Ice gets Annie set for Cool Runnings

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When training for a marathon most people will simply lace up their running shoes and pound the Prom a few times a week.

But Annie Rawlinson has found herself a much cooler way to practise for a decidedly chillier challenge in Russia... by taking to the rink at the Pleasure Beach’s Ice Arena.

Annie is running the Lake Baikal Ice Marathon, in Russia, which sees hardy participants run the 26.2 miles across a frozen lake.

And Annie, who works for the company which provides LED lighting for the Pleasure Beach, thought the arena would provide the ideal location to hone her skills and get used to the cold ahead of the marathon on March 1 – which she is undertaking to mark her 50th birthday.

She said: “It was lovely to come here and get on the ice to get me ready for the sub zero conditions.

“I thought my trainers would be a little bit slippery but it’s all right. It was just a chance to come here and try it out, and it felt fine.”

This will be the ninth time the gruelling ice marathon has been staged on the lake.

The surface of the frozen lake is covered in fields of “hummocks”, small hills of ice rubble, which make for a flat, but sometimes uneven surface

Annie, who lives near Kendal, volunteers for the Samaritans and will fly out to Russia and take part to fund-raise for the charity.

But she said this marathon offers more than the usual water stations to help the runners get to the finish line.

She added: “I’m more of a fundraiser than an athlete but instead of the normal water stations there’s vodka to help us on our way. I should be OK but I’m not sure about that!”

If you would like to donate to Annie visit Lake Baikal, which lies around 65km south of Irkutsk, in Siberia, is the world’s largest, oldest and deepest lake.

The marathon is a part of a larger winter games held on Lake Baikal – the “Winteriada” Baikal Nordic Games Festival which includes a number of other events such as ice fishing, ice golf, extreme cross-country skiing, snow volleyball and snow football.

The course is predominantly flat, but organisers say the surface is hard at times and uneven.