Back in March, I stumbled across a contest from the company Without Walls, which combined two of my favorite things: travel and running. (While I don’t do either activity as much as I’d like, I’ve been trying to be more disciplined about my running and more ambitious about my travel plans this year. Except for my post-surgery hibernation, I've been off to a pretty good start.) The giveaway was right up my alley – 10 days touring China, with the Great Wall Marathon as the grand finale – how cool is that?
I’m sure there were TONS of entries on the site, and lo and behold I wasn’t selected. But despite the disappointment, the process of entering got me thinking about an old goal I’d laid out years ago (and since forgotten about) - running a marathon on every continent.
I first started flirting with what I've dubbed the "run the world" idea after completing my first marathon (Detroit, 2010) and reminiscing about a college study abroad trip. Researching the Rome Marathon got me hooked on the concept, and I was off to the races, obsessing about marathons around the world and the adventurous people who run them.
Why combine travel + running?
While I couldn't stand it in my younger years, I've really grown to love running. Whether it's in a park, on a trail, or on the familiar sidewalks of my neighborhood, running has served me well as both a form of exercise and a way to decompress. After moving to San Francisco (and spending the first months running the City's neighborhoods and hills, and later the SF Marathon) I realized that running around town is also a great way to explore and experience a new city.
My renewed interest in globe trotting (get it?) and an upcoming trip to Australia offers the perfect chance to knock out a marathon in a new part of the world. I’m visiting my running partner from SF who lived in Perth now, and we started searching for opportunities to run down under as soon as we began planning my visit. It just so happens that the Perth Marathon falls squarely within the dates of my trip.
That being said, there are a few interesting challenges ahead. First of all, in March I wiped out snowboarding, broke my wrist in four places, and have been out of the running game for a while. It also happens that the event is only one month away and my training has yet to really begin...
Regardless, I registered today (shout out to the USD -> AUD exchange rate), so the purchase (plus putting this on the internet) makes it official! I'm not running for a goal time (the goal is to finish, and that may be hard enough), but I'll be documenting my last ditch attempts at training and photos of the race, if I'm not wheezing too hard to snap a pic or two. Feel free to follow along, tell me I'm insane, wish me luck, or offer some training tips - I'm gonna need 'em.
A quick disclaimer:
While I often question my status as a "runner", I have finished two marathons and have a fairly solid base level of fitness. I ride my bike to work every day, and until my tumble down a mountain, I was running on a weekly basis at the very least. This impulsive (some would say ill-advised) adventure I'm attempting is not meant to be a "couch to marathon" crash course or training plan - nor is it intended to serve as an example or guide of any sort. Rather, this is just my hail mary attempt to prep for (and hopefully finish!) my first international marathon. Here's hoping it works.
Bridge over the Huron River | Gallup Park in Ann Arbor, Michigan
San Francisco Marathon start at the Ferry Building (2013)
SF Marathon race course over the Golden Gate Bridge (2013)