From Antarctica to Miami, NJ woman running for her father
Starting on Feb. 6, a Mercer County woman will attempt to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents.
Yes, you read that correctly — 26 miles on every continent over the span of a week.
"I always try to up the ante, looking for new ways to challenge myself," said Keri Mandell, of West Windsor, one of 42 people planning to compete in the 2020 World Marathon Challenge.
The 38-year-old yoga-studio owner has been in training mode since June. On some days, she'll run 30 or 40 miles to build her stamina for the global route, which begins in Antarctica. That's the destination she's most excited about.
"We will be near the Russian weather station, and they kind of clear a path for you," Mandell said. "There are some ice marathons that take place on Antarctica, typically during this time of year because it's technically summer in Antarctica, which means that the weather can be 20 to 30 degrees."
Once she completes the 26.2-mile course, and she has "no doubt" she will, Mandell will jump on a plane, where she'll eat, sleep and recover, and head to the next continent. The challenge wraps up stateside, in Miami.
"One of my favorite quotes — life begins at the end of your comfort zone," Mandell said. "I find that's where strength lies."
Mandell may enjoy the physical and mental challenge, but she's also running around the globe to honor her father who lost his life to Multiple Myeloma. Mandell is campaigning to raise $150,000 for the American Cancer Society; she's hoping her actions and sacrifices inspire others to join the fight against cancer.
Mandell started running only about eight years ago. She completed her first marathon in 2014, in Philadelphia, and has since competed in all six world majors.
Mandell is one of 15 women hoping to complete the global challenge in 2020. Since 2015, 139 people have completed the challenge.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.