Falkland Islands To Host World’s Most Southerly Marathon

The New Year may still be more than six weeks off, but it is never too early to start working on those resolutions. If one of your perennial vows is to get into better shape and exercise more often, then I have some incentive for you. On March 17, 2013, the Falkland Islands will play host to the Standard Chartered Bank-Stanley Marathon, which happens to be the southernmost marathon in the world that is officially sanctioned by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races.

The race is a standard 26.2-mile marathon, but its undulating course makes it a tough challenge for even the best runners. Each year only about 50 athletes manage to complete the full route, which begins in the Falkland’s historic capital of Stanley and then wanders out into the beautiful and breathtaking countryside. Along the way, runners are likely to encounter abundant wildlife, including penguins, seagulls, reindeer and possibly even an orca pod that is passing by just off shore.

Even if you’re not already a seasoned runner there is plenty of time to get ready for the Stanley Marathon. March is still a long ways off and if you have the right training schedule, and maintain a strict regimen, you can be prepared to compete in the race. Of course, the sooner you get started on that training, the better off you’ll be.

While you’re focused on all of that running, you may not have time to think about your travel options. Thankfully, adventure travel company Adventure Life has a Falkland Islands Marathon package that takes all of the worry and hassle out of that portion of your preparation. Let them take care of the details of getting you to and from the Falklands, while you simply worry about getting fit for the run.

If you love to travel and are already a runner, or have just always wanted to compete in a marathon, this is an excellent opportunity to combine those passions into one big adventure.

[Photo credit: Adventure Life]

Austin Marathon: why run a marathon?

The Austin Marathon from The Daily Texan on Vimeo.

The Austin Marathon took over the streets of Austin, Texas this past weekend. Established in 1992, the Austin Marathon began just a few blocks north of the Texas State Capitol. The marathon’s course took runners through several other Austin landmarks, as well. The Colorado River, the downtown area, Hyde Park, UT, and Memorial Stadium were all attractions to be seen during the 2012 race. Kenya‘s Edward Kiptum was this year’s winner. From Kenya to Austin, Texas, Kiptum, who trains in Mexico, came a long way to win a race. But what drives marathon runners to run, let alone run around the world?

%Gallery-148165%What makes a person want to run, for the sake of running? Having been in and out of love affairs with running for years now, I feel as though I might know at least a few common answers to this question. But I’m not a marathon runner. I deeply respect marathon runners and on some level, I casually aspire to be one, but I know casual aspirations won’t help to get me through a marathon, or even marathon training. Cities across the globe host marathons each year and devoted runners traverse the world to participate in these scattered races. A long run will, no doubt, expose a runner to the landscape of respective host cities. I see the appeal in that, in fact, this is one of the reasons why I’m tempted to think seriously about training for a marathon. Getting to know a location on foot is intimate; it’s a foundation for long-lasting travel memories. But as for what drives people from every background to suck it up and run 26.2 miles as quickly and efficiently as he or she can–it varies.

George Mallory, an explorer who died climbing Mount Everest, once cited his motivation for climbing with a simple response: “Because it’s there”. Perhaps a response like this is what it boils down to for many runners. A marathon is a challenge and finishing a marathon is an accomplishment that commands respect. To do it just to do it seems reason enough to me, for those who feel a pull toward marathon running.

The drive to push the body beyond perceived limits is not only a reason to run in and of itself, but the endorphin high experienced by any person pushing their body’s limits lasts well beyond the pushing. Whether a person is climbing Mount Everest, running a marathon, or even perfecting fast-moving guitar scales with their left hand, we receive an innate gratification when we reap the rewards of hard, physical labor. Runners, in particular, experience ‘Runner’s High‘.

In the case of marathon running, pushing limits or rewarding surges of endorphins are only the beginning when discussing motive. Although often disputed because of the wear and tear experienced by some marathon runners, long distance running, when practiced properly, can yield remarkable health benefits. Runners regularly confess to physical, mental, and emotional improvements at the hand of their running. Running can be used to lose weight, fight depression, stabilize moods, and even gain a more confident self-perception, among other things. Aside from all of this, long distance running is an engaging hobby, devotional lifestyle, and, if a runner is really into it, a great excuse to travel the world.

Have you ever run a marathon? Do you run regularly? Have you ever traveled to run in a race? Tell us about your running and related travel experiences in the comment section below.

Adventurous trio running across the Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert is a wild and untamed place stretching across 350,000 square miles of southern Africa. The arid expanse of land crosses through parts of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, and while it is an incredibly dry place, it is still home to a diverse amount of plant and animal life, including giraffes, elephants, hyenas, lions and more. It is a challenging place for any human being to survive in, but that isn’t stopping three adventurous endurance athletes from attempting to cross it on foot none the less.

Dubbed the Trans-Kalahari Run, this expedition will send three friends, Jukka Viljanen and Kirsi Montonen, both from Finland, along with Greg Maud, of South Africa, along a 1000km (620 mile) route that stretches west to east across some of the most wild parts of Botswana. The trio hopes to cover approximately 50km (31 miles) per day, for 20 straight days, in hopes of completing their quest. That’s the equivalent of running more than a marathon, plus five miles, every day for nearly three weeks, through some of the most demanding terrain on the planet.

While this will be an amazing adventure, and a great test of endurance for these long distance runners, they aren’t doing it just for the experience. This adventurous threesome is also hoping to raise awareness and funds for Cheetah Conservation Botswana, an organization that works tirelessly to preserve the population of those speedy felines in Africa, and obviously most specifically in Botswana. Cheetahs have a difficult time competing against other predators in the game preserves, so they are often forced to live in the more marginal border regions where they are hunted and killed by the indigenous people there who see them as a threat to their livestock. CCB is hoping to protect these big cats through community outreach and education with those rural communities, teaching them how to coexist with the Cheetahs.

Jukka, Kirsi, and Greg began their run yesterday, and they are promising daily updates to their blog, so we can all follow along with their progress. They got off to a good start, with a warm-up run of 26km (16 miles), but the real challenges, and adventure lie ahead.

[Photo credit: Elmar Thiel via WikiMedia]