Irish girl 'youngest ever' at North Pole


An Irish endurance runner who travelled the globe running seven marathons in five days has secured another record - his daughter has become the youngest person at the North Pole.

Richard Donovan flew eight-year-old Jaimie to brave temperatures of -26 degrees and mark the 10th anniversary of a marathon he organises in the Arctic.

The youngster has broken a record - by one day - set by the daughter of British adventurer David Hempleman-Adams, Alicia, in 1998.

“It was cold and the helicopter was noisy,” Jaimie said after arriving back on dry land.

“I loved the North Pole and I want to go back.” Jaimie and her teddy bear were standing on the ice at 5.30am on Easter Sunday.

Donovan, who earlier this year set a new record of seven marathons on seven continents in less than five days, said his daughter took the experience in her stride.

“I decided to bring Jaimie and my wife Caroline this year as it was the 10th year of the race and they were long overdue a trip to see what I’ve been working hard to achieve for the last decade,” he said.

“It was a simple coincidence that she seems to be the youngest to stand up there.

“I was just proud of her very good behaviour and the fact she took the trip in her stride at her age, embracing the adventure.”

According to Guinness World Records, Alicia Hempleman-Adams, born on November 8th 1989, stood at the geographic North Pole aged eight years and 173 days on May 1st, 1998. She had also flown to the Pole to meet her father.

Based on the same calculations, Mr Donovan’s daughter, born on October 17th 2003, beat the record by one day.

The Donovan family will have to apply to Guinness World Records to have the feat verified.

This year’s course — a 4.22km circuit carved on the ice with athletes running 10 circuits — had to be patrolled by armed personnel as two polar bears had been spotted in the area.

The marathon began on Friday at 9pm with 41 athletes from 18 countries running in -26C across small pressure ridges, ice and snow.

The race ran throughout the polar “night” of blue skies and the winner was Andrew Murray from Scotland in 4:17:08 while Demelza Farr of Australia won the women’s title in 6:06:36.