Duluth Woman Trains for North Pole Marathon

Updated: 03/21/2014 6:25 PM
Created: 03/21/2014 4:19 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

While many Northlanders are hoping for warmer weather, Pam Solberg-Tapper says she could use some more sub-zero days.

Solberg-Tapper ran her first marathon, Grandma's Marathon, in 1982 and went on to run 30 more. At 50 years old, she set a goal to run on all seven continents. Now, at 60, she has her sites set on the North Pole.

"I cannot wait to stand on top of the world," she explained.  

For Solberg-Tapper, this arctic winter has been perfect for running.

"I was outside training in 22, 25 below because that's what the temperature will be in the North Pole," she said.

She's been able to test out her gear before it's put to test in the real Arctic next month.

The goggles, the mask, the layers, and the the spikes on her shoes, it's all strategic, but she can't prepare for some of the dangers on the far north ice, such as polar bears.

"They do have guards watching for polar bear activity, and the other danger would be crevasses," said Solberg-Tapper.

She enjoys what she calls adventure marathons.

"I've been to Antarctica, I ran a marathon on the game reserve in Africa, I've run a marathon on the Great Wall of China,"she explained.

She's ran a marathon on all seven continents. When she accomplished the feat in 2011, there were fewer than 100 women who were among the finishers.

The North Pole, however, poses a new challenge.

"It's not a continent, it's ice!"she said.

Solberg-Tapper said the training has been the toughest yet, but after spending hours outside either running or hiking every day, all winter, the cold is no longer a bother. 

Now, her new goal is to become part of the "Grand Slam Club." To become a member, you must run a marathon on all seven continents, plus the North Pole. Solberg-Tapper wants to be the 16th woman in the world to make the Grand Slam.

The North Pole Marathon is April 9. 48 people from all over the world are running the marathon, including seven Americans.

When Solberg-Tapper isn't training for a marathon, she's an Executive Coach.

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