Johannesburg – Adventurer Hein Wagner became the first blind runner to complete the extreme Antarctic Marathon earlier this month.
Wagner finished the gruelling race with athlete Nick Kruiskamp as his guide over the rugged terrain of mud, ice and sludge.
“I always knew the Antarctica Marathon would be a test of endurance, mental strength and perseverance,” Wagner said.
“However, I never thought that being on the seventh continent surrounded by ice-capped mountains, glaciers, icebergs, snow, penguins, whales and other wildlife would be so emotionally overwhelming.”
Wagner said a beautiful sunny morning at zero degrees could very quickly change into a snowy day with a chill factor of minus 15 to minus 25 degrees.
“I've never experienced anything colder than Antarctica. It had me shaking to my very core!”
Wagner, an avid sportsman who enjoys abseiling, running and cycling, has won the World Cup Cricket for the Blind, sailed the Cape-to-Rio yacht race, completed the gruelling Ironman triathlon and the Absa Cape Epic mountain biking race. He is also the current holder of the land speed record for a blind driver at 322.52km/h.
Wagner said his sense of feeling was challenged in Antarctica.
“Waking up to whales playing in the water, seals sun-bathing on floating icebergs and the backdrop made up of pristine, beautiful and breathtaking glaciers left me a little envious of the sighted.
“It wasn't easy, but then I started looking at it from a different perspective. I believe this was my true test of endurance and, to my surprise, the pristine beauty of the seventh continent is so extreme it turned out that I could actually hear the view.” – Sapa