KZN women first Africans to do 7 marathons on 7 continents

2008-03-22 00:00

Two Underberg marathoners have become the first African women to complete seven marathons on seven continents.

Trish Crawley and Trish Collins arrived back through Cape Town Airport on Thursday having completed the final two events of their challenge.

On March 5, after a boat trip that tested their resistance to motion sickness to the limit, they took on the Antarctic Marathon, which geographically is known as “The Last Marathon”, and includes two-and-a-half kilometres up and down a glacier.

“It took us over 40 minutes, and caused many of the 150 runners to pull out,” said Collins. “But of all the events, the Antarctica Marathon was the most memorable. It’s so stark, and it was the hardest of them all. But it’s pristine — and there’s no litter,” joked Collins, who is back in time to celebrate her 52nd birthday next week with family.

Fittingly, it was The End of the World Marathon in Argentina that sealed their challenge. Based around the most southern town in the world, Ushuaia, this completed a journey that began in 2002 in New York, but only took shape four years later before the Paris Marathon.

“I was searching the web for other marathons to do, when I found the Seven Continents Marathon Club. This set the ball rolling as we already had two continents behind us and we were going to Paris,” said Crawley, who runs a health store in Underberg.

With North America, Africa and Europe chalked off their list, Australasia was covered with Sydney and Singapore in 2007.

Challenges are endemic in the Crawley household. Husband Clive is renowned for finishing over 40 Comrades, numerous Dusi Canoe Marathons and his attempt to become the oldest man to climb Mount Everest.

“He was the inspiration behind this. I had heard of climbing the seven peaks, but not being a climber, seven marathons on seven continents really appealed,” said Crawley.

What’s next? “My ninth and 10th Comrades, then hiking and cycling with [husband] Tod,” said Collins.

But for Crawley there is little rest.

“I get my green number in Comrades this year [10 finishes] and then from July I want to do 21 half-marathons [21 km] in the 21 months before turning 60.”

Little wonder that these two running addicts can be seen virtually any morning training together on the Underberg and Himeville roads.

Trish Crawley (left) and Trish Collins arriving back in South Africa this week.

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