Could You Complete Strava’s Ridiculously Tough Running Charity Challenge?

Tough Girl Podcast

Could You Complete Strava’s Ridiculously Tough Running Charity Challenge?

Aug 14, 2018

Katy Willings is the Mongol Derby Chief, and erstwhile Chief of Adventures at The Adventurists.  Based in Bristol, UK, she was a junior international dressage rider in her teens.

  She rode in the inaugural Mongol Derby, the world's longest horse race, in 2009, sparking a later endurance riding career which saw her compete up to 120kms internationally, and became a full-time Adventurist in 2010, working on the Derby, and later the Ice Run, Icarus Trophy and Monkey Run. 

In the course of producing high profile events for the Adventurists she has ridden vintage Russian motorcycles in -30 (and got the damn things started in -40 when no-one else could), wrangled with customs in far-flung places to get equipment and people in country, managed local and international teams to deliver logistically complex and culturally significant goods and services.  And learned to fly a paramotor.  Kind of.  She finally did her motorcycle test in May 2018 (5 years late then) and will be taking to the open road, legally, this summer.  

She has ambitions to cycle the iron curtain, to fly her paramotor over Victoria Falls, to ride from New York to Buenos Aires as Aime Schiffely once did.  In the meantime she'll be wielding a clipboard and a satellite phone in her spiritual home of Mongolia this summer, and manning the airwaves during the Mongol Derby (it's live now!) in the operations room.  

She declares herself to be utterly devoid of talent, and proof that talent is no barrier to doing whatever the hell you want.  One day she will ride at Grand Prix and further prove this.

  She has worked with horses in Europe, Mongolia and Malawi, and men and machines in Morocco, Siberia, Sierra Leone.  She has had as much adventure putting on the adventures, as the participants have had taking part.

  Oftentimes, a great deal more. 

Show notes

  • Moving to Bristol in 2010
  • Struggling to call herself an adventurer
  • Spending most of her life on a horse
  • Happening on adventure by accident after losing her best friend in 2008
  • Fighting to make the world less boring
  • Being 25 and living in London and living for the weekend
  • The Rickshaw Run how it came about and why she decided to do it
  • What is it and how you plan for it!
  • Starting with a New Years Eve Party then 2 weeks to get to the finish line!
  • Being 40Km from the finish line and rolling the rickshaw…. 
  • Driving to the finish line and finishing the race
  • Being lucky to walk away from the crash
  • First hearing about the Mongol Darby!
  • A healing, a closure, and a change in attitude about herself
  • Being a glorious amateur!
  • What adventure means to Katy
  • Applying for the Mongol Darby and being placed on the reserve list
  • Not being able to let it go and also not being able to commit to the challenge 
  • Having 10 weeks to prepare and having to change her expectations for the race
  • Running, cycling and riding horses to build up endurance and to be as fit as possible
  • Loving history and reading up on the historically and cultural aspects of the race
  • Was the race even possible? Could it be done?
  • Dealing with the unknowns
  • Becoming friends with her fellow competitors
  • The structure of the race, and what it was on a daily basis ‘glorious isolation’
  • Riding 1000km over 9 days…
  • How completing the race changed the direction of her life 
  • What she’s leant from working at the Adventurists
  • The difficulties of making money from adventure
  • Getting the flying bug and what the next challenge is going to be
  • Her plan to cycle the Iron Curtain
  • Advice to fill your life with adventure and why it’s ok to do things for pleasure
  • Her side hustle in Mongolia – Morindoo

Social Media

Insta (Katy) – @willingskaya

Insta (Morindoo) – @morindooadventures

Website – Morindoo –

Website – The Mongol Derby –

– Katy – @KatyAdvntrists

– Mongol Derby – @mongolderbylive


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13.FUN Challenge: Join the Half-Marathon Action!

Could You Complete Strava’s Ridiculously Tough Running Charity Challenge?
Isn't this what being a mother runner is all about? Joan with her two kiddos admiring her medal and Proved it tee from our Challenge that is just wrapping up.

But don't just take our word for it: Take a gander at what some of the ladies who did the AMR Strava Prove It Challenge, our first Challenge, had to say about the support-and-train-you-on-all-levels and shower-you-in-swag program:

“I signed up for the sole purpose of accountability and I ended up with an incredibly rich and rewarding experience with some of the most amazing, strong, positive, supportive women in all the land. I love this tribe and am forever grateful to our matriarchs, thank you for this opportunity S & D!”

Jen earned her 10K Prove it medal–and a thumbs up from SBS–at Saturday's Hippie Chick race near Portland, Oregon.

“Going through this training plan on Strava with the Tribe was the BEST part! I've been part of Daily Mile before and it always felt so competitive to me. This isn't that at all! The support, Kudos and honest posts from the women I'm training with has been worth every dollar, mile and sore muscle. I'm going to miss them all when this plan is over.”

“I love SBS and Dimity. Anything you do, I follow. I don't want you, or this community to go away! I loved the daily accountability, the fun, the challenge, and the expertise!”

Nancy proved her 10K mettle–and earned her Prove it medal–in her homeland of New Zealand. (Yes, international mother runners, you're welcome to join in the 13.FUN.)

“The sisterhood with all the ladies is amazing!”

the 400+ gals who just completed the AMR Prove It Challenge, we were sad to see it end. So we're kicking off a new one we've dubbed 13.FUN. A 15-week challenge that will run from July 7 to October 19, 13.FUN will–you guessed it–focus solely on training for a half-marathon, the sweet spot for mother runners.

Thanks to the AMR Challenge–and her homegrown cheering squad–Laura PR'd by 17 seconds in her race.

Get Your 13.FUN on in Two Easy Steps:

1. Sign up to either run/walk a half-marathon, run a half-marathon, or race a half-marathon.

The run/walk plan has run/walk intervals through the entire training cycle; the running plan focuses on getting across the finish line with a smile on your face; the racing plan aims for a Personal Record (PR). (There is just one place to enter, then you can pick the training plan that matches your goals best.)

The fee for each training plan is comparable to many half-marathon race fees, but this is so much more than just two-ish hours of support you get between the starting and finish line. With 13.

FUN, you get 4+ months of support from experts and your fellow mother runners + unique training plans + four strength workouts + a tee + a medal + a goodie bag + Train a Mother, a book + four chances to win a mother runner pendant..

.but more on these details below.

2. Start training on Monday, July 7 to complete your first, strongest, or fastest half-marathon on (or about) Sunday, October 19.

The final race can be virtual—you run the distance on the route of your choice—or you can join in an organized event.

If your race is within a few weeks leading up to October 19 or a few weeks after it, we can tweak the training plans so you'll have your best race possible.

Even if you cover all your miles solo, you won't be alone during the 15-week training plan. The 13.FUN Challenge offers support in spades; we—and all the other runners in the Challenge—will be rah-rah-rahing for you and helping you out the entire way.

What You Get When You Take Part in 13.FUN: 

Strong, fun, and fashionable: Every 13.FUN participant gets this exclusive tee. It's super-soft, flattering Bella triblend tee the other lifestyle tees in our store.

☆ A mother-runner-friendly, 15-week, half-marathon training plan, designed by Coach Christine Hinton, the genius behind the popular and successful plans in Train a Mother.

There are three half-marathon training plan options:
1. The Run/Walk It plan, which integrates run/walk intervals through the entire training cycle;
2. The Run It plan, which is perfect if your main goal is to finish with a smile on your face;
3. The Race It plan, which will help you grab a Personal Record.

Each plan has you vanquishing a 10K about halfway through the plan. (There's just one place to sign up, but once you do, you can pick which training plan works best for you and your goals.)

Before the kickoff of 13.FUN training on July 7, you'll receive a signed-by-SBS copy of Train a Mother, the ideal training bible. (Not to mention a $15 value!)

 Four 20-minute strength-training routines that can be done at home with minimal equipment. As we've learned in our own races, honing strength helps you move faster–and helps keep injuries at bay. During each month of 13.FUN, you will receive a fresh strength workout to keep your muscles–and mind–engaged.

☆ A private club on Strava to log your miles, chart your runs, cheer each other on, complain, strategize, find a running buddy, and maybe, on occasion, gripe. On Strava, a running app for smart phones, we have created a private 13.

FUN Challenge Club, so you’ll be connecting with women who are doing the exact same workouts as you. (If you don’t have a smart phone, you can also access Strava via computer, so this isn’t a deal-breaker.

Also, you’ll be invited to the club once you commit to the the Challenge.)

Four chances to win a 13.1 mother runner pendant, a reminder of the goal you are striving toward.

☆ Weekly emails to keep your mojo high. Each Sunday, we’ll email out the plan for the week, plus Q+A’s with Coach Christine, and other useful tips to keep you motivated and moving. (Never fear: You’ll already have the full plan in your possession from the get-go, but each email will be a week-at-a-glance reminder of what's on tap.)

Monthly webinars you can listen to on your phone, watch online—we can't promise we'll always wear make-up, though—or listen to after the fact, via your headphones.

During the webinar, you can ask questions, celebrate your runs, figure out your ideal pace, gripe about the weather, talk about fueling, keep your momentum going.

Coach Christine will be a part of each webinar, and we'll usually have another expert will join us. (The more the merrier!)

S-W-A-G. And lots of it.
On June 1, we will start shipping signed copies of Train a Mother to all 13.FUN Challenge participants.

Although there will be no required reading, it's a good to pick up when you have a training question, crave a good laugh, or are at your daughter's gymnastics practice and need some reading material. In addition, two training plans in the Challenge will be modified versions of the Half-Marathon: Finish It and Half-Marathon: Own It plans.

Finally, in your book package will also be some training goodies, including samples of GU, Nuun, LÄRABAR, and Hyland’s. (Oh, and if you already own TLAM, you can pay it forward to a friend.)

In early October, each participant will be mailed a 13.FUN shirt (available in sizes S-2XL, as well as Missy XL and Missy XXL) and  13.FUN medal to commemorate all the fun, fun miles you've completed. There are also chances to win 13.1 mother runner pendants and Strava gear along the way.

☆ Loads of help and answers. For instance, here a few answers to inevitable initial questions:

—Ideally, you run your final race on the weekend of October 18-19, but if you sign up for an organized race on date close to then, we will offer training-plan modifications.—If a issue or injury pops up during the training and you can’t finish it, you can still claim your prizes. (But you’ll have to wait until early October when we mail them.)

—The plans are suitable for runners of all abilities, from novice runners up to fasties looking to set a new personal best.


r/running – 5 Kilometers for 5 Days Challenge

Could You Complete Strava’s Ridiculously Tough Running Charity Challenge?

link for the video from this report –

My wife and I love a challenge and we love taking part in the Strava challenges. We have a particularly large and competitive family group on Strava that spy on each other’s training and we all have a bit of fun at the end of each week seeing who can be the top of the leaderboard (The dogs being taken for a 230m walk on a Sunday evening is not uncommon).

About two weeks ago Strava published their latest challenge. Who can run 5km a day for 5 days straight. From the 5th to the 9th of Feb. My wife and I were quite excited about this for a few reasons.

Primarily, because it’s another competition we can take part in, but more so that it’s easily doable, but not too easy to complete. Let me explain a bit better. Both of us are capable of running the distance – 25km is not particularly far in a week. But, neither of us have run for 5 consecutive days.

The most days in a row that I have run is 3 I think. Our regular program is to run every other day and twice on the weekend.

We posted the challenge to our group and all were eager. us, the rest of the family also runs on alternate days, so a five day streak was a challenging but attainable.

Day 1: So here goes! We set our alarm for early on Monday, the evening I was working so Monday morning was our only opportunity for a run. But, we had a huge thunderstorm, so already our plan of setting a new running streak was in jeopardy.

My wife and I agreed that we would make a plan to run, even if it was during a lunchtime at work or midnight, it would happen.

I managed to convince others that the work to be done on Monday evening could easily be done another day in the future, I managed to get home early so we could embark on our 5×5 adventure.

We had planned a new route for everyday of the challenge. The first four days starting from our home and running through the hood, and the fifth at a special location.

It went well without any issues, except for dodging puddles.

Getting back, we were a bit disappointed to see that only half the overly competitive family had remembered about the competition, so we were already down to 4.

Day 2: Once again we waited out a thunderstorm, so we started our run a little late, but nothing was going to stop us, even Mother Nature herself. Luckily our storms don’t last very long, so most of the time, just sit back and watch TV for an hour and it’ll be nice and sunny later.

It was another easy run. I didn’t expect there to be any problems for the first three or so days, but was starting to get a bit concerned how a niggle in my ankle would react to five days without a break.

Day 3: Day 3 we decided to take our dogs, Colby and Ally. We run them at least once a week. Anything more for the lab and he gets a bit sick – his stomach ‘flipped’ a few years ago, and I think that running makes him feel queasy if he does too much.

They love running, especially the Shepherd, although they’re terrible at pacing. We always fly at a ridiculous speed for the first two kilometers and then we have to drag them up the hills for the last few.

My wife was beginning to feel her legs being a bit tired now on the third consecutive day. I was feeling absolutely fine still. Surprisingly my ankle injury was now feeling better than when we first began.

Four family members still in the competition now.

Day 4: Day four was terribly boring. Here’s the just of it. We started our watches, we ran, we finished.

Oh, and we had smoothies and the final two dropped out. They blamed work and not understanding the rules (They thought they had to do 5km per day for a week)

Day 5: This was the day we’ve been waiting for. A three hour drive from Johannesburg (our home city) is the small town of Clarens. It’s absolutely amazing! Another twenty minutes away is what I think to be one of the most incredibly photogenic places in the World, Golden Gate. And we were staying just 2.5km from it’s entrance (The perfect distance from our lodge to run for the challenge).

So my wife and I set off, but quickly stopped to take pictures of the horses. Off again, but stopped to take pictures of the mountainside. Then off again, but stopping to take pictures of the sunset.

You see the pattern.

Anyway, this is the way this run continued. A five kilometer run taking over an hour and twenty minutes to complete.

So we had done it, we had completed Strava’s first streak challenge and we loved it. I have never thought about running on consecutive days because I thought it would cause an injury without taking a break, but I had no problem.

We can’t wait for the next Strava challenge.


9 tips for making the most of your virtual race experience

Could You Complete Strava’s Ridiculously Tough Running Charity Challenge?

Since March, thousands of registered participants have faced disappointment over race cancellations and postponements because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With no clear end in sight, participants and race organizers a are starting to wonder if there will be any official races in 2020. 

Enter: virtual racing. 

While it has been a stressful and confusing time, race organizers, Run Ottawa, are starting to offer virtual race options to those who want to keep active, set goals and receive rewards and accolades for their accomplishments.

But what does ‘going virtual’ mean in the road racing world? For many of us, a virtual race can’t possibly replace the thrill and excitement of a live, in-person event.

We understand…it’s hard to imagine something you’ve never done before, so we don’t expect you to believe us when we tell you that running a virtual race is different, but it can still be an amazing, unforgettable and fulfilling experience

Here are nine tips for getting the most your virtual race participation: 


With spring being a popular race season, many runners were well into their training plans before COVID-19 shut our world down. Some runners have continued to follow them diligently, while others have, understandably, been thrown off-course with stress, homeschooling or other COVID19-related issues.

If you were signed-up for a marathon or a half marathon, and your training plans have gone awry but you’re still interested in taking part in a virtual race, consider transferring to a shorter distance if it better suits your current living situation.

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is offering free transfers for 2020, as are other events which have gone virtual. 

Some of you may have decided to take on running due to gym closures and sports programs being put on hold. It IS possible to train for anything from a 5K to a 10K in a matter of weeks.

Our friends at Running Room are now offering virtual training programs, and RunCoach offers a FREE training program to ALL Tamarack Ottawa Virtual Race Weekend participants—you simply check off the Run Coach box during the registration process, and they will contact you! If you registered prior to March 10, 2020, you can still receive Run Coach for free by emailing

SAFETY TIP: Now is not the time to try to push yourself beyond your limits. Work with a distance and pace that works for you. If you are registered for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon and are not comfortable with long training hours, consider dropping down to a shorter more accessible distance. This is your race.


A race has never been more about YOU, than a solo, virtual race. You are the only person holding yourself accountable and getting yourself to the finish line. Set an attainable but challenging goal for yourself.

Make sure no matter where your route is or how much you see, you are pushing yourself to achieve what you set out to accomplish. Set your ‘A-B-C’ goals before your race day.

Your A-B-C goals are intended to ensure you cross the finish line proud of your efforts and have different personal goals to fit various situations. For many runners, goals means time, but these can be any goals that you have for your race.

Your A goal is your perfect scenario goal. It may seem you are shooting at the stars, but on the perfect day it could happen. Think BIG. 

Your B goal is more within your reach, but still challenging. This goal is attainable and could happen without the ‘perfect’ race day. Push yourself!

Your C goal is a goal that leaves you satisfied and proud of your efforts.

There are many races that nothing goes as planned and the unexpected happens—this goal ensures you are still successful no matter the outcome of race day. For many runners, FINISHING is their C goal.

This way you will ALWAYS feel proud of your efforts no matter what circumstance you find yourself in on race day. 


“Already plotted out a 3K route past my house/water station which I will run 7 times .” —Heather Lewis, Run Ottawa member

Some runners will be racing on their basement treadmills, others will loop through the streets in their neighbourhood, while others may tackle a familiar trail.

This is your run, get creative and pick a route that works for you and follows your public health agencies’ guidelines. You could choose a simple route this guy or you could choose to mimic the course you were originally scheduled to race.

RacePointMaps offers elevation profiles of many races, including Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. 

Important! If you are running Tamarack Ottawa Virtual Race Weekend, we specifically ask that you do not use any of the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend routes as they will not be closed or policed. Please do not attempt a group run on race weekend—or at any time during the virtual race window. 

There are numerous resources available to assist you in planning the perfect, safe route such as Runkeeper, Strava, and Map My Run.All these applications have the option to create a personal route with GPS capabilities.

SAFETY TIP: Always run with your phone and make sure someone knows your route other than you, most of the timing apps (see #5) offer a live tracking feature that you can share with family or friends. Just a live race, you should have an emergency contact located on your bib or body in the unlihood that it is needed.


Too sunny? Looks rain? Do you prefer early morning runs or late afternoon rips? Which day of the week works best with your work and/or personal life? You have the unusual advantage of choosing the best day and time for your virtual race. We recommend setting a specific date and time that works for you—this will help you mentally and physically prepare for race day, just an established event. Be sure to tell your family and friends so they can provide support!

The beauty of a virtual race is that if the weather takes an unexpected turn, you have the flexibility of pushing your race to another day—just make sure your fans know. 


In a virtual race, you will not have access to a timing chip—which is normally attached to your race bib or secured around your ankle. But thanks to technology, there are a few options for virtual races! 

  1. Use a running GPS or smart watch such as Garmin, Timex, FitBit, Apple.
  2. Download a free tracking app such as Runkeeper or Strava.

For Tamarack Ottawa Virtual Race Weekend, our timing partner SportStats, has created a virtual race results platform which integrates with several popular run tracking services—there will be an option for a manual upload as well. Once you complete your race (woo!) you will be able to upload your finish time and be part of the official results page!


Give your virtual race even more meaning: run on behalf of a charity! During this unprecedented time, front line agencies and charities depend on much-needed funds and support to provide fundamental services to the community. 

The Scotiabank Charity Challenge, Tamarack Ottawa Virtual Race Weekend’s fundraising program, gives runners the opportunity to raise money for a charity of their choice.

Scotiabank generously covers all the costs associated with fundraising—from the online platform to the transaction and service fees—which means 100%* of funds raised go directly into the charities hands.

There are over 70 charities in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge who need your fundraising support in these difficult times!

Sometimes it takes more than one race to reach a goal. The Tamarack Ottawa Virtual Race Weekend is open from May 15 to September 7, which gives you lots of time to raise awareness and fundraising support for your virtual race. Why not challenge yourself by trying to beat your own time during this window? 

For example, on May 30 you run a 32 minute 5K. Good job! With more preparation, could you run a little faster? Through Sportstats, you can submit results multiple times, and they’ll take your best performance for the final results on September 7.

If you are running for a charity in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, you can use this as a way of capturing your family and friends’ attention and support! “Hey guys! I’m trying to beat my 5K time in support of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation! 100% of your donations go directly to the hospital!” Everyone wins.

BONUS: All participants who raise over $500 for their charity of choice receive a free entry into Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2021.


Your household can be your personal in-person cheering squad—have them assist is bringing you home through the finish line and serving up nuun and countless high fives. 

But what about crowd support along the course? The answer is Motigo! This free app is available to all Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend participants and allows your friends and family to record personalized audio messages that play to help motivate, inspire and  you throughout your entire race, through that dreaded kilometre and on the last mile where your legs are shaking. 

“Running a marathon alone and in a new city was a daunting experience.

It was so nice to have the opportunity to receive audio messages from my friends and family, delivered at the intervals of their choice, in my ears! Hearing their cheers, support, jokes, and love was just what I needed to stick it out and focus on my run. It was everything I needed to be reminded of what I was capable of and to not feel alone! I never want to run another race without Motigo!” —Michelle Hughes, Ottawa, ON 


Whether you’re training or racing, remember to physical distance through your ENTIRE run.

  • Don’t go running if you feel sick. Stay home. Run your race healthy. It’s virtual – you can do that!
  • Run alone—do not run with a group. PRO TIP: you can run together virtually by connecting with your crew through text or Messenger and running at the same time, but on different routes.
  • Stay two metres apart if you’re passing another runner or walker.
  • If you feel that someone is running too close to you, ask them to give you more space or let them pass.
  • DO NOT spit or blow snot-rockets.
  • Carry your own fuel, hydration, and hand sanitizer with—avoid drinking fountains and public bathrooms. PRO TIP: Plan a route that includes your own property and set up your own fuel/water station in your yard.
  • Steer clear of handrails or crosswalk signals (use your elbow!)—and avoid touching your face while running (we know it’s hard!).


Share your training, planned route, start line,, mid-run and finish line race-face with your friends and @RunOttawa @OttawaMarathon using #RunOttawa2020. Keep connected on your journey as we run virtually together. We can’t wait to celebrate with you after you crush your goal! 

Excited to try your first virtual race? Sign up for Tamarack Ottawa Virtual Race Weekend now!


What It Takes To Run 7 Marathons Through 7 Countries in 7 Days

Could You Complete Strava’s Ridiculously Tough Running Charity Challenge?

There’s no doubt you’ve been scrolling through your Instagram and stumbled across a post that just makes you think, ‘why would someone do that?’. Whether it’s squatting a few couple hundred kilograms, swimming in sub-zero waters or something in-between, people complete crazy feats for different reasons.

Related: These Are The Best Trail Runs And Ultramarathons You Can Do In South Africa

So what was the reason a group of guys ran 7 marathons across 7 countries in 7 days? Well, it’s all for a good cause. “The idea behind run777 is that it isn’t a race to the finish line.

It’s an epic adventure of achievement, camaraderie, breathtaking scenery and pushing [yourself] and [your] teammates to achieve something [you] never thought possible, all whilst raising money for a charity that will improve children’s lives.”

Here’s the story of how 3 men found themselves finishing this challenge just over a week ago.

1. Take On A Challenge That Scares You

Oliver Bath and a few of his local running mates, unofficially named ‘The Sounds Good Run Club’, all had at least one marathon under their belts. They had experienced that euphoric feeling of crossing the finish line for the first time, after months of blood, sweat and inevitable blisters. But, they were hungry for more, what exactly it was, they weren’t sure.

And then it came to them, they wanted to push themselves further than one marathon on one day in one country so they settled on lucky number 7; 7 marathons in 7 days across 7 countries.

Except, it was initially dismissed as ridiculous before gradually gaining acceptance. The ‘Sounds Good’ Run Club protests went from ‘that’s impossible’ to ‘sounds good’.

They formulated a plan, secured a coach from Greyling Coaching, and started their 7 months of training. “And run77 was born,” recalls Oliver.

It’s their second year doing run777. In 2018, Rob Cloete, Grant Sidwell, Antoon De Klerk and Oliver Bath kicked off the challenge. This year, Todd Hussey, Nicholas Shraga, Oliver Bath completed it.

2. Give Yourself Enough Time To Train

Training through a European winter or African summer is no small feat. Starting in September 2018 each runner kicked off their training with 40km weeks, building at 10% a week to meet the 100km weekly target, that according to their coach would have them ready to take on the challenge.

Over the course of the 7 months, each runner clocked over 1,500 kilometres of running. To put it into perspective, that’s the distance from Jozi to Cape Town.

Related: Why Mobility Training Will Increase Strength And Decrease Injuries

3. Find Something That Motivates You

Although the bulk of the training mileage completed by each runner was done solo, because of full-time jobs and families, between WhatsApp, and especially Strava, the runners still managed to remotely support and motivate each other. Coupled with the group camaraderie was the motivation of running for the Bokomoso Education Trust.

But even the training wasn’t all smooth-sailing. “For me, the toughest parts were during the training and not over the 7 days – that’s fuelled by adrenaline and hype.

It’s getting through the 7 months of mundane, and in many cases, solo hours of training to get you to the start line, that put you in a precarious position to potentially give up.

Knowing that the small things add up to the big things and reminding yourself that the daily mundane runs of a training schedule [adds to a] bigger goal, helps you to get through each week,” says Ollie.

4. Train Your Mind, Too

According to Ollie, the biggest challenge year one presented was a lack of experience. He knew that, logistically, they could cover the 7 countries in seven days without much of an issue.

The real challenge came down to the combination of the physical feat of running 7 consecutive marathons with the logistics of driving 7 countries in 7 days.

 But they had done the work, they had put in the mileage and prepared well.

But there’s another kind of training a lot of people overlook when training for a marathon; the mental challenge.

“For the most part, runners will complete the runs, as they’ve done the training, so the challenge here is learning how to enjoy yourself when the going gets tough,” he says.

“Mentally, the challenge only really starts to kick in on day 4. The toughest day on both tours has definitely been day number 4. This is when the adrenaline starts to wear off, the fatigue of running three marathons kicks in and the reality of the four marathons still ahead becomes real.”

Related: Sick Of Running? Change This And You’ll Change Your Mind

5. Rely On Others

“In this year’s event marathon number 4 took place in Liechtenstein and started in the snow at an altitude of 1,600m which we had to descend down 1,000m to 400m in the first 10km… pretty much running down a ski slope.

“That’s what gets us to the end of every day, the idea that we start together and we finish together.”

“On this day one of the team member’s knee packed-up and we had to grind through a 7-hour marathon to get to the finish line.

In this event, however, it is not a race against other athletes, this is a challenge of performing under intense situations, to not only motivate yourself, but motivate others to carry on going and get across the finish line.

 “That’s what gets us to the end of every day, the idea that we start together and we finish together.”

6. Expect The Unexpected

That’s something Ollie warns people about; the great unknown. “Expect the unexpected, knowing that not everything will go to plan is good preparation in itself as it allows you to cope with challenging situations in a light-hearted way.”

And it’s not just the race you can’t anticipate, it’s the people and emotions, too. “Your training doesn’t prepare you for how the people around you will react when they are under immense physical and mental strain.

It is an intimate 7 days, where you are spending a lot of time with people going through a rollercoaster of emotions – from the complete euphoria of a finish line to the depths of despair at 32km on run number 5.

When those inevitable tough days roll around, it’s important to have something bigger than yourself to run for; for them it was Bokomoso Education Trust.

Related: This 85-Year-Old Guy Just Crushed a Marathon In Under 4 Hours

7. Do It For A Good Cause

The Bokomoso Education Trust is a South African charity that is deeply involved in providing education for underprivileged children. Over the 2 years the Run77 members have managed to put two children through their schooling.

You can the Run777 page, to see what they are planning for 2020 and if you’re feeling inspired, you can join them. And you can get involved with the Bokomoso Education Trust, by sponsoring a child or just donating what you can.

Check out the video of this year’s run below:

READ MORE ON: cardio challenge inspiration Marathon motivation Running


Running Events in California 2020

Could You Complete Strava’s Ridiculously Tough Running Charity Challenge?

California has a wide range of running events on offer for runners of all standards and experience. There are lots of shorter distances over 5k or 10k which are great for getting the community involved and for providing a regular running routine.

Fun runs are always entertaining events, and often have a charity element, so you can do some fundraising whilst also getting dressed in fancy dress or covered in mud, colors, and bubbles. If you are looking for a bigger challenge, the Golden State puts on a number of half-marathons and marathons.

These often take place in the cities, and there are a variety of popular options in LA and San Francisco. Alternatively, California's stunning coastlines, rugged terrains outside of the cities, and historic National Parks provide amazing opportunities for trail running events.

The most famous of these is the Badwater Ultramarathon, which goes 135 miles through Death Valley.

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Californians are world famous for their active lifestyle. The Golden State draws people in from all over the world for its sporting events – and running is no exception.

With near perfect weather and gorgeous surroundings it's no wonder that some of the world's biggest and most famous running events are hosted here. Expect beautiful scenery, amazing people and big crowds on this international scene.

But, if you'd prefer to stay off the beaten path, California's culture has created the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of smaller events too.

What you need to know about running

Anyone can start running, all you need are a pair of running shoes and the proper motivation to get going. Cali has a super varied running scene.

So whether it's something on the shorter side a 5k or 10k, or maybe you'd prefer a more lengthy challenge, check out half marathons, marathons, or ultramarathons in California, you'll be able to find something that suits.

These races can vary from the competitive to the downright ridiculous and everywhere in between – you'll even find races that greet you with a glass of wine at the finish line.

New to running? The 5k or 10k events can be a great challenge to help you find your running feet. You'll discover that these events often to mix in a bit of fun too. The LA Color Run is all about covering everyone around you in giant clouds of colour.

Then there's the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot which will pitch your best costume up against 25,000 other competitors. Finishing times can vary widely for these events, the 5k can take anything from 20 minutes to an hour, whereas the 10k can take anything from an hour upwards.

Our advice if you're on the fence, get yourself to a big event where the cheering crowd will spur you on to the finish line.

If you're looking to stretch your legs further, check out our pages for the half marathon and marathon.

If you're not too worried about smashing your PR, then you might enjoy the lighter side of these events at the Disney World Marathon Weekender.

But, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a speed demon, then the California International Marathon has a reputation for being fast – and it's a Boston Qualifier event.

For those endurance addicts out there, Cali is also famous for it's ultramarathon events. These are any footrace measuring over 26.2 miles in length, and can get seriously long. For example the Badwater Ultramarathon lasts for 135 miles through Death Valley.

The comparatively 'tame' Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race is another famous and stunning example. You'll want to take your time in these events, enjoy the scenery and strap in for the long haul.

We've found that both the competitors and crowds at Ultras are some of the friendliest around.

Training for a running event

Training is hard, but we think it's essential.

Try to link up with some friends and start a training plan together ahead of a big race – this really helps with motivation and can bring a real edge to your training.

Have a look at some of our suggested training plans to get you up to race pace: 5k Training Plan; 10k Training Plan; Half Marathon Training Plan; Marathon Training Plan; Ultramarathon Training Plan.