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Posted: February 8, 2007

Athletics: World Record, Notable Firsts Expected At 2007 Antarctica Marathon

Wheelchair Participant Returns

BOSTON (February 8, 2007) – A new world record is anticipated at one of the most grueling marathons on Earth.

The Guinness World Record for the shortest duration to complete marathons on all seven continents (women) is expected to be set by Jeanne Stawiecki of Charlton, Mass. at the 8th Antarctica Marathon on Feb. 26, 2007.

Stawiecki, 56, is expected to accomplish this feat in 141 days, breaking the current record by 68 days. The Antarctica Marathon, presented by Capella University, will be Stawiecki’s frigid finale in her seven continent quest.

“All Jeanne has to do is show up and finish the race before the six and one-half hour cut-off time and she will be the new world record holder,” said Thom Gilligan, president of Boston-based Marathon Tours and Travel, the event organizer.

Showing up at the race will be a Herculean effort in itself.

On Feb. 19th, 188 athletes from 17 countries will travel an average of 7,000 miles to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southern-most city in the world. There they will board two Russian ice-breaker ships for a two-day crossing of the Drake Passage, some of the roughest waters in the world. The race is held on King George Island, located just off the Antarctic Peninsula.

Finishing a marathon on the coldest, windiest and most remote continent on earth is not exactly a walk in the park either. The marathon’s two-loop course transverses up and down a steep glacier and through rocky streams. The course also takes participants past Russian, Chilean, Uruguayan and Chinese research bases.

Other notable Antarctica Marathon entrants include:

William Tan (Singapore) – A Harvard-educated neuroscientist, Tan aspires to be the event’s first wheelchair finisher. He first attempted this monumental feat at the 2005 Antarctica Marathon but unusually warm weather caused mud to clog his wheels, forcing him to abandon his marathon goal. He instead finished the half marathon. William had made significant changes to his wheelchair and will return to Antarctica to reach his Antarctic goal.

Wesam Mahmoud (Jacksonville, N.C.) - A former US Marine, Mahmoud received a Purple Heart after being wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He is a recent graduate of Capella University's MBA program and is now pursuing a PhD at Capella in educational psychology.

Melissa Hill (Minneapolis, Minn.) - A Capella University graduate student, Hill lost more than 150 pounds in the last three years though a commitment to running and healthy eating.

Michelle Johnston (Lake City, Minn.) - A mother of four, Johnston is a Capella University graduate student who had to learn to walk again after breaking her neck in a car crash. She also survived being struck by lightning and recently conquered cancer.

Don Kern (Grand Rapids, Mich.) – On track to break the Guinness World Record for the shortest period of time for a man to complete a marathon on all seven continents, Kern hopes to complete this amazing feat in just 35 days, bettering the former World Record of 91 days. The Antarctica Marathon will be his fourth marathon in his “seven marathons on seven continents in 35 days” quest.

Ginny Turner (Hillsboro, Ore.) - A grandmother of five, Turner will be the first women to finish marathons on all seven continents twice.

For more information on the Antarctica Marathon, please visit, write to or call (617) 242-7845.

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