In honour of Australia Day (recognised annually on 26 January), Guinness World Records is celebrating one Aussie’s incredible expedition from life-threatening illness to the Fastest time to complete a marathon on each continent (male).
Facing extreme temperatures ranging from -20 to 40°C, former investment banker Douglas Wilson completed a 42.2 km track in Antarctica, Chile, USA, Spain, Morocco, UAE and Australia, in a spectacular time of 6 days 18 hr 2 min 11 sec.
Last year the experienced endurance athlete completed the seven gruelling races as part of the inaugural World Marathon Challenge, having ran many marathons prior to this, including one in Antarctica.
However, as Wilson recently explained to Guinness World Records, his record-breaking journey was not without setbacks:
"In October 2013 I underwent a life threatening 13.5 hour brain surgery to remove a large brain tumour which almost cost me my life, and resulted in serious medical complications; meningitis, single sided deafness, facial paralysis and loss of the right balance nerve.”
As a result, the long-distance runner had to re-learn how to walk.
Advised by doctors he would require over a year of rehabilitation, Wilson was back competing in marathons only a few months later.
He continued: “My road to recovery was tough, but along the way I was presented with the opportunity to compete in the first official event inviting people to run a marathon on each of the seven continents in under seven days.
“This was my motivation to get well. I beat the odds and was very competitive in the event, running with the love and support of family and friends – and to promote a cause close to my heart: peace and equality of all people."
Guinness World Records first recorded this title back in 1997 when Japan's Hajime Nishi completed a marathon on each continent in 168 days. In 2012, Wendelin Lauxen from Germany lowered the time to an impressive 21 days, 5 hours and 33 minutes.
Wilson's attempt at the title incredibly saw him halve this time.
However, the overall winner of the World Marathon Challenge 2015 was fellow Australian David Gething, who achieved a slightly faster aggregate time.
Gething told South China Morning Post: “Doug and I worked together to keep each other going. I'm not sure either of us would have finished if we hadn't.”