Tuedon “Tee” Omatsola Morgan (Nigeria) recently earned a Guinness World Records title for the Fastest time to run a half marathon on each continent (female), completing seven races in a mind-blowing time of 10 days, 23 hr, 37 min and 8 sec.
At 42 years old, Morgan finished (in order) the Carlton Classic Half Marathon (Australia), Abu Dhabi Striders Half Marathon (Asia), Torcy International Half Marathon (Europe), The Carthage Race Half Marathon (Africa), Lincoln’s Birthday Half Marathon (North America), Southern Cross Half Marathon (South America), and Penguin Half Marathon (Antarctica).
Last week we confirmed that Tuedon had a set an all-new record for the Fastest time to complete a half marathon on each continent and the North Pole (female) with 62 days 12 hr 58 min 49 sec.
An accountant by profession and mother to four boys currently living in Qatar, Morgan began her record-breaking journey with a desire to change her unhealthy lifestyle.
Guinness World Records caught up with Morgan to ask her about her achievements. “I went from an unfit 121 kg to the Guinness World Record” she explains, and says she hopes her amazing story will inspire others.
When did you first find out that you had an aptitude for running?
I was one of those kids that always had excuses at school. I disliked athletics. Prior to getting married, I was a slim woman with an average weight of 63 kg. However, with each child came an addition to my weight and by January 2008, I stared regretfully at my 121 kg/Size 26 (UK) frame! Over the years, I had developed an unhealthy lifestyle and relationship with food. This seriously affected my health and I lived with constant pain in my legs due to the weight I had gained.
This picture [above] was taken in January 2008. I stood in front of the mirror … I knew I had to change my life. It reminds me where I used to be and when I have days I struggle, it also reminds me how far I have come.
I decided then that it was time to make a change. Joining a gym was my first positive decision. I started walking on the treadmill and as soon as I could run a 5 k on the treadmill, I went outdoors and started running on the road. I am very proud to say that I have since completed 44 full marathons in 34 countries, plus two Ultra marathon 50 km.
What motivated you to attempt this record?
When I was a child, my parents bought every copy of the Guinness World Records that was published. I remember saying to myself that one day that will be me. But as I got older and started fighting with my weight, I felt my dreams were far-fetched. That was until I met Ziyad Rahim (Pakistan) who is now a multiple Guinness World Records title for his marathon running - this record was his idea.
Tell us a bit about your training regime and how you prepared for the record attempt
Training for a marathon is like taking on a second full time job. First of all I live in the Middle East where temperatures in the summer could be close to 50 degrees Celsius. And my terrain is really flat. So flying to Antarctica where you have temperatures of -22 degrees calculus or the North Pole of -42 degrees Celsius is different to say the least. I run 10 km, five days a week. I cross train a lot and do core work. I don’t run very fast as that isn’t one of my goals, but I put in the work. Honestly, I had no special training for this attempt.
What was the most challenging part of your record attempt?
The most challenging part of this attempt was not getting enough sleep. We finished a race and flew over to the next race. I was so tired and extremely hungry. But the worst came when flying from New York City to South America as the airlines ran out of water. By the time we landed in South America we had two hours to check in to the hotel and get ready for the race again. My feet were twice their normal size and I was worried my shoes wouldn’t fit.
The North Pole Marathon is no easy feat as it is not run on land: it essentially run on frozen water.
What did it feel like to find out you had achieved a Guinness World Records title?
I got a notification on my phone and I was asked to log on to my page. My hands were shaking and I felt tears down my cheeks. This record means so much to me. My heath was really deteriorating and the doctors continuously told me I had to change my lifestyle. All I wanted was to lose weight but the more I pushed myself the more I wanted. Running the Seven continents twice and becoming the first Nigerian to run all Seven Continents and the North Pole to top it up with a GWR means so much. I am Officially Amazing!
Are you planning to improve on the record, or perhaps attempt another title?
I fully intend to run hundreds marathons in lots of countries and continue to meet new people and inspire them. I know I want more Guinness World Records titles.
I want to attempt a record in cycling: Fastest journey from Land's End to John-O'-Groats by bicycle (female) and one day Fastest circumnavigation by bicycle (female). That will require a lot of commitment and focus but am mentally preparing myself.
Others may be inspired by your story to attempt a record for themselves. What advice would you give them?
I took on this challenge to make ordinary people believe that anything in life is possible. It’s better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all. The potential for greatness lives within each of us. Just be the best version of yourself.
When she runs each marathon, Morgan raises funds for the National Black Marathoners Association – an organisation which encourages black youth to pursue track and field activities and awards scholarships to college students. She is also the co-founder of a group called Women Encouraging Women to live healthily. You can follow Morgan’s fitness journey on Facebook here.