Flash forward to 2005. After 10+ years in the video game industry working for Activision on such titles as Zork, Star Trek, Star Wars (the Jedi Knight series), Call of Duty, Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero, I had gained some 30 pounds and had just received really bad cholesterol test results. My doctor sent me to a nutritionist and from there I was told to find an exercise program. Eventually, I decided to start running. What could be easier? Slap on some shoes and out the door you go. Well, after 3 months, I was hooked. I ran my first race on July 4, 2006 right in my hometown of Pacific Palisades CA. After a few more short races and a half-marathon (13.1 miles), I decided to focus my training on the 2007 Los Angeles Marathon.
Let me tell you, that day's journey was the longest of my life. I've survived flight delays, lousy hotels & food and missed trains and boats - the usual for my hero Indiana Jones! But after 25 miles, I was walking and all but ready to quit. However, with only 1.2 miles to go, I knew that if I did give up, I would never complete a marathon in my life. All those months of training would have been a waste. So, I trudged on and even ran the final part. Well, five minutes after finishing, I was the happiest person in the world and hooked on running long distances. Since then, I've run 10 full marathons and 1 ultramarathon. (An ultra is any race over the normal marathon distance of 26.2 miles. The one I did was 50 kms - 31 miles.)
Shortly after completing that first marathon in just over four hours, I heard about the craziest adventure of my (running) life. Apparently, a small number of people had found a way to run a marathon on all 7 continents. I knew that Indy would want me to try this, and in 2007 I said I would do so by the end of 2011.
So far, I have 5 continents in the books with the 6th coming on February 28:
March 2007: North America (Los Angeles), time 4:01:32
April 2008: Asia (Nagano, Japan), 3:23:23
June 2009: Europe (Trømso, Norway), 3:43:23
August 2010: Australia (Adelaide), 3:30:49
October 2010: Africa (Casablanca, Morocco), 3:44:02
And 2 upcoming:
February 28, 2011: Antarctica (King George Island, South Shetland Islands)
TBD 2011: Somewhere in South America
The hardest to achieve is Antarctica because there are really only 3 marathons there per year. (Actually, it's amazing they have even one.) I will run somewhere in South America later this year. Less than 2000 people have ever run a marathon on all 7 continents.
I plan to take lots of pictures and use computers of course to keep everyone up to date. Our cruise ship has satellite internet access, and believe it or not, King George Island has cellular telephone service. So much for going to the remotest part of the planet! Indy would have found that disturbing.
If you have read this far, I hope I have you interested you in this journey. In my next entry, I'll report about packing for this harsh landscape and how I've trained for the race. I'll also talk about the journey itself and what we hope to see of the wildlife.