“Pizza, pasta, bread all covered with…CHEESE – I want it all! Running burns a lot of calories right? Yeah I reckon I’ll start to run a bit…”
Was how it all started.
Seven marathons, five continents and eight years later and I’m about to say goodbye to a free reign on food forever with my last three marathons. And I’m also about to be one half of the third father daughter pair ever to run a marathon on each continent in history – that sounds good.
The Seven Continent Challenge
So what is it exactly I’m doing? This challenge is for mad individuals such as myself for whom running one or two marathons just won’t cut it. It’s not technical – you just put one foot in front of the other for a very long time on each of the seven continents; Europe, Asia, South America, North America, Africa, Australasia and… Antarctica. Unsurprisingly Antarctica is the bottleneck and the limiter for those looking to complete this challenge.
When I was 18 I subjected my poor legs to their first 26.2 mile conquest in Berlin after which I swore I would never put myself through that pain again, a resolve that lasted a colossal seven months after which I ran the London marathon. Next came Sydney, then a six-month stint where I hobbled awkwardly round marathons in Chicago, Marrakech and Nagano – Japan (my running “style” is akin to something none too dissimilar to an ostrich). After this I returned to Europe where I completed the Milan marathon with a friend – partly due to bribery, partly due to ego – and that leads us to the current day with five continents down and two remaining.
So, in order to finish it off forever there’s one more effort to make – the Bournemouth marathon which I’m running simply for a time that’s evaded me for too many years in October, followed by the Antarctica marathon on November 20 and then a mere 10 days later the Chile marathon. I’ll be running in minus 20 degrees on soft snow, in 24 hour daylight with no shelter apart from tents, in katabatic winds with a bucket for a toilet and a satellite phone as the only way to communicate with the outside world for the 5 days that we’re on the ice – I’m going to look delightful when I get back I’m sure *does neanderthal impression*. This is no normal race.
Then of course, we fly to Chile where I plan to purchase an offensive Mexican hat, speak Spanish badly and do it all again, minus the snow.
This last piece of monumental stupidity and stubbornness however will put 8 years of graft and putting one foot slowwwwly in front of the other to bed where I plan to stay for a long time when I return – after which I think I’m going to take up watching Jeremy Kyle, and perhaps Sudoku.
I’ll be updating the blog with my efforts and a round up of the experience when its all over and I’ve got my medals. I’m delighted to be running for the World Wildlife Fund who complete so much fantastic work out on the South Pole and all over the world caring for penguins and other animals. I’m going to be featured in their magazine early 2014 so I’ll also plaster that everywhere to gloat and get my fifteen minutes of fame. If you’d like to give (yeah – there’s a catch) my online charity page is here, THANK YOU in advance ☺
So to conclude, the million dollar question – will it all be worth it? We’ll see…but this video sure is serving as some pretty awesome inspiration for now!