Shilpa Abbit’s journey ended in Tuscon, Arizona, but it took her through five continents, including a stop at the North Pole, and across 100 finish lines as she completed 100 marathons.
The 46 year old engineer, who says she has no intention of slowing down, has used her running journey to raise money for cancer research through the Faith, Family, and Friends Foundation.
In addition to her work for cancer research, Shilpa’s 100 marathons were dedicated to the memory of her son Austin, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour that took his life in 2013 when he was only 11.
Her 26-mile marathons take her to some interesting locations, including the North Pole in April for what’s billed as the “World’s Coolest Marathon.” The subzero temperatures and running on frozen water aren’t the only obstacles.
Santa and his magic sled may have few problems getting to the North Pole, but it’s a bit more daunting for mortals. She had to travel first to Oslo, Norway, and then make connections with an Russian ice camp. There were a few delays, which left fewer than 50 people to compete.
The runners faced brutally cold weather and had to be careful of another foe.
“We were warned about polar bears,” she said.
Shilpa’s journey was supported by her running mates from the 5@5 club, including Heather Ziegler, who finished her first half marathon at the same race as Shilpa’s 100th marathon. Ziegler describes Abbitt as an inspiration, saying “I also know several of us in the group (5@5) who would attribute finishing our first marathon to her encouragement and determination.”
- Ravi Singh