Running a marathon is often held up as a truly inspiring feat of endurance, and rightly so. Anyone who is able to finish a 26.2 mile (42.1 km) run has certainly accomplished an impressive feat, even though millions of people now do just that on an annual basis. But for a few truly mad individuals, running a single marathon isn’t enough. Some enjoy running them on the regular, pushing their bodies to the extreme. An even more select group strive to join what is known as the “777 Club,” which is an attempt to run seven marathons on seven continents, in just seven days, something a Chinese father and daughter did recently despite the fact that she had only ever completed a single 10k run in the past.
According to the South China Morning Post, runner Andy Chik Wing-keung was already planning on attempting the grueling World Marathon Challenge, but at the last minute his 13-year old daughter Nicole Chik asked if she could join him. The coronavirus had shutdown her school and she suddenly found herself with some extra time on her hands and no place to channel her energy. Instead of just staying home and sitting in front of the television or playing on her phone, she instead lobbied to join her father, who was delight to have his daughter join him.
Their first marathon took place on Antarctica back on February 6, but it was hardly the balmy weather we’ve seen reported their recently. Temperatures plunged to -25ºC/-13ºF and the winds blew snow and ice as they made their way across the course. The weather was so bad that the plane carrying the runners to the Antarctic nearly didn’t fly, but a last minute substitution got everyone in the air and out on the ice in time. Just 3km in, Nicole was ready to call it quits and went inside a safety tent to take shelter. But after some very encouraging words from other runners, she found the courage to head back out in the poor weather conditions and push through eventually completing the course.
Over the course of the next six days, the duo would go on to run marathons in Cape Town, South Africa; Perth, Australia; Dubai in the UAE; Madrid, Spain; Fortaleza, Brazil, and Miami in the US. Each of those was warmer and more approachable than the Antarctica trudge, but they were all challenging in their own right. Particularly as the mileage continued to roll up. The toll of running back-to-back marathons is quite tough, not to mention the fact that the runners were all constantly on the move, spending extended periods of time on airplanes too.
As mentioned, Nicole had only run about 10km at a single go in the past, so for most of the marathons she would run that distance with her father side-by-side. After that, Andy would run at his own pace, while Nicole would run-walk as much as she could to the finish line. That meant that she didn’t set any speed records, but she was able to finish each course and complete the challenge. On the final day, she even ran 21km (13 miles) before lessening her pace. The other runners in the event provided encouragement and inspiration. Some weren’t able to finish all seven marathons, while others did so with injuries. One even finished the final race on crutches, which gave Nicole the example she needed to push through as well.
This is not only a great story about a father and daughter having a globe spanning adventure together, but also a young runner learning to push through adversity. This is not an easy challenge to take on, particularly at a last-minute lark. Still, she managed to finish and bond a little with good ole’ dad along the way too.