Meriem discovered running two years ago when she moved to The Netherlands. She had practiced and competed in several sports since childhood, but with no previous endurance background she had to gradually build up her miles, competing in a few 5K, 10K, and half-marathons in the first year of training. A year ago she decided she wanted to share the incredible experience of the World Marathon Challenge with er husband Arno for their honeymoon! Since that time, and with his guidance, she worked towards her first marathon which took place in Rotterdam in April 2018. In October she completed a second marathon. Since then, Meriem has spent many hours running, learning to enjoy the surroundings, and adding kms to her legs while staying free of injuries. She says she has no big achievements in running, but is what her husband calls a "training champion." Meriem, who grew up in the Moroccan and Spanish cultures of her parents, is determined to complete this Challenge while enjoying the unique experience.
Sara has run numerous marathons, including Berlin and the Great Wall in China. The busy attorney enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, snowboarding and adventure, with her greatest challenge being to balance her life professionally and personally. Sara, who is a mother of two, supports the Dementia Discovery Fund.
Matt is from sunny San Diego where he currently has a demanding yet rewarding job in the biopharmaceutical industry developing drugs for rare diseases. Over the last 12 years he has dabbled in endurance races, mostly participating in local triathlons and marathons. Every few years he combines his interest in endurance races with his passion for international travel. Past adventures include IronMan South Africa and the Jungle Marathon, a 7-day foot race through the Amazon. Matt is looking forward to running all seven continents and then getting back to a normal schedule to have more time for family, friends and the piano.
Jun has over 28 years of mountaineering experience, including three journeys to the North and South poles, and a summit of Mount Everest in 2013. In 2014, he began running marathons. Since then he has completed more than 30 marathons, a 500km ultra, and 400 km on two occasions. Jun is the CEO of Huada Sports, Vice Chairman of Guangzhou Extreme Mountaineering Association, Executive Vice President of Shenzhen Mountaineering Outdoor Sports Association, and President of Shenzhen Public Welfare Rescue Volunteers Association. During his time at University, he joined the Peking University Eagle Society and served as the second president. In 1990, he climbed the Mt. Yuzhufeng in Qinghai Province, China and in 1998, he served as the captain of the Peking University's 100-year-old celebration of Zhuo'ao Youfeng Climbing Team.
Heather has completed marathons on four continents - North America, South America, Europe, and Antarctica -, and at the North Pole. She loves trail running and plans to run her first 50-mile ultramarathon in June of 2019 in the Black Hills of South Dakota, her home state. Heather also has a stellar reputation for making the World Marathon Challenge Race Director, Richard Donovan, suffer immensely via her route planning for his transcontinental runs.
Linda is a 56-year-old who lives in Pinehurst, NC. She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 14 years old. She has run most of her life, starting with her first half marathon in 1995. To date, she has run 54 half marathons, 43 full marathons, one 50k and one 50 miler – running the 50 mile race the month she turned 50! Linda completed the World Marathon Majors in 2015 when she finished the Tokyo Marathon. Linda’s next two challenges include running a marathon in all 50 states and completing the World Marathon Challenge!
Emma is a multisport athlete whose sporting life is composed of many challenges. She loves extreme and unusual activities that push her beyond her limits. Since the age of five, she has been riding motorcycles, twice becoming the quad Women’s World Champion of Cross Country Baja. Emma recently has started a five summits challenge, summitting Kilimanjaro, Mont-Blanc, and Aconcagua to date. She finished the New York Marathon in 2016 and the 2018 North Pole Marathon despite being injured. Emma is driven by Mohammad Ali’s quote, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”. Taking part in the World Marathon Challenge combines all that Emma loves: Travel - Sport – and a Unique Challenge.
Kevin started running two years ago after a five year hiatus. After two months of running two or three miles a couple of times a week, Kevin moved from his home state of California to Florida and set a goal to run 3455 miles in 18 months - the exact distance from his home in San Francisco to Miami. He started racing again with his first marathon in Amsterdam in October 2017: Eight marathons and eight half-marathons later he branched out to run ultramarathons, including San Francisco, Zermatt, Keys100, Daytona100, and Rio Del Lago 100. He now looks to complete his 3455th mile at mile 26 in Miami at the conclusion of the World Marathon Challenge and bring attention and support to a cause near and dear to his heart, Charlize Theron's Africa Outreach Project (https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/charlize-theron-africa-outreach-project1/kevin-cochrane)
Mark is a lifelong runner who enjoys the many competitive, social and learning opportunities that come from combining travel with running. He has completed 75 marathons over the 7 continents, each providing its own enlightening exploration of the World. These journeys have provided many different and often unexpected perspectives that would otherwise have been inaccessible. Over the course of his running, Mark won a few individual marathons and some multi-day, multi-marathon events while also managing to crash and burn on some. Each race has been a learning experience. After completing the ‘Donovan Marathon Trinity’ (Antarctic Ice Marathon 2012, North Pole Marathon 2014, Volcano Marathon 2015), Mark was hooked on the idea of the World Marathon Challenge when Richard suggested “it is the next level”. Mark looks forward to attempting the challenge of the “next level”.
Michael is a relative newbie to running. Running his first marathon in February 2016, he had insisted that he would do just one marathon to “check it off the bucket list” and be done. Fast forward to present day and he is still running. Michael has completed only three marathons in his lifetime, so the World Marathon Challenge will more than triple his marathon accomplishments in just one week! His motto will be “slow and steady.” He serves on several non-profit boards, including Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY), an organization serving the needs of foster children, and he also serves on the Operations Board for Canyon Ridge Christian Church. He is running the WMC to raise money for Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada. You can learn more by going to https://jasnv.org/michaelcrome/. He is supported by his wife, Chaka Crome, and daughter Brie who have both been a part of the journey as he trains and prepares. He considers it an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to participate in such an amazing adventure.
David, who describes himself as a failed 800m runner who got old, has completed three ultra-marathons; Gobi in 2008, Ecuador in 2015, and Argentina 2017. However, he has devoted the last year to unusual marathons in odd corners of the world, including Afghanistan, Somaliland, Iraq, Bordeux and the North Pole Marathon where he finished third. Having completed 6 marathons in the last year, David figured the only way to top that seemed to be to do 7 in 7 days...
Stéphanie is a French athlete, author, speaker and entrepreneur. A long-distance runner, she has won several races, including the 24-Hour French Championship in late 2018. Also a polar passionate and explorer, she notably achieved a long distance 74-day expedition across Antarctica through the South Pole over 2,000 kilometers in 2014. Stéphanie is raising funds for the charity Association Petits Princes. Stéphanie blogs at www.stephaniegicquel.com and recently published her second book, On naît tous aventurier."
Jérémie has completed numerous half-marathons, marathons and trail runs, including the 2013 North Pole Marathon. He also enjoys triathlons, ski mountaineering, cross-country skiing, nordic skiing, long hiking trips and challenging his limits both physically and mentally. In 2014, Jérémie completed a 74-day Trans Antarctica crossing with his wife Stephanie, who is also taking part in the 2019 World Marathon Challenge.
Susannah ran her first marathon 10 years ago and has since run over 40, including 10 London Marathons with a fastest time of 2 hours 58 minutes and a Guinness World Record for the fastest woman dressed as an animal (completed in a time of 3 hours 18 minutes as a peacock, which was beaten a few years later by a tortoise). Susannah, who is 34 years old, has also taken on a number of ultra-marathons, including 100km, 100 mile and 24-hour races. Her favourite races to date have been the 100km Pharaonic Race around Cairo in 2012 where she was 1st woman and third overall, along with a 100km race from Henley to Putney. It has long been a dream of Susannah’s to take on the 777 Challenge and she will be raising money for SportsAid, a charity which supports young athletes who are aiming to be Great Britain’s next generation of sporting heroes: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/susannah-gill-777. Susannah enjoys runs on the streets of London and in the hills of Shropshire, England.
Mark started running at forty years of age, exactly 10 years ago, and only because another World Marathon Challenge runner, Chris Jonns, signed him up for the NYC Marathon against his will. Mark has since completed 7 marathons, 2 fifty-mile trail runs, three Ironman triathlons and the Atacama Crossing, a 150 mile self-supported desert race. Mark lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife and three sons.
Luke is a global adventurer and adrenalin junkie who likes to raise money for charity with each marathon he runs. Recently returning to the sport after an injury, he has completed 5 marathons, including two New York Marathons, countless half marathons, and the Sydney Coast Trekking Challenge (60km). He looks forward to expanding the international marathon list. In 2016, Luke joined the Virgin Strive Challenge and climbed the Summit of Mont Blanc in 2018.
Chris runs to balance his mind and body, to travel, and above all to benefit others through fundraising. He has completed over 10 NYC Marathons, and set a PR of 3.29 to beat fellow WMC competitor, Peter McGarry, in a head to head bet. To date, this is Chris’s greatest sporting achievement! In 2006 to honor his father Allan, who died of brain cancer, Chris was part of a team that raised 50k for Sloan Kettering as they ran, walked, and crawled the North Pole Marathon. In 2014 Chris completed the Atacama Crossing, a 250km self-supported ultramarathon across some of the driest terrain on earth, all while raising 50k for The Brain Tumour Trust. Running marathons has taken Chris around the globe most notably to the Kilimanjaro Marathon, Reggae Marathon, Mont Blanc Marathon, and the Marathon du Medoc where he learned he was quite good at simultaneously drinking wine and running. For the World Marathon Challenge, Chris will be raising funds and awareness for The Teenage Cancer Trust whilst hopefully completing what he now considers his biggest challenge.
Julie has run 35 marathons all over the world including Great Wall of China, Easter Island and King George Island. However, she considers that raising two boys while working full time in the health care field has been her most rewarding and most difficult adventure. Now that they have successfully moved out of the house, Julie continues to look for new and challenging adventures and the World Marathon Challenge fit that mold. Julie has hiked Mount Kilimanjaro and completed a handful of triathlons including a 70.3. She is also currently working on completing the World Marathons Majors with a long term goal of finishing a marathon in all 50 states. The World Marathon Challenge is going to test her limits like nothing before.
Gloria has run over 25 marathons and is a member of The 7 Continents Marathon Club and Grand Slam Club, having completed marathons on all 7 continents and the North Pole. The 68-year-old took up running eleven years ago after being advised to perform weight-bearing exercises following a diagnosis of low bone density. She has since completed five of the six Marathon Majors - Berlin, Chicago, London, New York and Tokyo - as well as more unconventional races like the Antarctic Ice Marathon, Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon, Great Wall of China Marathon and the North Pole Marathon. She has decided to challenge herself to run the continents again, this time in 7 days, and will use the opportunity to raise funds to help end human trafficking.
Dan has completed 200 marathons and ultramarathons but describes himself as the classic tortoise who hopes to finish as the oldest and probably the slowest 7-7-7 runner ever. The 76-year-old is the father of three brilliant and beautiful daughters who have blessed him with 3 great sons-in-law and nine wonderful grandchildren. Growing up on a ranch near the small town of Madill, Oklahoma, Dan was educated at Thomas Jefferson Preparatory School in St. Louis, Mo, Harvard University and the University of Oklahoma College of Law and is still practicing Law and operating different businesses. Dan has been involved in Oklahoma education as a Regent at the University of Oklahoma and the first and only Chairman of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics for 33 years.
Fei is the Founding Partner of Shenzhen Songhe Capital, the Founder of Shenzhen Songhe Growth and Care Foundation, and EMBA of Guanghua Business School of Peking University. He completed his first marathon in 2013, quickly undertaking the goal of completing the World Marathon Majors which he accomplished from November 2015 to April 2017. He recently climbed to 5,900 meters at Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.
Kristina is an elite endurance runner who has represented Denmark on the national trail team and the long-distance mountain team. The 33-year-old is a former boxer who started her running career in 2008. She became a professional runner in 2016 after winning the 2015 Volcano Marathon and the Jungle Ultra, a 230km self-supported multi stage race in the Amazon Jungle. Kristina holds the world record for fastest climb on Kilimanjaro and just recently won the Desert Ultra 250km beating the course record by 10 hours. Her goal is to beat the fastest average time on the World Marathon Challenge. You can check out her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kristinaextremerunning.
Peter has completed dozens of marathons, slowly, including Mont Blanc, Marathon des Sables, Paris & NY. Having also completed the North Pole Marathon in 2006 in a time it would take to fly around the world, he thinks this event should pose a true challenge! Peter has wanted to do marathons on 7 continents ever since reading about Sir Ranulph Fiennes attempting it in 2003. Now living in Switzerland, this Irishman’s recent highlights have been climbing the Matterhorn, running up the Empire State building and sharing earphones, while running, to convert local kids in the foothills of Kilimanjaro to his eclectic music tastes. He considers his greatest sporting achievement to date as running the entire Jamaica Marathon in fake dreadlocks!
Djalma, 62, is a mining engineer from Brazil. He believes that sports transform, inspire and motivate people and he has completed 9 marathons to date, becoming time-qualified for the Boston Marathon. Djalma participated in the 2017 Antarctic Ice Marathon, crossing the final line in tenth place among the men's runners. Four months later he ran the 2018 North Pole Marathon, thus becoming the first Brazilian and South American over 60 years of age to complete both the southernmost and northernmost marathons on earth. He thanks Richard Donovan for making this dream come true. Djalma would like to use his participation in the World Marathon Challenge to honor the Brazilian flag and all organ donors and their families and make society aware of the greatness of the act of organ donation. Djalma hopes to complete the 2019 World Marathon Challenge, thus joining the Intercontinental Marathon Club, The 7 Continents Marathon Club and The Marathon Grand Slam Club.
Greg loves completing endurance challenges to showcase the issues students around the world face to attain a quality education. He has solo climbed Mont Blanc, swam across the Nile River, and run many of the most demanding footraces on the planet. Among them, he has run 250Kkm through the Gobi Desert, 200km atop the Malaysian highlands, 162KM through the Philippine jungle, and 250KM across Chile's Atacama Desert. Greg is sponsored by Wentworth Management Services and Brooks Running. He was named the "12 Ambassador" to the Seattle Seahawks where his ultra-marathon running has appeared in TV commercials for Delta Air Lines. When he's not running, Greg works as CEO of Dyad.com, a mentorship platform that has helped students earn over $27 million in university scholarships, and the Chairman of Moneythink, an NGO providing 15,000 low-income teens in 30 communities with financial capability mentorship to boost college success.
João loves long distances and challenges, completing the North Pole Marathon and Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2017. In 2018 he completed the World Marathon Majors with a finish at the Boston Marathon. To date, Joao has completed 21 Marathons on 5 Continents plus the North Pole. On February 6th he hopes to complete the World Marathon Challenge and become a member of the Intercontinental Marathon Club, the Grand Slam Club. After that, he will run the Everest Marathon in May 2019. For the WMC, Joao is fund-raising to promote awareness of and raise funds for a campaign that helps children with cancer treatment. Joao works at a telecommunications company and started running seven years ago.
Mikkel is a marathoner, ultramarathoner and triathlete who is travelling to the World Marathon Challenge with his partner Sasie. He grew up playing all kinds of sports and started running 10 Km to half marathon and full marathons 12 years ago. He later transitioned to triathlons, but got tired of all the Swim/Bike/Run intensive training and took to ultramarathon running and trail running. He has completed events such as Challenge Copenhagen (Ironman distance), the Comrades ‘uphill’ ultramarathon (88 Km), the Hong Kong 100km and is a member of The 7 Continents Marathon Club and The Marathon Grand Slam Club.
Luke is an Irish-Portuguese entrepreneur and founder of Student.com who is based out of Dubai. He travels for business as much as an average airline crew and has been an addicted ultra runner for about 10 years, completing the Gobi March, UTMB, Hong Kong TrailWalker, Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset and a number of other crazy races as well as having climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
Shirley is excited to run WMC and raise awareness and funds for the Orthopaedic Institute for Children (ortho-institute.org) (oic.convio.net/777) in Los Angeles, a non-profit that provides care, regardless of ability to pay, for children with musculoskeletal disorders. She has finished 16 marathons and numerous half marathons in the seven years since she started running. She counts the Chicago and Vancouver marathons as her favorite races this far. Shirley recently earned her PhD in Education from USC and when she is not running she can be found hiking and scuba diving in far off places, all the while working on her photography skills. WMC will be by far her most challenging race to date. Upon completion, Shirley aims to train for an ultra marathon, an Ironman, climb Kilimanjaro and continue to run and raise money for charitable causes for as long as her legs can carry her. Shirley is proudest to be mom to her daughters, Isabel and Claire.
Aimin has completed the World Marathon Majors and his marathon personal best is 2 hours 54 minutes. He is the Chairman of Shenzhen Dandelion Advertising Co., Ltd., and a graduate of EMBA of Peking University HSBC Business School. Aimin served as the captain of various teams for the Peking University and enjoys reading and travel in addition to being a sports enthusiast.
Linda’s athletic career, spanning over 30 years, has taken her on many journeys. She started running at the age of 35 finishing the Los Angeles Marathon and continued on with many others. At the age of 45 she ventured into the Ironman world where she stayed for 8 years racing many Olympic, Half and Full distance triathlons. She participated in all World Championship distances qualifying for Kona at the Lanzarote Ironman. After Kona, Linda decided to seek new adventures and became the first American woman and oldest person to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam in one year. She has many ultra marathons under her belt including the Javalina, Keys 100, Brazil 135, Badwater 135 and UTMB to name a few. Running the World Marathon Challenge will be her ‘swan song’ out of the competitive world. She will turn 66 when the race is scheduled in Santiago, Chile and says I’m not much of a competitive runner anymore, in fact, I think that I will give new meaning to the word plodder during this event.” Linda is excited to take one more run around the globe.
Eravanan is a finance broker from Perth Australia who has run 21 marathons in total, the last 11 being from April to October 2018. Running gives Eravanan clear goals and makes him feel fully alive; exerting himself to the fullest within his limits is the essence of his running. Evaranan looks forward to taking on the World Marathon Challenge 2019.
Sasie became the first female Thai runner to run the Antarctic Ice Marathon, also making her the first Thai to run marathons on all 7 continents in 2014-2015. She subsequently completed the North Pole Marathon in 2016, thereby joining the Marathon Grand Slam Club.
.Sandy has also run in numerous interesting locations, including China, Jordon, Sri Lanka, Namibia, the Sahara Desert and the Simpson Desert, along with many 100km & 100 mile races, Badwater 135 & Tor Des Geants. She feels very lucky that her running has taken her all around the globe allowing her to follow her passion and dreams. Her first marathon was a soul-destroying moment of “I am never doing one of these again” but that led quickly to a self-supported stage race in Egypt, the first of ten such stage races that include the Grand Canyon. The 777 World Marathon challenge is a whole journey of adventure in itself and Sandy says she is stoked to be part of this amazing epic adventure.
Ross has been running long distance since high school. He enjoys stage races and has finished the Marathon Des Sables twice as well as a lot of South African marathons and a Skyrun Ultra. He supplements his running with karate. To date, however, he has not run Comrades which means that most South Africans consider that he not a proper runner! Ross is self-employed in the packing industry, married with two kids, and lives in sunny South Africa, the second leg of the World Marathon Challenge. He is very much looking forward to the Santiago race as it’s a city he has been wanting to see for some time. His favourite marathon so far was Paris, although the wine one kilometre from the end made him feel a bit funky.
Eric is the co-founder and president of Diabetes Sports Project, a global non-profit organization built to inspire & educate the type 1 Diabetes (T1D) community through sports. He was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 22 and uses his athletic endeavors to empower those facing similar obstacles to accomplish their dreams. After diagnoses with this incurable disease, Eric went on to complete multiple 140.6 Ironman triathlons, 70.3 triathlons, marathons and half marathons, and qualify for the Boston Marathon. He, along with 9 other T1D runners, ran across North America (approx. 3,000 miles) in 15 days. Eric is a JDRF ambassador and supporter as well as a faculty member of the Performance in Exercise and Knowledge (P.E.A.K.) program teaching how to successfully exercise with T1D. He lives with his wife and two young daughters in Southern California.
Ginny is a 66 year old grandmother of six who loves destination races. No stranger to travel, she has completed marathons all over the world, in all 50 States in the USA plus DC TWICE, all the provinces and territories of Canada, plus The Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race, Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Comrades Marathon, and The North Pole Marathon. After 208 marathons/128 half-marathons, she effectively wore out her knees and in early 2017 had double knee replacements. As a testimonial for how thankful she is to be able to continue to enjoy the sport she loves, Ginny is raising funds for Operation Walk-Freedom to Move, whose medical teams provide orthopedic surgeries to those needing life-improving procedures, ensuring that they have the ability to work, move, and engage in life. She looks forward to completing the half-marathon distance on each of the 7 continents with the World Marathon Challenge 2019.
Petr is a top triathlete and endurance runner. He took first place at the 2013 Antarctic Ice Marathon & Antarctic Ice 100K. In 2015 he was the North Pole Marathon winner and he earned 2nd place in the 2017 edition of the World Marathon Challenge. In 2018 along he earned 1st place at the Ultraman Florida 2018, a 10 km swim, 424 km bike and 85 km run and finished 3rd at the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii. He has finished 192 Ironman distances, 41 of which were overall wins at Ironman, and he has accumulated 240 marathon finishes. Petr’s personal pages can be found here: www.petrvabrousek.cz, www.facebook.com/PetrVabrousek, www.instagram.com/PetrVabrousek
Filip is 19 years old and started training with his father Petr at the age of 15. He has quickly taken to the sport acquiring personal bests of 15:40 for 5K, 32:57 for 10K, and 1:13.26 for 21K. As a team, Petr + Filip attained 1st place in the 2018 Mountain Challenge Jeseniky 2018, a 38K runwith 2400m of elevation gain hosted in the Czech Republic.
Michael is a 44-year-old endurance athlete from Arlington, VA. He was the 2017 World Marathon Challenge champion with an astounding average time of 2:45:57 and has run a marathon best of 2:17:49. Michael has taken part in some of the most difficult races around the world such as the Marathon des Sables, Badwater 135, UltraTrail Mont Blanc(UTMB), Spartathlon, Hardrock 100 miler & Western States, and has won numerous world medals at ultramarathon running. He is married to Jennifer and has 2 boys, Pierce & Grant, and Rosie their Vizsla.
Arno is 38 years old and first took part in endurance sports in his late twenties. The World Marathon Challenge is his biggest challenge of all, however, his honeymoon trip around the world with wife Meriem! As a father and husband, and busy with work, his main challenge has been to find available hours to train for the event. This predicament has often led to nice sunrises during early morning training runs. Arno has always followed his belief to be the best version of oneself and to make the most out of every situation. He was born and raised in The Netherlands.
The 2019 World Marathon Challenge saw a familiar face win the men's crown as Michael Wardian added to his 2017 World Marathon Challenge with an average time of 2 hours 58 minutes and 30 seconds. Susannah Gill triumphed in a highly competitive women's field with an incredible new world record average time of 3 hours 28 minutes and 9 seconds. Two further age records were established when Gloria Lau (SIN) became the oldest woman, at 67 years, to complete the challenge. The legendary Dan Little (USA) became the oldest man to complete the challenge at 76 years of age.