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But Vinecki, a tri-athlete and youth aerial skier, may have already put her toughest test behind her when she traveled to Antarctica, the world's driest, windiest, and iciest continent as part of a world marathon tour she developed to spread awareness and raise money for prostate cancer.
The Antarctica Marathon and Half Marathon benefits Oceanites, a non-profit research group that measures the flora, fauna and wildlife and the impact of tourism on Antarctica. "Over the past three years, the event has raised nearly $150,000,"
TIME MAGAZINE Back in 1995, when the first Antarctica Marathon was run, there was no Lonely Planet guide to the continent. But over the past decade, tourism to the region has trebled, according to the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators.
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.