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'Vast, white Siberian sea of ice was humbling' in Oxford Mail


'Vast, white Siberian sea of ice was humbling'

By Sam McGregor
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Father-of-one Philip Blazdell has completed one of the world’s toughest marathons, the Baikal Ice Marathon in Siberia.
Mr Blazdell, from Ambrosden, near Bicester, also raised £7,000 for charity The Iain Rennie Hospice At Home, which supports terminally ill people in their homes across Oxfordshire.

Engineer Philip Blazdell and personal trainer Trevor Rackley ran across the finish line in five hours three minutes.

The 80 runners taking part had six hours to complete a 26-mile run across the frozen surface of Lake Baikal in treacherous conditions including slippery, uneven ice, and snow.

The marathon was 40-year-old Mr Blazdell’s first.

He said: “Being in Siberia, on a vast sea of white, is a pretty humbling experience and really puts all your efforts into context.

“The run itself was well organised and the weather was fantastic – the temperature was only –10C and the sun was shining.

“About 80 people took part and everyone was a hardcore endurance runner. People generally found it amusing that this was my first race.

“Everyone was so friendly that it was a pleasure to meet them all from all over the world.

“It felt like hanging out with 80 new friends.

“It was very hard, maybe the hardest thing I have ever done.

“The mental demands of running for five hours over a changeless landscape took a massive effort to keep going. We did a blistering half and then the second half was a lot slower. It was achingly pretty, and for long stretches it was just Trevor and I running along.”

Mr Blazdell, who lost about three stone and spent a year training for the marathon, said he would do another, but for now he was planning to spend more time with his family.