7 Continents: The Highs and Lows

Best Start: Rome

As I waited to start, I was standing right next to the Colosseum and "That's Amore" was blasting over the loud speakers. After spending my junior year of college in Italy, it will always have a special place in my heart. I was just so happy to be back there and sitting in such an amazing historic place waiting to start a race. Although all the men just peeing on the sidewalk instead of waiting for a porta-potty did kill some of the romance.

Worst Start: Antarctica
In the early years of the Antarctica Marathon, runners were allowed inside the Russian base before the race. They brought gifts of fresh produce to the scientists stationed there, and the mostly male scientists were thrilled to have some women to talk to. One downside to the Antarctic Treaty is that it disallowed this practice. Tourists are no longer allowed in the science bases. So we were standing around on the exposed beach, trying to stay warm and dry. The worst part was the "bathroom." The bathroom consisted of a bucket with a seat, placed inside a small tent. The wind was so strong that it kept blowing the tent away, leaving the poor person sitting on the toilet exposed!

This boat was our only shelter

Best Finish: New Zealand

After several big city races, it was really nice to do a small race. Rory was able to see me finish and get to me immediately after I crossed the line. Within minutes I was chilling in an ice pool and eating watermelon.

Worst Finish: Tokyo

I woke up sick on race morning and felt awful from my very first step. Plus by the time I crossed the finish line I'd run almost 28 miles (my coral was a good mile back from the start and I couldn't run the tangents). I felt awful and exhausted and just wanted to be done and collapse in my husband's arms. Instead they made us wind through endless exhibition halls. I kept up this awful shuffle until I passed out. Then they couldn't find an English speaking doctor, but also wouldn't release me until I was seen by a doctor. Once I was finally in a wheelchair, I had to wait for half an hour to get down in the elevator. I finally made it to Rory 2 minutes before he was going to go back to the hotel without me!
I finally made it back to the hotel, where I collapsed in bed

Best Aid Stations: Rome

There were buckets of ice cold sponges at the aid stations. It was a hot day and I was very sweaty and salty and those cold sponges felt like heaven. However, Rome had the grossest porta-potties by far!

Worst Aid Stations: Tokyo

The food along the course was more strange than terrible. Food options included whole tomatoes and bread filled with bean paste. I couldn't figure out how you were supposed to eat a whole tomato while running. The bread option actually sounded good until I took a big bite and found it was filled with bean paste. 

Best Travel Experience: Tokyo

I cashed in all my frequent flier miles and we flew home business class! The multi-course meals, unlimited sake, and lie flat seats made the long flight a pleasure instead of just something to be endured.

Worst Travel Experience: Antarctica

This clothing would not have worked in Antarctica

Our group met in Buenos Aires and then we flew on the Argentinian airline, Aerolineas, down to Ushuaia. Our flight left an hour late and then we made two unscheduled stops along the way! So by the time we finally got to Usuaia, we'd missed all our time to explore the town! That turned out to be the least of our problems. We soon discovered that the unscheduled stops had been to drop off mail. To make some extra money, the airline filled the cargo hold with mail and delivered it for the postal service. In order to make room for the mail, they left all our baggage behind!We were headed to Antarctica and we had no luggage- no coats, no hats, no running stuff! The Marathon Tours staff spring into action, our boat departure was delayed, and we waited anxiously. Thankfully we all got our bags before the boat had to leave!
Best Post Race Meal: Almost all of Them!

I did a lot of good eating around the world! After the Antarctica Marathon, the chef on the boat made a dessert buffet, including a cake shaped like a penguin. I ate so much chocolate! In Chile, we had the traditional Chilean cocktail, pisco sour, and I tried squid ink pasta. In Rome, I gorged myself on a bowl on truffle pasta and a huge gelato. In Tokyo, after many hours of rest, I mustered the energy to go eat a hot bowl of Udon noodles. It was just what my sick tired body wanted! And in Morocco, I had a fresh strawberry juice, a cappuccino, an omelette and some bread. It would almost be worth running another marathon in all these places, just to eat these meals again. 

Worst Post Race Meal: Virginia Beach

After the race, we set off to Norfolk, where I remembered a nice waterfront area with a bunch of restaurants from when I'd been there on a class trip in high school. Unfortunately when we got there, the whole area was completely vacant and boarded up. We drove around and around and it seemed like the whole city was closed! We finally ended up at an IHOP.

What are your best and worst race experiences?


  1. Oh my gosh! That is nuts about them leaving your luggage behind to deliver mail! Who would have imagined!

    I would love to go back to Rome and run there, for the same reasons as you. And since I never ran when I lived there! :) I am so not surprised by the porta potties OR the men peeing. LOL

  2. This was great! But the Tokyo marathon food....ick! I actually have no desire to run there.


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