Penguin onesie Antarctica
In this edited photo, Rachel (left) and Stacey (right) are seen hanging out with penguins sporting their onesies. Photo: Stacey Collie and Rachel Rauwerda.

Canadians Stacey Collie and Rachel Rauwerda are travelling to the world’s southernmost continent to run the Antarctica Marathon. What makes the story even better is that the two are running the entire race in penguin onesies complete with a slide across the finish line.

Of course, with any race, you don’t want to be trying new things on race day. When asked whether she had any practice running in the onesie as a means of race-day preparation, Collie told Canadian Running that she “ran a little bit around the house.”

The two young women met while attending Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ont. before Collie moved to Edmonton and Rauwerda to Thunder Bay, Ont.

The trip, which the two have called Running Antarctica for Open Doors, is raising money for a school for students with disabilities in Jos, Nigeria. Both women have volunteered at the school in the past.

Penguin onesie Antarctica
The kids at Open Doors passing on their best wishes to Rachel and Stacey.

The two leave on March 4 and make their way to Ushuaia, Argentina via Buenos Aires, where they will be joining up with Marathon Tour, the group that organizes the Antarctica Marathon. The races offers a half (21.1K) and full marathon (42.2K) distance.

Update (March 3): Collie told Canadian Running that the two have reached the full marathon goal and, according to their blog, have raised $12,330 in donations.

The Canadian duo has prepared the following donation guidelines:

$1,000 in donations: Run the entire race in penguin onesies (goal reached).
$3,000 in donations: Penguin waddle and slide across the finish line (goal reached).
$4,000 in donations: Take a plunge in the Antarctic Ocean (goal reached).
$10,000 in donations: Run the full 42.2K distance of the Antarctica Marathon (goal reached).

Collie has attempted to gain entry to the race in the past but with little luck. She was on the wait list (with two spots) for 2017 but received an email from the race offering a spot, if she replied within 10 days, for the 2016 edition. Collie called up Rauwerda and the two committed to racing.

Collie has a goal of running a half-marathon on every continent. She has two done as of this writing: A race at the Great Wall of China and several in Tuscon, Ariz.

Penguin onesie Antarctica
The kids at Open Doors passing on their best wishes to Rachel and Stacey.

Overall, the trip costs approximately US$8,000 (depending on accommodations) and excludes airfare costs. The race entry itself is US$200 and participants stay on the ship prior to racing.

When asked why the two didn’t donate the equivalent travel costs to Open Doors instead of making the trip, Collie emphasized that the two had put down deposits for the race well before deciding to add in the fundraising aspect.

“Doing the race in Antarctica was part of my goal of running a half-marathon on every continent,” added Collie. “Rachel and I, this past summer, figured ‘why don’t we do this as a fundraiser too?’ It’s taking something we were going to do anyway and are adding a positive spin to it.”

Perhaps more intimidating than the race itself is the journey from Ushuaia, the southernmost point of Argentina, to Antarctica by ship. The route is rather dangerous and known for icebergs, strong winds and waves. It doesn’t help that Collie gets seasick.

Penguin onesie Antarctica
Stacey (left) and Rachel (right). Photo: Stacey Collie and Rachel Rauwerda

The race route itself takes place on King George Island on a gravel road that connects research stations for Uruguay, Chile, China and Russia. Race day is March 12.

You can find out more about Collie and Rauwerda and their journey through their blog.

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