Novice runner Laura Jones sets sights on world’s highest marathon, and takes on 7 marathons on 7 continents in one year – something only 6 British women have completed.
After innocently agreeing to run the Everest Marathon, despite having no former running experience, Laura Jones set her ambitious goal: to run a marathon on each of the world’s 7 continents, all in under one year.
28-year-old Laura who, before August 2016, had never run further than 5km, is now running distances of up to 20 miles each weekend, preparing to run a marathon on every continent, a feat which only 6 British women have completed.
Her challenge starts with the London Marathon in April, followed shortly after by the Everest Marathon. She will also run 26.2 miles in the hostile climates of freezing Antarctica and tropical Mt Kilimanjaro, as well as races in Banff (Canada), Patagonia (Chile), and Rottnest Island (Australia).
Laura commented: “I love to set challenges for myself, even when I’m starting from scratch. When I started running a few months ago, I thought it would be impossible. But after just a few months of training, I’m finally starting to enjoy it! I can’t wait to actually get things started, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous.
I think the biggest challenge is going to be getting used to the different climates on each continent, especially the Everest Marathon, which is the highest marathon in the world starting at Everest Basecamp, some 5,300m above sea level! The average finishing time is 10hrs, which shows how tough the trail is. Combined with freezing temperatures at the start line, it’s set to be a very adventurous run. Early next year I’ll be running in Antarctica and Tanzania, and with just 2 weeks between races I can expect a temperature variation of up to 50 degrees.”
But weather won’t be the only challenge she could face. Joining instructions for the Banff Marathon note some unusual risks, stating “You may encounter wild animals, including: grizzly and black bears, elk, moose, wolves, cougars, coyotes, wolverine and lynx.”
Alongside her personal goals, Laura will be taking this opportunity to raise money and awareness for two charities close to her heart – The Scouts and The Jonny Wilkinson Foundation.
Jones has even had personal support from Jonny Wilkinson himself, who, when he found out about her challenge said: “Running almost 200 miles in some very hostile environments is a massive challenge and a hugely powerful opportunity. Anyone running a marathon is inspiring and I’ve always admired the incredible team spirit which seems to arise when positive and motivated individuals get together to push themselves for the benefit of others and amazing causes. Thank you, Laura, go well and good luck on your awesome journey.”
Jones concluded: “Taking part in this challenge is not about setting record times, it’s about achieving personal bests. I want to prove to not only myself but others that it doesn’t matter where your starting line is, everyone has it in them to make it to the finish.”