Seventy-Year-Old Runs Seven Marathons in Seven Days

Seventy-year-old Chau Smith with her seven marathon medals

Seventy-year-old Chau Smith with her seven marathon medals

It’s called Triple 7 Quest; it’s a race in which participants run seven marathons in seven consecutive days on seven continents. Each day the participants run 26.2 miles, then get on a plane and fly to the next destination and run 26.2 miles the next day. For 2017, the cities were Perth (Australia), Singapore (Asia), Cairo (Africa), Amsterdam (Europe), Garden City, New York (North America), Punta Arenas, Chile (South America), and King George Island (Antarctica).

For the 2017 Triple 7 Quest, there were 10 participants. The oldest among them was 70 years of age. She is Chau Smith, owner of an alteration and dry-cleaning business in Independence, Missouri, who was running to celebrate her 70th birthday.

Smith was born in Vietnam, but came to the U.S.A. in 1972. She works long hours at her business, and says running helps he feel better. “I live a stressful life. Every day I work 10 hours a day,” she said. “How I feel after I put in my running, I think that’s important. It makes you feel good.” She estimates she’s run over 70 marathons in her lifetime.

To create a training program for the Triple 7 Quest, Smith sought advice from a running coach, sports doctor, physical therapist, and nutritionist. She says it took her eight months to train, but during the last four months she put in really long runs.

Although she can run a marathon in less than five hours, Smith said she paced herself because she would be running for so many consecutive days. Her best time for all seven marathons was five hours, fifty-one minutes. There were challenges along the way.  In Perth, it was the middle of summer and she ran in 102 degree weather. She was severely sunburned. In Amsterdam, she tripped and fell before the race, and although one knee was swollen and her lip was bruised and bleeding, she ran anyway. “I always try to train in my mind the good things. So even when I’m really in pain, I’m able to think about something positive… maybe, the waterfalls, the streams, the lake,” Smith said.

Not usually one to make a political statement, Smith wore a pink pussyhat (a symbol of women’s rights) for every race. She thinks she may have broken a world record for the oldest person to run seven marathons in seven days and plans to apply to the Guinness Book of World Records.

The 2017 Triple 7 Quest is part of a challenge operated by Marathon Adventures. The races were run January 25-31, 2017.

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