Australia's Doug Wilson and Denmark's Kristina Madsen won the 2015 edition of the Volcano Marathon in the Atacama Desert, Chile.
The Volcano Marathon, one of the highest marathons in the world, was held near Lascar Volcano. The volcano, the most active in Northern Chile, had eupted just over a week prior to race day on 12th November. However, the volcanic activity didn't deter any of the 22 competitors who lined up for the third edition of the race.
In the men's event, Australia's Doug Wilson lived up to his pre-race credentials as 'favourite' when he took the title in a time of 4:42:27 hrs. It was a case of third time lucky for Wilson, who had finished second in both the North Pole Marathon and the World Marathon Challenge (7 Marathons on 7 continents in 7 days) earlier in the year. After a commanding early lead he was pushed all the way to the finish line by another North Pole Marathon verteran, Mark Cooper (USA), who finished runner-up in time of 4:45:42 hrs. Remarkably, Belgium's Didier Geraerts, running his first ever marathon, took third place.
Denmark's Kristina Madsen was a convincing winner of the women's race in a time of 5:12:05 hrs, finishing ahead of Pia Hegner (SUI) and Marianna Zaikova (FIN/RUS) in second and third, respectively. Hero of the day, however, went to Ireland's Sinead Kane, a blind athelete who also succeeded in finishing the difficult, high altitude course with the help of her guide, John O'Regan.
Along with its sister race, the North Pole Marathon, the Volcano Marathon has been cited as the most scenic in the world by British Airways High Life magazine. It's not just the altitude (14,682 feet) that takes athletes' breath away, but views of the 10 volcanoes on the course that is set in the heart of the deadly Atacama Desert!
Full results of the 2015 Volcano Marathon are posted below.