I may hold a world record. In fact, I may actually be the only person in the world to ever do this. It’s not verified but I don’t see it in Google searches and I can’t see how anyone else would even want to claim this record, so here I go.
My wife and I started walking marathons with Team in Training back in 2005 to check off a bucket list item. After finishing the Mayor’s Marathon in Alaska, I was hooked. Since then, we’ve finished over 30 marathons and 300 half marathons between us. We’re a bit of a niche because for the most part, we walk.
Mind you, we’re not taking it easy. Our best times are in the low to mid-five hour ranges and anyone who walks a 12 minute mile will tell you it’s a challenge to keep up that pace for hours without a bit of training. We’d taken classes with some of the best race walkers in the world and while we’re not nearly fast enough to compete, and we’re not doing the fully legal race walking technique, I’m adhering with rule of ‘one foot contact at all times.’ Back when Pedestrianism was the most watched sport in the world, that was what was required to be considered “walking.” These days, especially for the races we participate in, it’s on the honor system.
The seven continent marathon bucket list item happened after we checked off our second continent at the Rome Marathon in 2008. After that was the Solar Eclipse Marathon in Port Douglas, Australia in 2012, followed by the back to back races on King George’s Island, Antarctica and Punta Arenas, Chile, South America in early 2014. In 2016, we raced the beautiful Victoria Falls Marathon in Zimbabwe, Africa before finishing the Seven with Rock n Roll Chengdu in 2017.
There are two reasons why I think this I have this unofficial record.
1) Very few people actually tell you they intentionally walked a marathon. I personally get a lot of flack for it, but having 4 knee surgeries, I actually enjoy it a lot more and I don’t get injured nearly as often as most runners I know. So walking marathons – or loudly admitting to do so – on all seven continents is likely to be extremely rare.
2) For people who wear the walker badge with honor, many are competitive walkers and if they are fast enough, they aren’t actually doing marathons per se. Longer Racewalk competitive distances are the 20K and 50K, so they would have to convert the time into equivalent 26.2 miles. Also, the pros probably would have a rough time keeping form on the Antarctic course we did. Some of my professional racewalker friends have 50K times under four hours (the equivalent marathon time of 3:10 … walking), but I’m guessing the seven continents part of the record for the pros would be extremely rare.
Basically, I’m the one person in the Venn Diagram of ‘walking’ and ‘seven continent’. Even if I’m NOT the only person to claim to have done it, I’d love to see if my times stack up.
Official Times by fastest race on the continent. (Who am I kidding? ONLY races on most continents).
South America – Punta Arenas 2014 (5:19:02)
North America – Rock n Roll Savannah 2011 (5:19:43)
Asia – Rock n Roll Chengdu 2017 (5:31:56)
Africa – Victoria Falls Marathon 2016 (5:37:49)
Antarctica – White Continent Marathon (6:21:33)
Europe – Rome Marathon (6:24:19)
Australia – Solar Eclipse Marathon 2012 (7:07:30)
Record Holder: [unverified] Ron Carino
Aggregate time: 41:41:52.
Average time: 5:57:42
Time to complete all seven: 4,339 days
First continent, North America (Honolulu Marathon), December 11, 2005
Seventh continent, Asia (RNR Chengdu), October 28, 2017
For perspective, the fastest aggregate marathon time for the Seven was set by Michael Wardian in 2017 with an eye popping average of 2:45 (aggregate 19:22:06). We actually met Michael briefly at during our SA2LV adventure. He’s the real deal.
I just told my wife that my goal was to have an average of sub-6 marathons on all seven continents. I’m pretty sure I could improve on a European or Australia race, but I think for now, I’m happy.
At least I think I’m [unofficially] a world record holder.