We’ve all got travel goals.
I’d like to see all 50 states (I’m at 48). You might want to go on a safari, or walk along the Great Wall of China.
Richard Garland plans to hit all 7 continents. But that’s just the means to an end.
His goal is to run a marathon on all 7 continents.
I got tired just typing that sentence.
Until I talked to Richard, I didn’t even know there were marathons on all 7 continents. Antarctica, after all, is a continent.
Turns out, there is a marathon there.
Not only that, it’s happening right now.
And Richard Garland is there to run it.
But he’s not just running 26.2 miles, on ice and snow in sub-zero temperatures while dodging penguins and, I’m sure, man-swallowing crevasses.
He’s doing it to raise money for the Adam J. Lewis Preschool.
And not just a few bucks. Richard’s goal is $100,000, for the fantastic Bridgeport institution that — with strong Westport support — honors the memory of a special 9/11 victim.
Richard has a special bond with the school that’s changing the lives of 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds in the West End. He knew Adam Lewis. Patty Lewis — Adam’s widow, and a driving force behind the school — is Richard’s wife’s best friend.
Travel — and giving back — are in Richard’s blood. A London native, he came to Westport to work. He thought he’d stay 2 years. Twenty-three years later, he’s still here.
Though he grew up playing sports, Richard hated running. “I thought it was for people with no lives,” he says.
But when he turned 50, he challenged himself to run the New York Marathon. He raised funds for the Westport-based Hole in the Wall Gang Camp — and got hooked.
Richard travels the world for work. He timed one trip to run a marathons in London. Others followed, in Kenya and Tokyo.
He ran the Boston Marathon too — in 2013. “I was slow enough not to be at the finish when the bombs went off,” he says.
Antarctica marks the 5th continent Richard will race on. On Sunday he flew to Punta Arenas, Chile. He boarded a Russian cargo plane, and arrives in Antarctica today.
The marathon is Friday. Unlike New York, Boston, London, Kenya, Tokyo — or anywhere else on earth — runners face an average windchill of -20 degrees Celsius, and strong winds. (And this is summer down there!)
tough impossible to train for something like this. The best he could do, experts told Richard, was run on a treadmill in a walk-in freezer.
He did not. But he took the next-best advice, which is train on sand.
The Greens Farms resident ran at Burying Hill, Southport and Fairfield beaches. “It’s not very easy,” he reports. “I think I’ll run this marathon very slowly.”
You and I would relax after such an exhausting event. We’d check out the scientific stations and penguins, maybe see what Punta Arenas offers on the way home.
But you and I are not Richard Garland. He has a business meeting right after the marathon.
“I’ll pack my business suit, along with my Antarctic running clothes,” he says cheerfully.
The coldest continent marks Richard’s 5th for a marathon. He plans to run Easter Island — off the Chilean coast — next year. The last will be Sydney, in 2019.
But 7 marathons on 7 continents is not Richard’s final goal. In fact, it’s just a warm-up.
In 2020, he’d like to run 7 marathons on 7 continents — in 7 days.
“Impossible!” you and I say. In addition to sheer exhaustion, just getting from one 26.2-mile race to the next is incomprehensible.
“No, it’s a thing,” Richard says, as if this is like walking down your driveway to pick up the mail. “There’s a private plane, with business class seats.”
But if he does that, he warns, there’s a price.
“It’s a million-dollar fundraiser for the Adam J. Lewis preschool.”
(Click here to contribute to Richard Garland’s current Adam J. Lewis marathon fundraiser.)