Friday, February 27, 2015

RUNNING ADVENTURER DON KERN Marathons on how many continents on how many days?

My friend, "Marathon Don" Kern, Race Director of Grand Rapids (MI) Marathon, is what I would call a "Running Adventurer".  He has done more marathons (230?) and in more exotic places than anyone I know.  His account of his last adventure is worth the 3 minutes it will take for you to read it.  

OK, I've been away for a while. But what an adventure! After finishing up the Groundhog, it was off to Melbourne, Australia, for the start of the Triple 7 Quest. The goal: run in organized marathons on seven continents in seven days. 

 In 2012, I met Ziyad Rahim on a the Marathon Tours Antarctica Marathon trip. He got excited about setting world records and soon had a few to his credit for running seven continents and the North Pole. I accidentally bumped into him in Boston last year and he told me of the Quest. He and Steve Hibbs were coordinating with local race directors to actually put on marathons so that it was possible to run in official marathons on seven continents in as little as 7 days. Of course, being the former record holder, I knew I'd have to join in.

 But there was some fear. My knees aren't what they used to be. I'm not very fast. But I always tell people, "there's more inside you than you think there is." The schedule came out, and it was crazy. Start on Sunday in Melbourne. Run a marathon, fly overnight to Abu Dhabi, run a marathon. Fly overnight to Paris. Run a marathon, fly to Tunis and run a marathon starting at 1:30 in the morning. (Two marathons in less than 24 hours!) Fly to New York and sleep in a bed for a night. Run a marathon, fly to Punta Arenas at the south end of Chile and run a marathon late afternoon of day 6. Get on a plane early in the morning and fly to King George Island, Antarctica for the final leg. 

 Everything was on schedule. We were on the plane to Antarctica when the weather closed in on King George Island. The pilot turned the plane around, less than 1/2 hour from landing, and we waited in Punta Arenas for 4 days before the next weather window opened up. Finally, we completed the Quest on Thursday. 

 This is a really abbreviated version of the story, but what an adventure. There was a lot to be learned, and a lot to be remembered. Just a couple: 

RECOVERY--When you're doing multi-day events, it's important never to go into debt on nutrition and hydration. Drink and eat! Wear compression tights following the marathon on the way to the next one to help keep your legs fresh. Run slower than you normally would. Take every opportunity to rest in between things.

Don Kern, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Kenneth Williams, @MarathonKoach.

To find all my longer “Tips from @MarathonKoach,” click HERE.

And if you’re interested in stories about running the world’s greatest marathon, check out!

1 comment:

  1. Self Induced Fear?

    Wondering if it was even possible on the legs and ability I possess made it a real challenge, one that contained a certain amount of fear.

    But I signed up for it, didn't I. That happens to a lot of people who sign up for a marathon. That uncertainty is what keeps us motivated. It keeps us training when we'd rather relax.

    Sooner or later, we realize. There really is more strength in us than we knew about. Maybe that's the biggest lesson of all. After 265 marathons, I still need to be reminded of that. Maybe I won't retire just yet. :-)