Polar Race 2005

For further information contact:

  Polar Adventures Ltd
  18 Neville Road
  KT1 3QX

Tel: +44 (0)20 8549 1457
Fax: +44 (0)20 8241 7914
Eml: info@polarrace.com

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Polar Race Rules

Version 9 (updated 18 October 2021)


  1. These rules are designed to
    • ensure the maximum safety of all those involved in the Race
    • provide fair and level conditions for all teams
    • cope with variations in experience and ability
    • be adaptable to extreme weather conditions.
  2. Safety is paramount.

Start Line/Checkpoints/Finish Line/Stages

  1. The Start Line is in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, in the former North West Territories of Canada and the Finish Line is at the1996 Certified Magnetic North Pole position.
  2. The Stages of the Race are as follows.
Stage 1
Resolute Bay to near the site of the old Polaris Mine on Little Cornwallis Island
(Start Line - 74°42'N 94°50'W, Checkpoint 1 - 75°25'N 96°58'W)
65 miles
Stage 2
Polaris Mine to a waypoint north of Bathurst Island, Cator Harbour
(Checkpoint 2 - 76°44'N 99°36'W)
130 miles
Stage 3
Bathurst Island to a waypoint near King Christian Island
(Checkpoint 3 - 78°0'N 102°50'W)
95 miles
Stage 4
King Christian Island to Magnetic Pole Position
(Finish Line - 78°35.7'N 104°11.9'W)
60 miles

  1. Whilst every effort will be made to locate the Start Line, Checkpoints and Finish Line at the positions given above, the actual positions may differ because they need to be close to where a plane can safely land. The co-ordinates of the Start Line/Checkpoints/Finish Line positions will be confirmed immediately prior to the start of the Race. They may be changed at the Organisers' discretion at any time.
  2. The precise position of the Start Line, Checkpoints and Finish Line, at which teams will be timed, will be identified where possible by the location of two marker poles, or if extreme weather prevents this then by the location of the main Checkpoint Crew tent.
  3. All distances quoted in miles are nautical miles, and "mpd" means nautical miles per day.


  1. Only the standard equipment as supplied by the Organisers will be permitted in the Race. Extra equipment may be carried but only with permission of the Organisers. Specifically banned are aids to propulsion, and means of outside communication other than those supplied by the Organisers. A checklist will be issued prior to the start of the Race and equipment will be checked against it at the end of the Race.
  2. Each team will be required to set out for each Stage with the same minimum days of supplies and fuel as directed by the Organisers.
  3. With the exception of disposable or consumable items (food, fuel, batteries) contestants must finish the Race with the same equipment as they started with. This includes any broken equipment and any extras they were permitted by the Organisers.
  4. Loss of Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), satellite phone, gun or tent will result in disqualification.
  5. If replacement equipment is required (such as tent poles) and the Organisers have a spare, then teams may be provided with a replacement. Any team receiving such a replacement will be disqualified from the Race but may continue to the finish. The Organisers will have the right, should in their sole view the circumstances warrant it, to waive this disqualification rule and allow the team to continue in the Race.
  6. The Organisers will do their utmost to re-supply fresh batteries for personal cameras and will not consider their replacement to be a reason for disqualification.
  7. Teams may be required to carry and use video cameras as supplied by the Organisers on certain Stages of the Race.


  1. If a team is reduced from its original size, then the team will be allowed to continue as long as it has at least two members.
  2. If due to any eventuality a team is reduced to one person then that team will not be allowed to continue. The Organisers will make all reasonable efforts to have the remaining team member incorporated into another team at the next or subsequent Checkpoint (or prior to the start in the event of a pre-race injury). The receiving team has the final decision as to whether to accept such a sole remaining team member into their team.
  3. All members of a team must stay within communicable range of each other at all times (both visual and within voice range). It is not permitted to leave a slow or injured member by him or herself, nor is it permitted for a team to split in two to send an advance party to set up camp.
  4. Teams have to be available for medical inspection at any time. The Race Doctor has the authority to remove a member, or whole team, from the Race if he feels their medical condition so warrants.

The Race

  1. All equipment and food must be pulled on ski or on foot.
  2. Any non-perishable debris accumulated during each Stage must be carried to the next Checkpoint or Finish Line where it must be handed over to the Checkpoint Crew who will have it transported back to Resolute Bay. All perishable material from meals must be buried. All human waste must be buried and properly covered.
  3. All teams are required to communicate with the Organisers at Resolute Bay at a frequency determined by the Organisers and normally expected to be twice per day (unless their safety is at risk at the arranged time), giving their position and a verbal update of their status.Teams with a communications failure (because their satellite phone does not work) must continue to progress towards the next Checkpoint assuming they are capable of doing so.
  4. If any team fails to communicate with the Organisers for more than 48 hours beyond their last successful contact, a Polar Race rescue will begin.
    NOTE: This is not a Canadian Search and Rescue (SAR) which will only be triggered by the setting off of a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). If, in addition to a communications failure, a team gets into a serious life threatening difficulty prior to the Polar Race rescue team locating them then a PLB should be set off.
  5. Abuse of a satellite phone (for example, being used for other than reporting position or emergency communication unless by permission of the Organisers) or of a PLB (for example if it is activated when it is not a situation where there is a serious injury or risk to life) will result in disqualification.
  6. Teams are required to stop at each Checkpoint, where their time will be taken, and teams will be held at that position for a predetermined period until the restart. Times will be taken from a GPS receiver where possible, or from the Checkpoint Crew's watch (synchronised to North American Central Time).
  7. If, for any reason, the Checkpoint Crew is unable to be at any of the Checkpoints or Finish Line because of outside problems (for example because their plane is unable to take off from Resolute Bay due to bad weather), then teams must record their own time of arrival and exact co-ordinates. This should be written down as well as recorded by taking a photograph of the GPS position and watch showing time.
  8. Similarly, if necessary, restart will take place as instructed by the Organisers with the team noting their restart time and position by writing it down as well as by taking a photograph of the GPS position and watch showing time.
  9. All teams start each Stage at the same time. However, the Organisers reserve the right to run the last Stage as a pursuit race with teams starting at different times, so that all teams reach the Finish line at roughly the same time. In this case the start time of each team will depend on the average speed of that team over Stages 1, 2 and 3, with the slowest team starting first.


  1. The planned start date is 9th April.
  2. All teams start the Race at the same time from the Start Line in Resolute Bay. The clock starts on a pre-arranged signal, such as the firing of a gun by the Organisers.


  1. At a Checkpoint, there will be a minimum of one rest day (defined as a 24 hour period) for a team, irrespective of the arrival time.
  2. The clock for each team will stop at the time of arrival of the last member of the team at the Checkpoint.
  3. The clock for each team will start when the first member of the team leaves the Checkpoint.
  4. Competitors must camp within the Checkpoint Area (defined as the area within 25 metres of the main Checkpoint Crew tent).
  5. Any decisions made by the Checkpoint Crew within the Checkpoint Area are absolute.
  6. The firing of any weapon or activating a flare (unless in an emergency) within and around the Checkpoint Area is strictly prohibited.
  7. All weapons must be stored pointing away from other tents and must not be "chambered" whilst in the Checkpoint Area.
  8. The following restart dates from each Checkpoint will apply unless circumstances arise before or during the Race which would contravene other rules or affect safety.
    • Checkpoint 1 restart will be 15th April unless the slowest team exceeds an average speed of 18.5mpd on Stage 1.
    • Checkpoint 2 restart will be 23rd April unless the slowest team exceeds an average of 21mpd over Stages 1 and 2.
    • Checkpoint 3 restart will be 29th April unless the slowest team exceeds an average speed of 21mpd over Stages 1, 2 and 3.
    (These dates assume the slowest team averages at least 15mpd.)


  1. In the same manner as for Checkpoints, the clock will stop at the Finish Line at the time of arrival of the last member of the team.
  2. The winner is the team which posts the shortest accumulated time for the Race, over all Stages 1 to 4.

Outside Assistance

  1. If a team receives outside assistance, they will be disqualified from the Race but, at the Organisers' discretion, the team may be allowed to complete the course. Teams may, however, still communicate with each other though not in such a manner as to prejudice or assist any team's chances.
  2. Any performance enhancing drugs are banned.
  3. At their discretion, assistance or communication may be given by the Organisers, without prejudice to all competitors.


  1. If assistance is requested of a team or member by the Organisers, by the Checkpoint Crew, or by anyone else in the Race, then that team or member must respond. The Organisers will consider "time compensation" for such help.
  2. Teams or members who ignore a call for assistance will be disqualified.
  3. Teams must carry the emergency equipment at all times, and PLBs are required to be carried by each person unless instructions to the contrary are given by the Organisers.


  1. These rules are subject to change at the sole discretion of the Organisers. Weather and safety will be the primary considerations.
  2. Although every competitor is responsible for his or her participation in the Race including whether to start or continue in the event, the Organisers reserve the right, after consultation, to stop a competitor from starting or continuing the Race.
  3. The Organisers' decision on all matters is final.

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