World Marathon Challenge 2023

One World; Seven Marathons

It's that feeling of being half dead yet never more alive that brings them back

If you thought running a marathon was tough, how about running seven seven days...on seven continents! Welcome to the crazy world of the World Marathon Challenge that started in Antarctica on Tuesday 31 January and finished in North America on Monday 6 February 2023.

The mind-boggling itinerary in full reads: 31 January – Novo, Antarctica; 1 February – Cape Town, Africa; 2 February – Perth, Australia; 3 February – Dubai, Asia; 4 February – Madrid, Europe; 5 February – Brazil, South America; 6 February – Miami, North America. 

The exact start times of each race are determined by travel issues but the overall time limit of seven days (168 hours) applies to all contestants and the clock starts ticking as they set off for eight loops of the perimeter of the ice runway at Novo airfield, Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.

This year's World Marathon Challenge – the first since 2020 – saw 49 competitors enter with some opting for the half marathon race distance that still requires a huge physical effort and the same logistical challenge.

The individual winners of the World Marathon Challenge were both Americans. David Kilgore won all seven men's races. His slowest (3:23:17) was in Antarctica and his remaining six runs were all below three hours. The women's category was led by Deirdre Keane (USA) for three races until her USA compatriot Julie Uychiat took the lead in Dubai and never looked back.

Among the finishers of the event in Miami was the oldest competitor, Dan Little (USA), who is 80 years old. Immediately after crossing the final finish line, he explained his reasons for returning to the event having completed the challenge in 2019: "The same thing that inspires me to come back again is the feeling of being half dead and never more alive at the same time. So, I'll be back". You can share Dan's joy at finishing in this short video clip..

Another remarkable finisher was Britain's Darren Edwards – the first handcycle athlete to ever complete the challenge – raising almost £50,000 for the British Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team. Darren included a PB 2:23 in Dubai in his whirlwind itinerary.

Also raising a huge sum for good causes and taking the 7-7-7 theme one step further was British endurance athlete and adventurer Sally Orange – the fifth British woman and first female military veteran to complete the World Marathon Challenge – who was running for seven charities: The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE); The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA); Marathon Kids UK; Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team (AFPST); Ripple Suicide Prevention; Walking with the Wounded and Scotty's Little Soldiers.

Full event information and results at the World Marathon Challenge website.

Image courtesy World Marathon Challenge on Facebook

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