West Yorkshire grandmother becomes oldest woman to complete Antarctic Ice Marathon

Grandmother Chris Hobson said she hopes to inspire others with her gruelling Antarctic Ice Marathon, ITV News' Martin Stew reports

A grandmother from West Yorkshire has become the oldest woman to complete the gruelling Antarctic Ice Marathon at the age of 69.

Chris Hobson, from the village of Clayton West in Kirklees, completed the marathon in freezing temperatures at Union Glacier on Wednesday 14 December.

The former headteacher crossed the line in eight hours, 33 minutes and 11 seconds, and out of all the women who competed, she came 11th.

Speaking after her accomplishment, Chris said she hopes to inspire others: "When I retired and started my fitness transformation, I never dreamt it would result in me becoming a world record holder.

"I hope my achievement will inspire other older women to dream big and achieve what they might have previously thought impossible. Go girls, you CAN do it!!"

  • Chris Hobson shared her story with our presenters Sally Simpson and Ian White in the ITV Calendar studio.

Chris didn't have much time to prepare for the challenging run, only finding out she had a place three weeks before the race after someone else dropped out.

Speaking to ITV News, Chris explained: "You can do whatever you put your mind to. You've got to be focused and not let yourself go off that focus."

She added: "My biggest problem was the air was very cold and I got frost burns on my face and in my throat and I lost my voice."

Chris and her husband Richard are planning to get the paperwork in order to officially claim the record after Christmas. A total of 57 people from 20 countries completed the race this year.

Chris hopes her accomplishment can inspire others. Credit: Antarctic Ice Marathon/Chris Hobson

Chris retired from her job as a headteacher at 60 and decided to use her free time to run marathons. She has now completed 117 marathons on seven continents, all before she turns 70.

Her and Richard flew out to Punta Arenas in Chile before the race to prepare and pick up equipment, including boots that could withstand up to -50 degrees.

Richard said Chris struggled to eat breakfast the morning after the marathon because her lips were so cracked and swollen from the icy winds.

He explained: "As the race started, so did the wind whipping the snow up to a full whiteout. She expected the cold to be the biggest challenge but the clothing she wore overcame this.

"It was the terrain and the physical running that were the main problem. The ice and snow made her slide with every footstep. None of her training had prepared her for this.

"Antarctica is beautiful but incredibly brutal. At every aid station all the runners had their noses checked to make sure they weren’t getting frost bite.

"At many times in the race she questioned "why am I doing this" as she gasped her way round the course in temperatures lower than your freezer.

"The answer was to inspire ordinary older women to believe in themselves and that anything was possible if you put your mind to it. We are setting off shortly to wing our way home to hopefully be back with the family for Christmas."

But Chris won't be resting for long over the festive period, she already had her sights set on her next challenge, the North Pole Marathon!

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