Eight years ago I decided to get fit. I brought a running machine and started with 2-3 times a week, 2-3km at a time. I then set a goal to run 1500KM on it in a year…Whilst I was sort happy with that I wanted to do better, so I decided to run a FUN RUN in every capital city in Australia.
I entered and off to Melbourne for my first run. Then Adelaide, Sydney, Hobart, Canberra and Brisbane. It was during this time I ran into Travelling Fit and heard about this crazy run along the Great Wall of China. I liked the sound of that, so entered the 5km run in 2010 and went on a fully packaged tour. I liked the run so much I actually ran the 5km, then the 10km straight after. The great well was magnificent, the run was something I always remember, but it was the comradery that stands out from any running event you attend. On the Great Wall run it was easy to meet people as we had this common interest – RUNNING! The energy amongst the group was so positive and supporting – everyone is always encourage no matter what the challenge is you have set yourself, it is about you competing against yourself, and you have lots of other liked minded people supporting you.
Just after finishing the Great Wall run, I saw this sign, ‘Big 5 Marathon’… I always wanted to go to Africa, maybe doing this with a big bunch of positive people was the way to go. So off I went in 2012 and decided this time I would step up to the half marathon as my next challenge. I completed the half marathon there, however it was an experience you would never forget. Safari’s every day, culture, people and of course the supporters (other runners) were always there to encourage you. I was told South Africa gets into your sole, well that it did, I went back and did that race 5 times, stepping up to the full marathon.
It was in 2014 though that I decided to do my first full marathon. It was also in South Africa doing the Big 5 where I met two special people who encouraged me to look at doing the 7 continents – 7 marathons on 7 continents. There is 7.2B+ people in this world, less than 1,000 have achieved this feat. This would be my new goal. I got back to Australia and immediately got in touch with Travelling Fit, Berlin would be my next run.
Following that I ran a marathon in the United States, Australia, the Temple Run in Bagan and a hot sweaty event in RIO. Six down and here I am in March 2017.
Two days ago, we woke this morning to the news:
“Temperature is 1.5 Celsius – winds 15-25km diminishing in the afternoon”. You could hear the whole ship cheer. It suddenly hit me and I got somewhat emotional in regards what I was about to do, but told myself do not burn energy with emotion, you need it!
Soon, we headed across to the Russian base and then we were on our way. The last marathon, Antarctica!
What the forecast didn’t tell us was that little wind had like a -10 Celsius wind chill factor… no problems, had all the gear, all good… target first 3 laps in 50min each and the last 3 in 1hr each ie. 5:30 finish target. The terrain was rocky, pebbles, stones, mud, lots of mud, some water to jump, snow on the side and undulating hills. It was simply in one way, grueling in another.
So the first two laps were good – 40min each, 3rd lap 45min – It was slower because it started to snow! Yes, the winds had dropped back, but it started snowing for lap 3 and 4 and it was freezing! There was small lake next to the track, the winds off that where pure ice.
The snow stopped and the chilly wind came back for lap 5 – it was awful as it was a nothing lap – a lot of pain and going nowhere, but still doing good time. Charlotte (my daughter) had finished the half and was shuttled back to the ship so at the last turn I spent 5mins ruffling around in the bag and finally found the camera, then headed off for the last lap… had plenty of time up my sleeve so stopped and took a lot of photos. I really did soak it all in on the last lap.
I ran down the last hill, and threw the finish line at 4:37. I was very happy with that.
The non-race days where filled with penguins, whales, seals and icebergs. We were told you come here for the race, but you go away with an experience. Thinking about it now, this is what happened to me, every race, it was an experience if not an adventure. Most places I went, I definitely want to go back to again. I have met so many great people, made many new friends, and got to see things most people would only ever dream.
I had been chasing a dream, and I caught it, less than 700 people have achieved the 7 in 7 and I am in that club!
I would have never achieved this though without so many people supporting me. The hard work pounding the road every week to get ready for such events. My physio and masseur repairing injuries, my Sunday morning breakfast guy, Charlotte running with me and my kids encouragement… but one that has followed my journey and made it happen is the wonderful team at Travelling Fit. I look back at the places I have been and the journeys I have taken – nothing has ever been a problem, everything is organized to the highest detail and whilst it was a tour, they always made it ‘about me’.
I did the run, but Travelling Fit made it an experience. An experience of a lifetime, thank you so so much Mari-Mar, Michael, Craig, Felicity, Ang, Lee, Mitch and Leeca. A very special thanks to Tina who has been extremely close to me on this journey, thank you for your kind words and faith.
Thank you Travelling Fit.