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Baikal Ice Marathon

At the end of February – beginning of March it’s getting really hot on the shores of Lake Baikal. The temperature is still below zero. Why is it so “hot”? Why do people from all over the world keep coming to this spot of Siberia at this time?

a group of people posing for the camera

Because this is the time when a jaw-dropping Baikal Ice Marathon is held.

In this article, we are answering the most frequent questions about this event.


Is Baikal ice strong enough for running across the lake?

In winter, Lake Baikal is covered with enormously thick ice. Ice thickness can reach from 70 cm to 2 meters. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were two icebreakers running across the lake. They carried carriages and passengers from one shore of Lake Baikal to the other one, while the portion of the Circum Baikal Railway was still under construction. But those huge icebreakers couldn’t break the ice during a freezing cold winter of 1904. The railway was laid right over the ice. Horses were pulling carriages across, covering the full marathon distance from Port Baikal located at the source of the Angara River to Tankhoi settlement on the Eastern Shore.

Are there still any doubts left?

a person riding a horse drawn carriage

What is the aim of the Marathon?

On March 1, 2020, the Baikal Ice Marathon for Preservation of clean water takes place. The Marathon’s aims are ecologically sustainable development of Baikal-Mongolia Asia, and promotion of responsibly organized outdoor recreation and healthy mode of life in the Lake Baikal area. It’s organized by “Absolute Siberia” Ltd. under coordination with Irkutsk Regional Emergency & Rescue services, within the framework of the “Winteriada” Baikal Winter Games Festival.

What is the distance?

The participants of the Marathon run from either Listvyanka (the western shore of the lake) or Tankhoi (the eastern shore). The starting line depends on ice and the run course conditions.

The runners can test themselves in either a full marathon of 42 km 195 m or a half one of 21 km.

a group of people riding skis on a beach

Can I take part in the Marathon?

Let’s do the quiz to figure it out.

  • Are you physically fit?
  1. Yes, I am. I can prove it with a medical certificate.
  2. My girlfriend/boyfriend says I am.
  3. Who is asking?
  • Are you already 18 years old?
  1. Yes, I am. Here is my passport.
  2. Not yet, but I look mature.
  3. Yes, I am if we take into account 9 months I spent in my mom’s belly.
  • Have you ever had a marathon running experience before?
  1. Yes, I have.
  2. I guess so, but I’m not sure.
  3. Yes, I’ve watched a lot of marathons on TV.
  • Have you applied for the registration on the official site of Baikal Ice Marathon and paid the package fee yet?
  1. Sure, I have.
  2. Not yet, but I’m going to.
  3. Can I just come without any registration?

If you have all 1’s, you might be a lucky participant of Baikal Ice Marathon.

Where can I find the complete information about the Marathon?

The information about the registration procedure, Baikal Ice Marathon foot race rules, rules of personal and general safety, weather and running recommendations can be found on the official site of Baikal Ice Marathon.

a group of people riding skis down a snow covered slope

What makes people run the marathon and how does it feel?

text, letter


For more stories of the Marathon runners go to its official site reports.

a group of people cross country skiing in the snow

The foot race across Lake Baikal was indicated as “Most extreme marathon” by Daily & Sunday EXPRESS, “25 Best Adventure Marathons” by Men’s Journal, “ Ten Most Amazing Courses” by Red Bull.


What would you say about it?

Written by Marina, local guide


a person sitting at a table

After online publication, we were amazed to know that our ExploRussia guide Reilya was a competitor of Baikal Ice Marathon in 2012 and 2013. She took third in the half marathon two years running.


Run Reilya Run!

a man holding a sign