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613. Deirdre Keane, 2023 World Marathon Challenge Women's Champion

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“They said, ‘Deirdre, think of where you were when you signed up for this, and where you are now. And just enjoy this moment.’ And so I turned off the music, and I just enjoyed the serenity of running at night, thinking of my dad next to me, thinking of the person I was when I signed up for this, and who I am now. And I crossed that finish line and absolutely fell apart in the best way possible. It’s something I’ll never, ever forget.”

You probably remember Deirdre Keane: the pediatric ICU nurse from New York City who was featured on Humans of New York, talking about how losing her dad (an avid runner) to cancer inspired her to become a marathon runner. Today, Deirdre returns to the Ali on the Run Show to talk about her latest, most intense challenge to date: completing the World Marathon Challenge. Earlier this month, Deirdre ran seven marathons in seven days on seven different continents — and was the fastest woman to do so. In this conversation (perfect for your next long run!), she talks about everything this challenge entailed, including how she got involved, how she trained, and how she packed. Then, we break down all the details from each 26.2-mile race on each continent. She ran a marathon in Antarctica in -25 degree temperatures, and ran one in Australia on a 95-degree day. She ran a 32-loop course in Europe, and hit a low point somewhere between Europe and South America. And in true Deirdre form, she did it all for a good cause: to raise money for Vibrant Emotional Health, an organization that addresses mental health needs in New York City and across the nation.

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What you’ll get on this episode:

  • How Deirdre is feeling, three days post-adventure (3:00)
  • Why Deirdre wanted to complete the World Marathon Challenge (4:45)
  • How Deirdre prepared for this challenge — physically and mentally — and how she packed for the trip (8:30)
  • Deirdre’s fueling strategy for each marathon (17:00)
  • The biggest mistake Deirdre made along the way (20:20)
  • All about the bathroom situation for the trip (23:30)
  • Why Deirdre was running to raise money for Vibrant Emotional Health (27:00)
  • What the bond among participants was like (28:15)
  • All about Antarctica (31:00)
  • All about Africa (38:50)
  • All about Australia (48:00)
  • All about Asia (56:20)
  • All about Europe (1:00:50)
  • All about South America (1:07:10)
  • All about the final marathon: North America (1:18:50)
  • What happened once all of the races were complete (1:24:00)

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