Woman plans Triple 7 quest

Published 6:20 pm Monday, January 9, 2017

Nine people. Seven continents. Seven marathons. Seven days. Countless flights. Multiple layers of clothing. More training and logistics than can possibly be enumerated.

All of it has gone into the upcoming Triple 7 Quest one Suffolk woman will be embarking on later this month.

Lisa Davis, a retired U.S. Marine Corps major who lives in North Suffolk, has been knocking off running goals in the last year.

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In March, she completed her 100th marathon. In September, she ran a marathon in Hawaii to cap off her goal of completing a marathon in all 50 states.

But this month, she hopes to achieve a goal so lofty, fewer than 1,000 people have done it, although counts vary of exactly how many.

Davis and a group of eight other people will be attempting to run a marathon on each of the seven continents within seven days.

“Everyone thinks I’m completely off my rocker,” said Davis, whose husband bought her the quest package for her birthday. “He might think I’m crazy, but he paid for it.”

If they can accomplish the task, Davis and the others will join an elite group of runners that have completed a marathon on every continent, as well as the even more exclusive group that has done it within such a short period of time.

The trip requires lots of training, both in running and in logistics, Davis said.

“We’ve gone over this a thousand times on how this is all going to work,” she said.

The trip starts in Singapore on Jan. 25. The runners will move on to Australia on Jan. 26, Egypt on Jan. 27, the Netherlands on Jan. 28, New York City on Jan. 29 and Chile on Jan. 30.

Once the marathon in Chile is complete, the group will aim to make it to King George Island, off the coast of Antarctica, by the next day to do their seventh marathon in seven days. However, should the weather not cooperate, there is a five-day window to get to the frozen tundra.

“The plan is very tentative,” Davis said.

Davis has been training at night here in Virginia to get the coldest temperatures possible.

“I’m trying to do about 10 miles a day,” she said. “I’m trying to frame it so I get most of it done when it’s cooler out.”

She also recently returned from running in Florida, where she soaked up some warmer temperatures.

Temperatures are expected to be high in Australia and Singapore, moderate in Egypt and cold everywhere else. Davis has been especially training for the cold weather and talking with those who have completed the challenge before to get a feel for what to expect.

“I’m always cold, so I’m preparing for the worst,” she said. “My understanding is the weather in New York and the weather in Antarctica are going to be about the same.”

On King George Island, the runners will be cheered on by scientific researchers, seals and penguins, among other adoring fans. Their quest complete, they’ll also get to tour research facilities and sleep under the stars in polar tents before returning to South America.

That’s where Davis plans to cap off the journey with an unprecedented eighth marathon, adding another in South America just for a challenge.

The logistics of the quest alone are enough to make one’s head spin. The runners have already mailed their gear to some of the destinations so that it will be there on time. Their luggage has been provided by the company, Marathon Adventures, to ensure it will fit on all of the flights. They can’t check any baggage, to avoid having to wait for it. Multiple flights must go smoothly for the trip to work. On some flights, they will be already dressed and headed straight to their race as soon as they step off the plane.

Davis said most of her friends support the back-to-back marathon concept but are only concerned about the flying time.

“They’re like, ‘You’re not going to sleep,’” she said.

Davis said she’s already getting nervous for the trip and is nursing a knee that doesn’t want to cooperate. But she’s determined to complete her Triple 7 quest. If she does, she believes she’ll be the first African-American woman to run a marathon on all seven continents in fewer than 10 days.

“I have to do it in less than 10,” she said. “If it’s nine days, I’ll still break a record.”

And she doesn’t even plan to stop running after she’s accomplished the most elusive running achievement possible. In May, she plans to run the Great Wall Marathon — yes, that’s a marathon atop the Great Wall of China.