While many of us are finalizing our upcoming snowboarding trips, one of us has a very different agenda. I caught up with our very own "Busy Bee Extraordinaire" Toni Wilson, as she prepares for an adventure of a lifetime! She is about to travel to a place that NONE of us have ever traveled to before…ANTARTICA (yes, you read that correctly!) And not only will she be touring there, she has been chosen to be one of the few individuals this year that will be running the official Antarctica Marathon!
Legal name? Anthanette Wilson
Hometown? Stockton, California
Residing? New York, New York
Describe this race? Antarctica Marathon is being held on March 9, 2012. This is a 26.2 mile marathon held on King George Island, just off the Antarctic Peninsula. The start and finish is at Bellingshausen Station (the Russian base), and the course passes the Artigas Base (Uruguayan base), the Frei Base (Chilean base) and the Great Wall Base (Chinese base). The course follows an ice-covered road that connects the bases, including running up and down Collins Glacier. Runners can expect to see penguins, skuas and fur seals on the course.
How do you even get to Antarctica? This is my first time to the "White Continent." Runners in this race hail from around the globe. We will meet in Buenos Aires, Argentina. From there we will take a flight to Ushuaia, Chile, the southern most city in the world. From Ushuaia the group will take an ice barge through the Beagle Channel and the Drake Passage to King George's Island in Antarctica. The race will be held on March 9th. After the marathon our group is going on a 3-day sightseeing tour in Antarctica to places such as Paradise Bay. We will be visiting other international research stations, cruising amongst the fjords, visiting various Arctic islands, penguin watching and whale watching in zodiacs. We will also be kayaking in Arctic waters. It is certainly going to be a trip of a lifetime!
How do people sign-up for this race? Due to environmental concerns, there are only a limited number of runners allowed per year. I have been on the wait-list for 3 years. I know people on the wait-list for 4-5 years. Marathon Tours is the company that puts on this race. http://www.antarcticamarathon.com
Describe the training and diet that goes into this type of race? Currently, I am at the height of my training schedule. I have long runs on the weekends (15-20 miles), 7-10 mile short runs during the week, a weekly track workout for speed training, and three weekly gym works for strength training. I need to consume a lot of calories to keep my body fueled, so I drink protein shakes after my workouts and replace my electrolytes with Gatorade. I do not have a special diet, but I tend to eat a lot of pasta and salad to load up on carbohydrates. I tend to be very hungry after my long runs, so a cheeseburger is my protein of choice. I also eat bowls of cereal in the middle of the night because I am always hungry. Sleep is my secret training tool. Training really takes a lot out of me physically. For me, sleep helps my body recover, keeps my brain calm, and keeps me injury free. Listen to your kindergarten teacher... take naps! It will keep you looking and feeling young!
I'm sure it gets pretty cold in Antarctica, what will you be wearing during the race? The temperatures in Antarctica during mid-March can range from 0 - 30 degrees/Fahrenheit. I have low body fat and tend to get cold very, very easily. Initially, I was going to wear a thermal running suit much like a triathlon suit, but it did not feel comfortable. The temperature on race day will ultimately dictate how many layers I will need, but I plan on wearing two layers of Nike cold weather and wind proof running tights, UnderArmor top base layer, thermal running fleece, North Face wind proof running jacket, waterproof running gloves insulated up to 0 degrees/F, Nike thermal running hat, polarized sunglasses, waterproof socks, and North Face trail running shoes. I will also have ice traction cleats to put over my trail running shoes. My goal is to stay dry and warm and avoid hypothermia.
How long have you been running? I have been competing my whole life. I come from a family of professional runners. The first race I remember was in kindergarten. A boy said he was the fastest. I said I could beat him. We raced on the gravel playground. I won. Afterwards, he pushed me down and I skinned my knee. I was hooked ever since. I also ran in college on a Division I track/cross-country scholarship, and briefly ran professionally during law school.
What number marathon is this for you? I am relatively new to the sport of marathoning. This is number 10 for me.
What is your ultimate goal with doing all of these marathons? To snag a Guinness World Record by becoming the first Black woman to run a marathon on every continent. Regardless if I gain the title, I love traveling and seeing the world through my passion for running. That is really why I do these adventure marathons.
We would love to hear about your journey and see pictures...do you plan on creating a blog? My running blog is still under construction, but my Seven Continents adventures will be posted at: http://globemarathoner.tumblr.com/
Unfortunately, Toni will not be attending the NBS Summit this year, due to conflicting travel plans with the marathon. She will definitely be missed, but I know we all will be rooting for her on March 9th! We are so proud of you Toni! We know you will represent!!! From everyone here at FSF we wish you safe travels, and enjoy every minute of your adventure!
...And of course you just made our FRESH LIST!!