Marathons on Seven Continents

On a whim, I thought I'd gather photos from at least one marathon on each continent.  (Then I added some of the more memorable marathons (first, highest, and some crazy-weird/fun ones).   I guess I am missing travel and adventures.

My first marathon, the San Francisco Marathon, 1979.  I was 11... and not even the youngest runner.  Only 12 years prior, race officials had tried to pull Kathryn Switzer off the Boston Marathon course because women weren't allowed to run it.  Seems amazing that things changed so fast and almost strange that no one - myself included - seemed to think that my running it was remarkable in any way.  My mom (who never changes much, other than to get more beautiful and more fit with age) is on the left.  I think that this was her third marathon.  (As a coincidental postscript, the youngest runner was only nine and from Texas... but she moved to SF and we were on the same track/cross country teams in high school).

Lots of other local and not-so-local marathons followed: Big Sur, Napa, New York, SF many times....  I've not included those those though and pictured instead some of the more remarkable ones.

Below, I'm pictured doing the Pikes Peak ascent.  I did the full marathon multiple times - from Manitou Springs, CO at 6K' to the peak at 14,334'.  I love that the explorer who named it after himself thought it to be "unsurmountable by man."  Mom's done it lots more times than I have.

The one below is also on the North American continent, but about as far north as you can go.  The Nanisivik Midnight Sun Marathon takes place near the magnetic north pole on the north end of Baffin Island.  Fascinating trip.  The sun literally never sets in the summer, so after the marathon we hiked their "Mt. Fuji" at midnight - in broad daylight.  Pictured with my Mom, of course, who also ran it.

Continent 2:  Europe, London Marathon.  That was quite a trip - beforehand I'd been trekking in the Lakes and Wales with one friend and then on the moors with another.  After the marathon, I made a side trip to Cairo and Luxor to visit another friend.  The course goes through beautiful sites in the city with crowds the whole way, just like New York.  I think that's part of Tower Bridge behind me.

Continent 3:  Africa.  Mom and I did the Knysna (South Africa) marathon together and couldn't resist stopping at an wild elephant preserve sign for photos.  We didn't see any elephants during the run, though.  Runners were way more serious than we were - no one else was stopping for photos.

Continent 4:  Australia.  I took the long way home from South Africa and ran the Cities Marathon, from Sydney to Blacktown.  Sydney is a beautiful city, but the marathon basically went down the equivalent of our El Camino Real, past 26 miles of used car lots.  At least, that's what I remember.   My Mom didn't do this leg of the trip with me, so I have no photos of myself on the run, but I do have a link to their race results with a special note that I was there (only American, likely!)

Continent 5:  South America.  Mom took this picture of me running; I had just flown in from Denise and John's wedding in Yosemite and got up to thick humidity and heat to run through Caracas, upset stomach and all.  The marathon route was marked terribly and I got lost several times.  Mom was on her way back from studying Spanish in Ecuador and went home afterward while I took off for a mountain adventure hiking near Merida, Venezuela.

Continent 6:  Antarctica.  I was on a year-long trip to all seven continents and Mom and Dad suggested meeting me in Buenos Aires and traveling to Antarctica together to run this - the first sporting event ever on the continent.  The organizers called it "The Last Marathon" because it was the last continent to have one.  It was bizarre, but in a good way.  Two days on an icebreaker ship just to get across the Drake Passage, the roughest sea crossing in the world.  I was nauseous the whole time. I hadn't done any real running to train, though I had been trekking everywhere: the Alps, Kilimanjaro, the Himalayas, and New Zealand.  This was a hard course through different military bases and with two loops across a glacier.  Afterward, we were invited to a dance before we took zodiacs back to the ship.  (I also took an insane swim in Antarctic water when I was there... because, well, why not?)

Continent 7:  Asia and the Beijing International Marathon.  It was cool, starting at the Forbidden City and then going around the city.  People would shout what sounded like, "Jai Ro!" which meant, "put some gas in it!"  I shouted the same thing the next day when I visited the Great Wall of China with Krista and David and then slid off of it in a crazy-long luge back down to the parking lot.

This marathon made me among the first people to complete a marathon on every continent... and perhaps the first woman to do so.  (There are sites that track these things, but they charge for membership, which I find objectionable and thus am not a part of.)

One last fun one:  Mom and I also did the Easter Island Marathon, with both of us placing first in our age categories and fourth and eighth woman overall.  There weren't a lot of people doing it!  I remember cheering the first woman, second woman, and third woman... and then realizing that I was at the turnaround point and must be the fourth woman.  Must travel very far to find so few fast runners.  :-)  But Easter Island is an incredible place to visit.  

(Fun note:  the next day, Mom did a mountain bike race.  Not I!  While she was doing that Dad and I went to a Mass that was memorable because it was bilingual - in Spanish and Rapanui.)  Afterward, Dad flew home while Mom and I trekked in Bolivia.

It's also a great photo because while I *may* be the first woman to run a marathon on every continent, Mom and I are almost certainly the first mother/daughter team to run marathons on every continent.

(The order is not consecutive as listed above.  I think it was:  North America, Antarctica, Europe, South America, Africa, Australia, Asia.  I'd have to double check to be sure: South America *could* have come before Europe.   But marathons on seven continents were complete by 1998 at the latest. Easter Island and others followed.)

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