Seven marathons. Seven continents. Seven days.
Some may look at an event like the World Marathon Challenge and think, “Absolutely not. This is physically impossible.” To lifelong Seahawks fan Greg Nance, the event was the ultimate test of physical stamina and mental endurance. Competitors run a total of 295 kilometers, or 183 miles, over the seven-day period and travel via charter plane to every marathon location around the globe after the initial marathon.
Nance was born into a Seahawks family as his dad was a beer vendor at the Kingdome during the 1983 and ’84 seasons. His fandom started at a young age, wearing his number 12 Seahawks jersey to peewee football practice, continuing to represent his favorite NFL team over the years wearing a Seahawks cap while running some of the toughest footraces in the world.
First Leg: Novo (Antarctica)
The first marathon took place within the Antarctic Circle on January 31 with a 26.2-mile run across mainland Antarctica.
In the history of the World Marathon Challenge, only 104 people had ever completed it. Nance was determined to represent the 12s along the way of his mission to make history.
Second Leg: Cape Town, South Africa (Africa)
After faring the arctic climate, Nance made his way to Cape Town, South Africa for the second leg.
“I’ve run 150 miles across the Gobi Desert and 125 miles through Malaysia’s jungle, but the World Marathon Challenge powered by Wentworth was the toughest yet, so I brought my 12 flag to celebrate each finish line!” said Nance.
Third Leg: Perth (Australia)
Leg number three of the World Marathon Challenge took place in Perth, the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia.
Aside from the craze of logistical coordination of over 23,000 miles of air travel, running seven marathons back-to-back-to-back was a grueling physical and mental test. Nance fought many physical battles including a stomach bug, nausea, dehydration, sleep deprivation and quad cramps throughout the week.
Fourth Leg: Dubai, U.A.E. (Asia)
Nance then made his way to the populous city of Dubai for the fourth round in the World Marathon Challenge.
Nance trained for the challenge in Shanghai, China where he resides. His favorite training routine is a 15-mile cross-town run to a local sports bar to watch the Seahawks play on early Monday mornings (keep in mind the time difference).
Fifth Leg: Madrid, Spain (Europe)
The fifth leg of the challenge took place in Madrid, Spain on a 3.85-kilometer racetrack that was once home to the Spanish Grand Prix.
When finding some mid-week inspiration, Nance said, “I was channeling Russell Wilson and the ‘Always Compete’ mentality—Russ is an ironman who suits up every Sunday. He’s played championship football while hurt so I found strength treating every checkpoint like a championship opportunity.”
Sixth Leg: Santiago, Chile (South America)
The second-to-last leg of the challenge was in Santiago, Chile in South America. The out-and-back course was located in one of the best neighborhoods in the city of Santiago.
Nance’s goal in completing the challenge was to raise awareness for his non-profit organization, Moneythink. The organization is dedicated to breaking down the financial barriers to college for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. So far, it has helped over 15,000 students in 30 cities.
Seventh Leg: Miami, Florida (North America)
Nance finished off the World Marathon Challenge with a big smile on his face after completing the final leg in Miami, Florida. The course consisted of five 8.43-kilometer loops along the world-famous boardwalk on the Atlantic.
Nance serves as an inspiration to not just young students but also all 12s with a goal in mind looking to make a difference in the world. “I believe the only limits that matter are those we place upon ourselves,” said Nance. “Tackling big challenges teaches us that obstacles are opportunities to become a stronger version of ourselves.”