For most of us, simply completing a marathon is a huge accomplishment. Then there are the extra ambitious ones that aren’t content with just 26.2 miles and need an ultra marathon to take things up to another level. And then there’s Gareth Evans and the World Marathon Challenge that begins on January 30th. Gareth, and the other 54 runners who are part of the challenge, will run marathons on all seven continents in just seven days. So by the time he reaches the finish line in Miami he’ll have already completed marathons in Antarctica, Cape Town, Perth, Dubai, Lisbon, and Cartagena.
When Gareth reached out about wanting to use PR Lotion, knowing he would need as much help as he could get throughout the week, we concurred, and took the opportunity to find out what has led him to take on such a seemingly over-the-top challenge?
What’s your background as an athlete?
I started playing cricket and rugby in England while at boarding school, but after a concussion I had to sit it out. Then just out of high school I ran London Marathon, then went on to run New York Marathon, which I’ve done 12 or 13 times to raise money for different charities. People got tired of seeing the same emails from me asking for money so a friend sent me a link to the Antarctic Ice Marathon and I had to try it.
Seven marathons over seven days on seven continents. How does that even work?
We start in Antarctica to be sure weather doesn’t affect the schedule. We’ll start the marathon there when we are sure the plane can fly out. The run will be on the on the airplane runway, right on the coast and the temperatures will be in the teens or 20s, so really not that bad. We have eight hours allocated to finish, then we pack up and fly to Cape Town. That run could be in middle of the night. Then to Perth. I’m hoping we land in the evening and run in the night because it’s summer and can be hot. We’ll be in Perth less than 12 hours. Wash, rinse, repeat. You get with that many people and there’s a lot of camaraderie and once people finish they go out and help those that are suffering.
So, the only recovery time you get between marathons is essentially spent in the air?
Yes. I hope I sleep! It’s generally mixed how well I sleep on a plane. The first couple I’ll probably be running on adrenaline, so sleep will be stunted, but by the middle I’m sure I’ll be so exhausted that sleep should come easy. The planes have flat bed seats, so we’re not exactly roughing it. I’ll also have a pair of the Normatec inflatable recovery boots and PR Lotion to help between marathons.
How do you even begin to prepare for something like this?
It’s probably going to be my biggest challenge yet physically and mentally. I’m paying a lot of money to endure a lot of pain! I’ve got a full time job and am just a 48-year-old that likes to stay in shape. My body knows how to run a marathon, it’s about training your mind more than anything. I’m fit enough, it’s a matter of intra-race recovery to handle what will be about 40 hours of total running.
Looking beyond the World Marathon Challenge, what comes next?
I’m planning to do the Volcano Marathon in Chile’s Atacama Desert. It’s at an altitude of nearly 15,000 feet and everyone says it’s the hardest marathon out there. I would also love to do the Leadville 100 Trail run in Colorado. Knock on wood that my joints hang in there!