On Running 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 7 Days and What's Next
From a window seat 36,000 feet in the air, I watched the white clouds disperse as the Falcon Heavy rocket launched and began its first leg of a long journey into Space. The beginning of the Falcon Heavy’s immense journey marked the end of one for me.
Did that really just happen? Did I run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days?! I thought as I glanced up to see the green neon bathroom sign flickering. Less than a week ago, I slept between a stack of toilets and a pile of chains on a cargo plane headed for Novolazareskaya (Novo), Antarctica. Novo was the first stop of the 2018 World Marathon Challenge (WMC)—7 marathons, 7 continents, 7 days. But, for me, it was a ‘stop’ in an adventure that actually started many, many years ago.
Running has always been ‘my sport.’ It’s my escape, my fortitude, my happiness, my ambition, and I’m fortunate to also call it my profession. It has literally taken me around the world! I have run through infertility, pregnancy, and motherhood. I have said ‘yes’ when opportunities came knocking. I have proven to those who thought I could not and would not achieve my goals—most importantly myself—that I am talented, smart, and strong enough to accomplish what I set my mind to, while also starting a family and continuing to pursue professional success.
As a woman and a new mom to a little girl, I want so much to inspire her to do the same—always stand up for herself, say ‘yes’ whenever possible, and love life fully. Having a family did not deter me from any of my personal or professional ambitions, and I hope this WMC adventure is an example of that. We only have one life, filled with many successes and even more obstacles. On this 7-7-7 journey—from the warm, sunny days of Cape Town to the cold lonely night in Lisbon, from the idea of not finishing in Antarctica after covering only four miles in 100 minutes (thank you Richard for the lifesaving coat so I could finish!) to surprising myself with a 4:36 finish in Dubai—I was reminded that success is not linear; everyone hits obstacles along any journey.
As I crossed the seventh finish line in Miami, the sheer emotion of all the physical and mental pain and passion spilled out of me and onto the pavement. I respect the marathon with all my heart; its physical and mental demands; the strength it quietly demands. To my core, I love the distance. The week fulfilled every bit of my passion for life, living, and exploring knowing full well that my greatest adventures were at home waiting to see me.
I am still pinching myself. I am so grateful for all of my wonderful teammates and everyone who helped me complete this challenge (there are SO many of you!) . The WMC experience has opened many doors for me already, and I’m proud beyond words to take the next step in this amazing journey and bring Fitness International Travel (FIT) to life. Running has exposed me to more camaraderie and culture than any other component in my life, and through FIT, I aim to share that with all of our athletes.
Falcon Heavy was designed to carry humans into Space, possibly Mars—a feat that seemed insurmountable to most just years ago. FIT was designed to bring humans to marathons across the globe—a feat that seemed impossible to me even as I ran marathons across the globe in the WMC. But, again, when I think about the times I was told I couldn’t do something or wasn’t strong enough, I continued to step forward.
The first human on Mars surely won’t miss her ride on the future Falcon Heavy, and I am not about to miss my ride on the ‘FIT Rocket Ship.’
And who knows, maybe FIT will be the first to bring adventurous runners to the future Moon Marathon! ;)
As always, happy days,
Thanks to Kelley MacDonald for editing this piece.