70-yr-old Chau Smith didn’t enjoy one step of running before her 54th birthday, but this ‘elderly’ athlete just ran an astounding 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days! The story of her running addiction goes way back to 1982, and she’s only sped up since then.
Newly divorced and working two jobs, Chau found herself short on free time and unable to exercise and de-stress. She met Michael Smith at a Christmas party that year and they married 6 months later. Smith eventually was able to convince his hard-working wife that running would be a good outlet for her stress, and something fun they could do together.
Chau was instantly hooked.
In 1995 at 58-years-old Chau ran her first race, a 5k in Kansas City. Battling a sinus infection and a bout of hay fever, Chau nearly passed out during the race.
“They [had] to put the oxygen mask on me,” Smith said. “But I feel OK about half an hour later. So Michael drove me home to Independence from Kansas City. I said, ‘Hey Michael, I want to do a 10K.’ And he said, ‘Chau, you almost died today! What are you talking about?’ And three months later, I show him. I did a half marathon and never look back.”
Today, Chau can boast completing over 70 marathons across the globe… but she wasn’t satisfied with 70+ marathon’s in her 70 years. Chau challenged herself to run 7 marathons in 7 days in celebration of her 70th birthday… and she did it in world record time.
Dubbed the ‘Triple 7 Quest’ Chau and 9 other runners traveled around the globe to run a different marathon every day. Between January 25 and January 31, Smith ran marathons in Perth, Australia; Singapore; Cairo; Amsterdam; Garden City, New York; Punta Arenas, Chile; and King George Island, Antarctica.
Every day, Chau woke up and ran 26.2 miles, got on a plane and flew to the next location to do it all over again. It truly was an amazing feat of human spirit and raw determination.
Chau still needs to submit her application, but Chau believes she’s set a Guinness World Record for oldest person to run consecutive marathons on different continents. But regardless of her actual standing, Chau deserves the prize.
Let this wonderful woman be an inspiration to you! It’s never too late to chase down your dreams.
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