‘You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore’ – Andre Gide
The Odyssey is the story of my ultra-marathon and adventure running. It began in 2013 when, at the age of 50, I completed my first extreme adventure races: The Antarctic Ice Marathon and the Antarctic 100k. This was my Antarctic Odyssey. Exceeding all expectations this ordinary, older runner finished 4th woman in the marathon and 1st woman 3rd overall in the 100 km (just 28 hours later).
That life-changing experience showed me that I could achieve incredible things and take on extreme challenges that I would never have dreamt possible. It set the path for further dreams and adventures. If I could do this, what else could I do? Where would my odyssey go next?
The heat and altitude of the Atacama Desert, the ice floes over the North Pole, the Namib, Sahara and Gobi deserts and the frozen Mongolian steppe. Each presenting a unique challenge and extreme running conditions.
The Global Odyssey Journeys
‘There are no endings. If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings’ – Hilary Mantel
In June 2022 I completed the epic Global Odyssey 100 journey and, to my knowledge, became the first person to run a 100k ultra-marathon on all seven continents.
The journey was filled with highs and lows, failure as well as success. On the way I learned much about myself, other people and the world; now, with that knowledge and experience I start a new journey, a new Global Odyssey challenge.
The nature of the challenge and journey are being be mapped out as I organise my thoughts. There are many untrodden paths that I dream of seeking out, my thirst for adventure unquenched.
Where might I start? Maybe unfinished business with the Namib or perhaps new territory will beckon first.
I will share the next chapter in the Global Odyssey epic here.
Conceive, believe, achieve.
The Global Odyssey 100
I was asked if I would to run a marathon or longer on every continent. The first response was ‘no’ as I did not want to get into box ticking or simply dropping into a location to run and leave. However, once the thought was there in my head it was only a matter of time before a challenge took form.
Ultra-marathon challenges are my passion. I am at heart an ultra-marathon runner who loves running in wild and remote terrain; and so why not be master of my own destiny and run an extreme 100k ultra-marathon on every continent seeking out new tough routes and tackling a variety of extreme conditions whilst doing it.
The Global Odyssey 100 was born.
The Global Odyssey 100 Journey
Antarctica - 2013, The Antarctic Ice 100k.
Dedicated to my father David Keith
Europe - 2017, Grand Raid Des Bogomiles 100k.
Dedicated to my uncle Francis Sweeney
Asia - 2018, The Gobi Desert Global Odyssey 100k
Africa – 2019, The Moroccan Global Odyssey 100k.
Dedicated to my friend Fiona Keating.
South America – 2019, The Patagonian Global Odyssey 100k
Oceania – 2020, The New Zealand Global Odyssey 100k
Dedicated to my mother Rosalind Keith
North America– 2022 – The Greenland Global Odyssey 100k.
Dedicated to Alasdair, Briony and Rowan for their unwavering belief, support and encouragement.
Its not been easy
‘Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try’ – Michael Jordan
I did not always succeed first time. It would not be a true challenge or test if it were easy. The risk of failure and failure have taught me much and made me stronger.
The Global Odyssey 100 runs that did not go well:
- 2018 Namibian Global Odyssey 100k where heat exhaustion stopped me at just 42.4km in the Namib desert.
- 2018 Ultra Mirage el Djerid where once again the heat defeated me in the Sahara in Tunisia.
- 2019 River Valley Summer Revenge in Edmonton, Canada where I was timed out of the event on a highly technical course.
26.2 mile success
As it turns out, during the Odyssey journey I have succeeded in completing a 26.2 mile marathon event or challenge on every continent:
Antarctica – 2013
The Antarctic Ice Marathon
South America – 2014
The Volcano Marathon
Africa – 2017
The Namibian Sand Marathon
(desert and ice double marathon event)
Asia – 2017
The Mongolian Ice Marathon
(desert and ice double marathon event)
Europe – 2019
Glentress Trail Run
North America – 2019
Taylor Mountain Trail Run
Oceania – 2020
Hakatere Te Araroa Trail Marathon