If someone told you that a man completed seven marathons in seven days, you would probably be impressed. Likely amazed.
If somehow that wasn’t enough to drop your jaw, how about if those seven marathons were run on seven different continents?
That’s what Marine Capt. Calum Ramm, a Lansing native, did as one of the 15 runners who took part in the World Marathon Challenge.
Before you break out the calculator, here are the numbers:
In seven days, Ramm ran a marathon on a glacier in Antarctica, then got on a plane and ran another in Chile, then Miami, Morocco, Dubai and finished up in the summer heat in Sydney, Australia. With approximately 26.2 miles per marathon, that adds up to a little over 183 miles in 168 hours.
Some Michiganders complain about the variety of weather that the state receives every year, but according to Ramm, that helped prepare him for all the different locations in the marathon challenge.
“Growing up in Grand Ledge, you get the Michigan weather, so honestly, most of the races reminded me of running at some point in Michigan,” said Ramm, who graduated from Grand Ledge High School. “We’ve had some pretty cold winters there when I grew up. Antarctica wasn’t anything different. If you just close your eyes, everything felt the same as an average run in downtown Grand Ledge or in the Lansing area on the River Trail. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be dealing with the weather.”
Running a marathon is challenging enough, but running multiple marathons that stretch across multiple time zones made the event even harder. Ramm said the best way to deal with that is to ignore the clock.
“After a while, you don’t really know what time it is,” said Ramm. “You just kind of base your internal clock off of how long you have to run again.
Finishing the challenge almost didn’t happen as Ramm started to feel some pain in his shins during the fourth marathon in Spain. After plenty of ice and treatment, he continued and it was discovered before the sixth race in Dubai that he was running on a stress fracture. Amazingly, he managed to complete that marathon and the last one in Australia.
Ramm’s motivation for running the event was to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund. The charity, which was started by a group of Marine spouses, provides financial assistance to injured and seriously ill service members who took part in post-9/11 combat. In the end, after the final marathon finished on Manly Beach in Australia, Ramm had raised nearly $24,000.
The World Marathon Challenge is now accepting applications for the 2017 event, so the question is: Will he do it again?
“If someone is out there is willing to sponsor me, I’d absolutely go and do it again,” said Ramm. “I got done with the [final] race, and sat down in Australia for a few days and all I could think of was when I crossed that finish line, it wasn’t joy that I had completed such an extraordinary event, it was actually sadness that it was over and I would have to go back to reality in a few short days. Absolutely, I’d do it over again in a heartbeat.
For more information about the Semper Fi Fund, visit the organization’s website here.
Listen to the full interview below to hear more about Ramm's international running adventure and how someone trains for an extraordinary athletic feat like this.