And this year Ruth Whelan and Sarah Robson, from Dublin, Ireland, were amongst 128 runners from 29 countries who braved subzero temperatures and frozen hilly terrain to run the Polar Circle Marathon last Saturday the 20th of October.
Not only did they complete the tough 42km challenge, but Sarah was the second female to finish, beating many other seasoned male and female runners, whilst Ruth, who'd never even run a marathon before, finished in 6hours 20mins, ahead of other experienced runners.
The two women met over 2 years ago at SF Fitness Camps, where Ruth is now a trainer.
Sarah, a mother of 3 and former chef at Ely Wine Bar in Dublin, decided to swap her adrenaline pumped job for running marathons, and is now planning to move onto ultra marathon running.
Ruth, who lost over 3 stone and 4 dress sizes in the past 2 years with SF Fitness Camps, has realized her dream to run a marathon before turning 30 (well, almost as she turned 30 last August), and has now quit her full time job in a bank to work full time as a fitness trainer.
The inspiring women say they were fully aware of the harsh conditions they'd face but that they wholeheartedly trusted their training overlooked by John O'Connell, Director of SF Fitness Camps, named by the prestigious magazine USA Today as World Fitness Elite Trainer Of The Year 2012.
Sarah and Ruth say they didn't know they'd be the first two Irish women to run the Polar Circle marathon when they registered a year ago. And along the way, they've trained hard and even managed to raise over €4300 for Crumlin Children’s hospital.
"Being in Greenland was such a magical experience, the scenery was amazing and so were the people" says Ruth "The actual run was amazing – the ice cap, the views, the silence, everything was just out of this world! There was one part I struggled but I had to have a little chat with myself and told myself to get to the finish line!".
And according to her crossing the finish line was an extremely surreal experience. "I had to look behind me and make sure it did say finish above and it took a few minutes for it to sink that I’d actually done it! And now I can say I’m not only a marathon runner but I’m an Arctic runner".
The two remarkable women are already thinking about their next challenge.
Ruth is a trainer at http://www.sffitnesscamps.com