Chau Smith has done something no one has done since 2008, run seven different marathons in seven different continents. Did we mention Smith is 70 years old? Smith took time off running her dry-cleaning business in Independence, Mo. to accomplish this amazing feat.
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From Jan. 25 to Jan. 31 Smith took part in what she called the Triple 7 Quest, a quest that was made possible by travel company Marathon Adventures, and was created specifically for Smith. The events would take place in Perth, Australia; Singapore, Cairo, Amsterdam, Garden City, NY; and Punta Arenas, Chile before ending in King George Island, Antarctica.
But how does one train for such an intense journey? Rigorous training, that’s how. “It took me eight months to really train,” Smith told CNN. “The last four months, I really put in long, long runs. Every week, I ran from 15 miles to 130 miles.”
The 70-year-old ran over 180 miles in under seven days. Smith ran alongside nine other companions and overcame a few obstacles along the way. She explained that the most challenging obstacle in her seven-race journey was in Cairo after her group’s flight was delayed and almost destroying her Triple 7 Quest goal.
“We have 10 minutes to go up to our rooms to change and don’t unpack,” Smith said. “The key wasn’t working for my room. I almost used up my 10 minutes. I was crying.”
To ease her mind, the owner of the travel group, Steve Hibbs, encouraged her to only run a half-marathon and save herself for the next event. She adamantly refused and completed the race in five hours and 51 minutes. “From that day on, they never asked me about thinking about running a half-marathon again,” Smith said.
Her hardships were far from over, though. In Australia, Smith was running in the midst of the summer heat and was severely sunburned, but still, she prevailed.
The modest Smith didn’t want the fame and cameras on her as she was doing this for her own personal reasons, so she didn’t inform the press until she was done with her marathons. Her passion for running is almost infectious. “We never go someplace without looking for the race,” Smith said of herself and her friends.
Hibbs commended Smith on her feat and explained it takes a special person to be able to make this journey. “It’s really about challenging both the body and the mind’s upper limits,” he said. “What can you handle? What upper threshold can you push past?”
Smith doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon either. She told the New York Press she is already looking forward to Triple 8 Quest.