-kilometre run across Siberia's Lake Baikal. This year was no different. Stunning drone footage offer's a bird's eye view of the runners' route across the world's deepest lake.

Annual run across Siberia's Lake Baikal went ahead this year despite pandemic

Ice marathon on Lake Baikal

World

3 months ago
2:01
Every winter, dozens of Russians and international visitors lace up their special ice cleats and embark on a remarkable 42.2-kilometre run across Siberia’s Lake Baikal, the world's deepest lake. This year, the pandemic was not enough to stop the annual ritual. 2:01

Every winter, dozens of Russians and international visitors lace up their special ice cleats and embark on a remarkable 42.2-kilometre run across Siberia's Lake Baikal.   

Lake Baikal, located in southeastern Siberia about 4,300 kilometres east of Moscow, is famous for its pristine water, which freezes clear and creates stunning blue ice formations. Baikal is between 20 million and 25 million years old and holds more water than all of North America's Great Lakes combined.

At more than 1,600 metres deep, including under the marathon route, it is easily the deepest lake in the world.

The Baikal Ice Marathon, organized by local businessman Alexei Nikiforov, has taken place every year for the past 17 years. Even with Russia still gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, Nikiforov says he was determined not to cancel the event. 

This year, 70 runners took part. While much of the route across the lake was over clear ice, blowing snow meant runners had to trudge through knee-deep drifts for the last 10 kilometres to reach the finish line. The winner was former Russian pro-football star Alexei Smertin, 45, who clocked in at three hours and 25 minutes. 

Our CBC Moscow crew visited the lake for this year's race, which took place Feb. 28.

WATCH | Why runners couldn't stay away from the Baikal Ice Marathon this year:

Taking the marathon to extremes on Russia’s Lake Baikal

The National

3 months ago
5:36
Lake Baikal is one of Russia's natural wonders, and in the middle of a fierce Siberian winter, it's the site of one of the most extreme sporting events on earth — a marathon on the frozen surface of the world’s deepest lake. 5:36

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Brown

Moscow Correspondent

Chris Brown is a foreign correspondent based in the CBC’s Moscow bureau. Previously a national reporter for CBC News on radio, TV and online, Chris has a passion for great stories and has travelled all over Canada and the world to find them.

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