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Running through pain, loss and illness is nothing new to marathon runner Don Ross. But running downhill against 60-mile-an-hour winds in Antarctica in mid-March was like nothing Ross had experienced before.
Nathan Haywood took up running long distances just eight months ago and this month will run his first ever marathon. That alone is a challenge on a big scale, but the fact he is just a couple of weeks away from ticking off his first marathon is just the start of it. The Invercargill 42-year-old will make his marathon debut in Antarctica in temperatures anywhere between -10 and -30 degrees.
Canadians Stacey Collie and Rachel Rauwerda are travelling to the world’s southernmost continent to run the Antarctica Marathon. What makes the story even better is that the two are running the entire race in penguin onesies complete with a slide across the finish line.
With the World Marathon Majors completed, Kintz set his sights on a new goal: to complete a marathon on every continent. The seven continents club of marathon runners became a possibility in 1995 when Antarctica held its first marathon. On March 9, Kintz ran the Antarctica Marathon which now takes place annually on King George Island located just off of the Antarctic Peninsula.
“When we got off the ship we took a Zodiac, one of those rubber boats like the Navy Seals use, to get to Antarctica. It wasn’t as cold as you might think, but we had a mixture of snow, sleet, rain and hail. At one point the wind blew me across the road in midstride. I was actually airborne.”
I started thinking, ‘Seven.’ Seven races in seven continents. I think I can do that.”
It began 20 years ago when Thom Gilligan, founder of the Chelsea-based Marathon Tours & Travel agency, started the Antarctica Marathon. After the race, a few runners approached Gilligan to say it was continent No. 7 for them.
Also this year, he completed his fifth Antarctica marathon, becoming only the second runner to have run five marathons on all seven continents.
“This place is beautiful, but it is simply the most inhospitable environment imaginable. It's like another planet in terms of its beauty and landscapes, but it's also like another planet in how quickly the environment turns on you."
Thom Gilligan’s early life story has been told well in John Hanc’s excellent book, The Coolest Race on Earth (Chicago Review Press, 2009), highly recommended.
As naturally competitive as Mary Ann Weber is, she doesn’t insist on being first all the time. The former Santa Rosa dentist is perfectly content, for example, to be the 126th woman on Earth to travel to all seven continents to do something both agonizing and exhilarating.
Dr. Tun Zan Maung, an internal medicine physician at Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH), was one of 200 runners who participated in the Antarctica Marathon and Half-Marathon, earning him a place on the prestigious finishers’ list of the Seven Continents Club.
At the tail end of the most bone-chilling winter in recent years, I left New York for Antarctica, the coldest and driest place on earth, where the sun never completely sets.
The Seven Continents Club provides the appealing opportunity to race in places we’re already inclined to visit, as well as in some intriguing, out-of-the way settings we might not otherwise consider,’’ he said.
The Antarctica Marathon is billed as one of the most grueling marathons in the world. Having run it twice and worked it five times, my experience is that the challenge comes not just from the event itself, but from the culmination of sensational variables.
The Dallas Morning News
“This record is not for me but for the one in six men and families affected by prostate cancer,” Vinecki said in a statement released by Marathon Tours & Travel, which founded the Seven Continents Club after putting on the first marathon in Antarctica in 1995.
After 100 marathons on all seven continents, Steve Neibergall is finally taking the time to slow down.
“I have only found one other woman from England to run all seven continents.”
ABC News Video of The Antarctica Marathon Experience