It's probably for the best that it took Thom Gilligan 18 years to offer marathoners an opportunity to run in Antarctica in February. Enticing Boston runners with an escape to Hawaii in December was a much smarter marketing strategy. Even if Gilligan is more apt to call it dumb luck.
Thom Gilligan read the e-mail and shook his head in disbelief. Here was yet another applicant for the 2005 Last Marathon, the extraordinary race in Antarctica that Gilligan had conceived a decade ago. No surprise there; while the event had been closed out for more than a year, adventure-minded runners were still begging for a chance. The shock was that this guy, 47-year-old William Tan of Singapore, proposed to do the 26.2 miles of loose rock, glacial streams, and ice in a wheelchair - a feat never attempted, never suggested in the previous six editions of the race. "I thought, no way," Gilligan says.