March 15, 2024

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‘I Loved Doing It…:’ Kettering Man Runs Marathon Or Half-marathon on Every Continent

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‘I Loved Doing It...:' Kettering Man Runs Marathon Or Half-marathon on Every Continent

Just before turning 50, Frank Williams completed his first marathon and kept going. Williams has completed marathons or half-marathons on every continent, including Antarctica, and is now 76 years old.

“I’ve done 19 marathons—10 overseas,” he says, adding most of his overseas runs were completed after he turned 60.

Williams has been a runner ever since she earned a track letter in high school. During law school, long runs helped him to relax. He moved his young family to Oakwood where he joined ad hoc group of neighborhood runners after settling into his job as a trust officer at a nearby bank. He ran at the downtown YMCA during lunch.

“They ran 20 miles a week, and they were serious. So I did too,” says Williams, who presently calls Kettering home. One Sunday morning, he watched the New York Marathon on television. Williams thought to himself, “I bet I could do that.” He qualified the following year and placed among the top 10,000.

He was hooked. “One marathon a year, I resolved.”

He just happened to be in London while the London Marathon was being run. Williams remarked that he enjoyed seeing the runners pass by famous landmarks. In 2000, he returned and took over the operation.

Williams made her reservation through Marathon Tours, which managed her registration for the race and provided additional tours. Long-distance runners served as tour guides. Williams was so pleased with his travels that he committed to running a full or half marathon on each continent to join the company’s Seven Continents Club®.

Williams traveled throughout Europe one year at a time, visiting Prague, Berlin, Los Angeles, and Dublin twice. He stopped for oysters and champagne at water stations while running through the Médoc wine region of France. South America was satisfied by Easter Island, a territory of Chile.

It was a beautiful day to run in Auckland, New Zealand. “Around every corner was a more spectacular view,” Williams says.

He put in a lot of work, running 40 to 50 miles per week well into his 60s. However, he started to slow down when he started to suffer from stress injuries. “The trick was getting to the starting line healthy,” he explains, noting he had more starting lines waiting for him.

The Great Wall of China was a stunning location in 2015, but the route along the historic wall had more than 5,000 steps. Williams reluctantly chose to run a half marathon on that trip. “I’ve never been the fastest, so that’s okay. Being there was something I loved, so I did it.”

For the Amazing Masai Marathon, which was held just outside of Aberdare National Park, Williams and his wife Debbie flew into Nairobi, Kenya, the year after. Williams claims that it essentially resembled a trail run at 6,000 feet while tracking through the underbrush just outside the park. Runners visited the animal park after the race. “Lions were walking right next to the jeep,” Williams says. “It was spectacular.”

Williams traveled by ship to Antarctica in celebration of his 70th birthday in March 2017. Summer came to an end in March, with highs in the 30s. However, when the runners moved to land in the rubber zodiac boats, they were warned that they might need to stop the race because storm squalls move in quickly.

“We were lucky,” The weather cooperated, according to Williams, allowing the runners to travel the government research stations’ dirt roads. “Snow was not necessary for us to run on. Glaciers, however, could be seen all around you if you looked up.”

And penguins. Williams said of the post-race tours of the region, “Given the distance, there must have been 10,000 penguins.”

In 2018, Williams completed his global running journey in Patagonia, South America. Instead of running, he now covers up to 20 miles per week of land or water. As a trust officer, he continues to work part-time. He claims that is enough work for his arthritic knees.

“I loved doing it,” he says of his overseas runs. “To cross the finish line smiling, that is the best thing that could possibly happen.”

Reference: www.daytondailynews.com

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