Michael Wardian, 44, of Arlington, Va. has won the first of seven marathons in the World Marathon Challenge in Antarctica today. Wardian, who won the challenge in 2017 and who holds the record for the fastest average time (2:45:57), finished today in 3:16:43. Running conditions are described as “quite challenging,” though the temperature is only -2 C, considerably warmer than many parts of North America.

RELATED: World Marathon Challenge participants head for Antarctica on Thursday

Petr Vabrousek of the Czech Republic finished second, in 3:39:02, and Arno Van Triest of the Netherlands was third, in 3:49:55.

Among the women, Kristina Schou Madsen of Denmark finished first, in 3:47:41. Susannah Gill of Great Britain was second, in 3:53:55 and Stephanie Gicquel third, in 4:05:11.

The WMC Facebook page is displaying updates via satellite phone from the race location in Novo, Antarctica, where participants run on the airfield runway. The most recent update mentioned the temperature was becoming cooler, and the remaining participants have been on the course for more than five hours. Thirteen men and four women had finished at the time of publication. No results yet for Canadians Mark Hamlin of Toronto or Shirley Parry of Rancho Los Verdes, California.

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The group of 40 participants gathered in Cape Town, South Africa earlier this week to prepare for the challenge. They will return there for their second marathon, which starts tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. local time. 

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