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What made you start running?
My freshman year of high school, I fell in love with running through the comradery and challenge provided by my Cross Country team.
When and why did you decide you were going to run a marathon on all seven continents?
As I crossed the finish line of the Vina del Mar Marathon in Chile, just behind me, a man finished and exclaimed “I’ve done it. I accomplished my goal! I ran a marathon on all 7 continents!” With my love of running and travel, and already having done a marathon in Europe, North & South America, realizing I only had the “A” continents to go, this sounded like just the goal for me!
How do you stay motivated through all those miles?
During races, I create a “Dedication List” and dedicate each mile to someone that inspires me to keep my mind focused on something positive and keep me motivated!
How many marathons and/or half-marathons have you run?
I’ve run 16 Marathons and 40+ half-marathons, or 21Ks, as I like to call them. Whenever possible, I try to use 21K, to avoid the response of “oh, you “just” ran the half”. There’s no “just” in 13.1 miles or 21K!
What is your favorite race and why?
The 2013 Antarctica Marathon was definitely my most memorable experience, not only for the race itself being in a figure eight, enabling me to actually see & cheer on my fellow runners multiple times, but mostly, because of the amazing friendships that have come from that trip! While completing my 7th continent in Tokyo, two of my friends from my Antarctica Marathon who were there for the race, surprised me and created a cheerleading poster of my face to cheer me on! The places that I have run are spectacular, yet it’s always the people that I meet that are the real treasure of each adventure!
What race did you learn the most about yourself?
As is typically the case, I learned the most about myself in the races that didn’t turn out as I had expected. In the Petra Marathon, the heat and elevation change proved to be more than I was prepared for and I was devastated to reach km 25 only to be told that I and the people behind me did not make the cut-off and needed to leave the course. Heartbroken, disappointed in myself, and feeling like I let my supporters down, I hopped in a vehicle to take me to the finish line. As I got there, I realized that I had two choices; I could go back to my hotel, shower and try to accept my inability to accomplish my goal that day, which would have been completely understandable, or, I could stay at the finish line, to be the supporter for my friends and fellow runners that I would want to see after such a grueling race. I knew that inside of me, I had resilience, a passion to see others achieve their goals and a deep-rooted commitment to find goodness in every day, and that was exactly what I tapped into. I cheered, I sang and I even danced a little to celebrate my fellow runners as they crossed the finish line. When the “official time” had passed and the race officials turned off the music and took down the finishers shoot, I knew that I had to become the music and encourage the few spectators that were left to become a human-finishers shoot that welcomed our final runners home. I realized that in life, even when you can’t achieve your goal, you can always be a part in helping others to achieve their goals. We are all in this together!
What is your favorite part about running and traveling?
I love the relationships that I have built with every running adventure, both in meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. Building a tribe of global friends with a shared love of adventure enables you to travel with friends, no matter when or where you go. And since you’re running, it usually involves guilt-free opportunities to dine both before and after you’ve dashed through the finish line! What’s not to love!?!
It doesn’t have to be a race, but what is your favorite place/city to run?
My favorite place to run is anywhere I am catching up with friends. Whether it’s in a race or on a regular, crisp morning run, some of the best conversations I have had were not face to face, but stride by stride, sharing the road with a friend and being a listening ear.
What word would your friends use to describe you?
What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for their first marathon or half-marathon?
The most important advice I learned was actually about what happens after the race. Once you’ve completed your goal, and you will if you stay dedicated, everything doesn’t magically become easier. The key is that when you achieve an endurance goal, you become aware of the deep reserve of power that is within you. Life doesn’t become easier, but you now realize that you have the confidence and persistence to accomplish any goal you set, one step at a time.