Running Rio and into The 7-Continents Club

Yesterday my wife Baiba and I ran the Rio de Janeiro marathon (26 miles/42 kilometers) and we are now officially in the 7-Continents Marathon Club. Interestingly, fewer people (338) have run marathons on all seven continents than have gone into space (499), or reached the top of Mt. Everest (2,249). I’m not sure which of these three groups is crazier. Here’s my story and it’s all about PUSH.

The Rio marathon was a beautiful course along the ocean, but very tough due to heat, humidity, and hills. The important thing was to finish and get into the 7-Continents Club, not to run a fast time, so I just cruised along.

Then at the halfway mark a quick calculation told me I might be able to finish in just under 4 hours (a lot slower than my best time of 2 hours, 43 minutes, but those days are over). Suddenly I had a new goal, but it could only be achieved by maintaining my current pace. Even a second slower per mile and I’d finish in over 4 hours.

No sooner had I set the goal, when along came big hills and windy sections and I was losing 15 to 30 seconds a mile. To make up for it, I had to run faster on the downhills, with the risk of pulling a leg muscle and blowing any chance of making it to the finish line and into the Club.

I just kept pushing and with 6 miles (10km) to go, it looked like an under 4-hour finish was still possible, but not easy, because at that point in a marathon all your energy reserves are gone and you “hit the wall.” It’s why cycling champion Lance Armstrong said running a marathon was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

It became a fight between mind and body. My legs kept saying, “This is agony. Slow down you idiot. Who cares if you finish in 3:59 or 4:01?” My mind countered with, “You’ll regret it if your finishing time is 4-something, and if you’d just pushed harder it could have been 3-something.”

My mind won the argument, I threw caution to the wind, pushed as hard as I could, passed hundreds of other runners who were limping or walking, and crossed the finish line in 3:59:56 – 4 seconds under 4 hours. Whew! Then I puked.

Apparently, running coaches used to have a bucket handy during practice and they would tell the runners, “If you don’t puke in the bucket, you haven’t pushed yourself hard enough.” Push is a big key to success at anything in life, including running all seven continents, and I guess I pushed hard enough yesterday.

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Info on 7-Continents Marathon Clubs.
sevencontinentsclub.com
icemarathon.com

25 thoughts on “Running Rio and into The 7-Continents Club

  1. Congratulations on a amazing accomplishment. I would have thought the list for 7 continent runners would have been much longer. Anyway, just wondering, races have you done on each continent. I’m necessarily looking for the whole list, obviously some continents have only 1 or 2 races, those are the ones I was interested in.

  2. Congratulations on a amazing accomplishment. I would have thought the list for 7 continent runners would have been much longer. Anyway, just wondering, races have you done on each continent. I’m necessarily looking for the whole list, obviously some continents have only 1 or 2 races, those are the ones I was interested in.

  3. Yes, I also thought it would be a longer list. I just increased the count based on another 7-Continents Club I found, and added links to their websites. I ran Antarctica with Marathon Tours, and the seas were so rough we couldn’t get to shore, so we sailed 200 miles further south and ended up running the entire marathon on the boat. But that’s another story. Here’s the list:
    1. North America – Ottawa – 2:43:55
    2. Europe – Prague – 3:23:48
    3. Asia – Singapore – 4:10:00
    4. Oceania – New Zealand, Millenium, first marathon of new century 2000 – 3:24:09
    5. Africa – Kenya, Safaricom – 4:13:30
    6. Antarctica – Antarctica Marathon (on boat) – 4:55:00
    7. South America Rio de Janeiro 3:59:56

  4. Yes, I also thought it would be a longer list. I just increased the count based on another 7-Continents Club I found, and added links to their websites. I ran Antarctica with Marathon Tours, and the seas were so rough we couldn’t get to shore, so we sailed 200 miles further south and ended up running the entire marathon on the boat. But that’s another story. Here’s the list:
    1. North America – Ottawa – 2:43:55
    2. Europe – Prague – 3:23:48
    3. Asia – Singapore – 4:10:00
    4. Oceania – New Zealand, Millenium, first marathon of new century 2000 – 3:24:09
    5. Africa – Kenya, Safaricom – 4:13:30
    6. Antarctica – Antarctica Marathon (on boat) – 4:55:00
    7. South America Rio de Janeiro 3:59:56

  5. Congratulations.
    OK enough of this sissy stuff. It’s time you started training for an ironman! Being a bluenoser, the 4 km swim should be easy. And since you ride a heavy mountain bike switching to a lightweight road bike is another no brainer. The running you have done for the last 35 (?) years. The whole ironman race should be a piece-of-cake!

    fokke

  6. Congratulations.
    OK enough of this sissy stuff. It’s time you started training for an ironman! Being a bluenoser, the 4 km swim should be easy. And since you ride a heavy mountain bike switching to a lightweight road bike is another no brainer. The running you have done for the last 35 (?) years. The whole ironman race should be a piece-of-cake!

    fokke

  7. Wonderful, whatever the goal, it is wonderful to complete it, and you guys did it. Courage, Passion, Commitment, Vision, and Belief are the ingredients. and you have them all.

  8. Wonderful, whatever the goal, it is wonderful to complete it, and you guys did it. Courage, Passion, Commitment, Vision, and Belief are the ingredients. and you have them all.

  9. Fantastic. You and Baiba are such an inspiration. I love that you describe your accomplishments so clearly – that it’s about life and what is possible. it’s very special to Peter and I to share your experiences through your book, through our personal contact and your blogging.

    Thanks Richard for sharing it all with other people – that is a gift for all of us.

    Keep on keeping on.

    Joan

  10. Fantastic. You and Baiba are such an inspiration. I love that you describe your accomplishments so clearly – that it’s about life and what is possible. it’s very special to Peter and I to share your experiences through your book, through our personal contact and your blogging.

    Thanks Richard for sharing it all with other people – that is a gift for all of us.

    Keep on keeping on.

    Joan

  11. There may be 338 individuals who’ve done this but I wonder how many couples have done it? Huge congratulations to both of you!!!

  12. There may be 338 individuals who’ve done this but I wonder how many couples have done it? Huge congratulations to both of you!!!

  13. amazing, always knew you 2 were fit, congratulations, your both living works of art.
    susan woolfenden hamilton

  14. If I knew you’d be in Rio I would run the marathon just for having the pleasure of meeting you in person!

    You’re such an inpiration for me and I love to spread your message to all my friends.

    Here in Brazil it’s hard to start your own company coz we don’t have that “build-a-company-in-your-dorm” culture but after I saw your presentation everyday of my life is being dedicated into having a happy life doing what I like doing and maybe be successful at it!

    Thanks or like we say in portuguese: Muito obrigado!

  15. Muito obrigado Thiago! Maybe next year we can run Rio together. Right now I’m recovering from the Ottawa marathon that I ran last weekend. Richard

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