This entry should be called Punta Arenas Marathon Mark II as we had already run 28km in Mark I 25/1/16 before the race was cancelled when our flight window into Antarctica to run White Continent Marathon became available. Yes, we’d run 28km in Punta Arenas, and then 42.2km in Antarctica. I’d sort of hoped the race director would just let us finish the last 14km of the original attempt and call it even, however it was not to be! And thus after two rest days we met up again at the start line to tackle Punta Arenas again. I’d never tried to run so far in one week before!
We had heard earlier that week about the 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days challenge and knew an Australian lady was one of the runners undertaking this almighty challenge. Craig and I made the effort to go out and cheer her on at the end of each out and back, and were there at the end when she finished. So glad we met her – an amazing lady!
Race day I went out quite tentatively, expecting to be quite sore or my body to complain, but in truth I felt pretty good. I knew it was a matter of cracking through those four out and back laps and I was done and the fact I was finishing my own 7 marathons on 7 continents spurred me on.
The course ran along the promenade parallel to the beach and the main road into Punta Arenas. Apparently it is always windy along there and at times it was blowing quite the gale, while the rest of the time it was really strong. Semi trailers hurtling past created their own blasts of wind and I soon learned to hold onto my visor each time one approached to save it being blown off my head!
By this time I knew the other runners relatively well and we exchanged cheery greetings and called encouragement to one another as we lapped back and forth. It is from this event that the phrase “You got this” became part of my repertoire of things to say at future events, as it is a particularly American thing to say and I embraced it with gusto both on the day and thereafter.
The race officials had a staff member on a folding chair at the turnaround and a box of hydration bottles supplied individually by each runner. I had a bottle of Tailwind out there and a bottle back at the start with Craig, and carried a couple of gels and Shotbloks.
There was only one road to cross, and although it was quite wide (about four lanes) and unmanned, with reasonable care I was fine dodging any semi trailers turning into the street. I wondered at the time why the event director didn’t start the race a little further down the promenade to eliminate this crossing however he must have had his reasons.
By now I’d run up and down that promenade multiple times. I knew how far each landmark was from the start and tried to focus on getting to each one before looking ahead to the next landmark. I was travelling along really well and in the end I finished the race at a faster pace than I’d run in Mach I, and in fact came home 2nd female! A PODIUM!
For many, it was all about the White Continent Marathon. We’d paid big money to get to Antarctica and the event director did absolutely everything he could to ensure we were able to get the experience for which we’d paid. Some of the other runners had already done a marathon in South America and left once we returned.
For me, it was all about Punta Arenas. Punta Arenas was a defining moment in my running career because it demonstrated to me that I could in fact run 112km in one week and come out of it intact. I realised I didn’t have to doubt my ability and I could tackle anything. When I’d left Australia a week earlier I was thinking I’d retire once I’d finished the 7 continents challenge. I came home from Punta Arenas confident, and with big plans for my next challenge – things just got bigger!
Punta Arenas Marathon was number 9.