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Marathon Challenge: PCH Grad Competes in the 777

Abby Prywitch, Staff writer

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PCH grad, Josh Samson crosses the finish line in Miami. Samson took part in the 777 which is seven marathons, in seven days, on 7 different continents. Photo courtesy of World Marathon Challenge.

Running one marathon is taxing to the body. Imagine running seven marathons in seven days. Now combine that with traveling around the world. Is that even possible?
Josh Samson, PCH 1993 grad, took part in the 777, otherwise known as the World Marathon Challenge (WMC). The 777 is a race in which participants run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Samson started running in his 20’s and he is currently 42.
Before this event, he took part in six other marathons and four or five half marathons. When Samson started running it was just as a way to get exercise. For Samson this was an opportunity to do something that only about 50 people in the world have done before the event this year.
“I like the challenge of it, both mental and physical challenge,” Samson said. “I like the exclusivity of it. When the person who asked me to do it posed the question to me, I couldn’t say no. I had to do it.”
The seven races were in Novo, Antarctica; Cape Town, South Africa; Perth, Australia; Dubai, UAE; Lisbon, Portugal; Cartagena, Colombia and Miami, Florida.
“There wasn’t really a sense of jet lag. I was just tired all of the time,” Samson said. The participants were running both day and night depending on the location. After a while, Samson started losing track of time.
Samson traveled on a VIP charter plane with business class lay flat seats. Samson had the same seat throughout, so he could leave stuff on the plane. That way Samson didn’t have to lug around that much.
Training for this week started a year-and-a-half prior to completing this challenge. Samson ran the Dopey Challenge in Disney World in January of 2017.
“That was a four day race consisting of a 5k, 10k, a half marathon, then a full marathon,” Samson said.
That was not the only marathon scheduled for all of the 777 runners training, but in July of 2017 Samson got a calcaneus stress fracture which kept him from running until late October.
Twelve weeks before the WMC, Samson spent his time injured doing training to stay off the foot like swimming, stationary bike, and deep water running.
In November, he started going on long runs five days a week.
“For example, I would run ten miles, thirteen miles, fifteen miles, and eighteen miles in a four-day span,” Samson said.
At the beginning of January, three weeks prior to the WMC, Samson ran the Goofy Challenge. It’s the same as the Dopey Challenge, but just includes the half and full marathons.
“Throughout I worked regularly with a personal trainer to build muscle and core strength,” Samson said.
Leading up to the event Samson was nervous because he didn’t know what to expect. Samson would be traveling to seven continents in the matter of 168 hours.
“I knew I was gonna be tired, I knew I was doing to hurt and I knew I was going to be hungry all of the time. I didn’t really know how my body was going to hold up and I just hoped that I wasn’t doing to get any injuries during it,” Samson said.
After the fifth marathon Samson developed shin splints in his right leg.
“It was incredibly painful,” Samson said. “I had to endure that for the last two races. It made running the kind of races I wanted to run very difficult/impossible but did not prevent me from finishing.” Once he got home it took about three weeks for the shin splints to fully recover.
“I think one of the most important reasons that I decided to run was because we had a goal to raise a significant amount of money for charity. Between our group of sixteen people on my team we raised over a million dollars for eleven different charities that we were supporting, ” Samson said. Samson’s team website to learn more and to donate is 777marathon.com/donate.
“After I felt pure exhilaration. Tremendous sense of accomplishments,” Samson said.

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Marathon Challenge: PCH Grad Competes in the 777