Well, I’m getting personal messages from friends and readers asking what’s going on with regard to our trip to Antarctica. I’ve been a little out of blogging commission for a couple of months. It isn’t that I don’t have plenty to say. If you know me, you know that’s true. It’s just that there’s almost too much happening; it’s hard to pick what to write about. I’ve felt bogged down and blocked to tell the truth. A few days ago, because the weather was cruddy, I ran about five miles on the treadmill in my garage and watched an episode of Six Feet Under from Season Two as I ran. There’s nothing like running in a dark, cluttered room reflecting on the topic of death to give you an appreciation for life and encourage you to crawl out from under you metaphorical rock. So here I am.
You may have noticed that I took my posting about Antarctica off of the site. Here’s a very short version of what happened.
We had our trip to King George Island planned out almost to the minute and were getting ready to send our deposit in to the tour company we were working with when we got an email from them explaining our plans had to be put on hold. Apparently, someone had alerted the U.S. Department of State that we were organizing a marathon on Antarctica and (because most of Antarctica is a protected area) the State Department was concerned about this. They, in turn, contacted our tour company and started asking questions about our plans.
In a manner of speaking we were, certainly, organizing a “run” back and forth on a footpath, and the distance we hoped to travel was the marathon distance, but we were only organizing this for a total of five people (enough to charter the flight and to justify the use of a qualified guide on the island). All the tourists that travel with the company walk on the path we had been given permission to run on; we had no plans to divert from the usual routes traveled on the island.
Over the course of the past few weeks, we’ve continued to get messages from our tour company and from a representative of the State Department (who has been quite helpful, actually). As it turns out, it isn’t really any governmental agency that wanted to stop us, though it was because of the questions the State Department asked that got the ball rolling. It was actually the airline that contracts with our tour company who decided they didn’t want to jump through additional hoops to get us permission to run.
If you think all of this is confusing, join my club.
“So what is happening now?” you ask. What’s happening now is that I’m flying to King George Island as planned in March, but I’m not organizing anything. Bill will come with me as far as Punta Arenas, Chile and he’ll hang out there for a couple of days while I fly into the Antarctic Circle and experience King George Island. I will be accompanied by two wonderful women with whom I’ve been in communication over the past few months through the original planning process.
As we get closer to our trip, I’ll give you more details. We still plan on a 42K run/race in Punta Arenas and we look forward to seeing King George Island. Stay tuned for more.