(Reuters) – From the freezing tundra of Antarctica to the sweltering shores of Miami beach, contestants reached the finish line of a grueling international marathon event this week which saw them complete seven marathons on seven continents within seven days.
The World Marathon Challenge had 52 athletes – 35 men and 12 women – from across the globe complete marathons in Novo, Antarctica; Cape Town, South Africa; Perth, Australia; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Lisbon, Portugal; Cartagena, Colombia and Miami in the United States.
Competitors had to run a total of 183 miles (294 km) and travel approximately 24,000 miles by aircraft in between races. The event began on Jan. 30, with the final finisher crossing the final line 6 days, 11 hours and 34 minutes after the first starting gun rang out.
Irish teacher Gary Thornton won all seven of the races in the men’s category, while American runner Becca Pizzi triumphed in all the races in the women’s category, becoming the first person to win in the event more than once, having also taken the women’s top spot in 2016.
“It was way tougher than I had thought. It was brilliant. The different courses had all different aspects to them, but it was all a mind game, it’s all just about getting through the different stages of the races,” Thornton said, after crossing the finish line at the final race in Miami.
Thornton finished with an average time of 3:12:19, across the seven events, while Pizzi earned an average time of 4:04:41.
The event, which was first held in 2015, costs entrants 36,000 euro ($44,000) to enter.
Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London; Editing by Christian Radnedge