“All my life… I always did crazy things,” says Chau Smith, a 70-year old Missouri woman woman whose favorite pastime is challenging herself, in a recent interview with CNN.
It is widely accepted that the minimum recovery time after running a marathon is 26 days, or one day for every mile run. Experts sometimes stretch this to 42 days, or one day for every kilometer. In reality, however, recovery time is fully dependent on the athlete’s body and their ability to tune in to its signals and strength.
Smith has become an expert at this. She did the unthinkable when she ran four marathons in five weeks, then did it again as she ran ten marathons in a year. Having ran 70 marathons in a lifetime was not enough for Smith, so she decided to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents earlier this year.
Chau (bottom left) at the beginning of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Photo courtesy of nbcnews.com.
And that she did: from January 24th to January 31st, Smith ran 26.2 miles in Perth, Australia, again in Singapore, then Cairo, Amsterdam, Garden City, New York, Punta Arenas, Chile, and King George Island, Antarctica. After each run, she would immediately board a plane to the next city to do it all over again. It took her eight months to train for this event.
Smith was joined by nine other runners in the event organized by Marathon Adventures. Despite the unforeseen obstacles presented, such as blistering 100 degree heat in Australia and plane delays in Cairo, Smith did not give up.
Smith’s adamant character has been with her since childhood: “When I was young in Vietnam, I was a stubborn kid. My family always never knew what I was going to do. I always showed them I can do it, just like boys.” She has been running since the 70’s, and has grown to love it even more with time: “I can’t really put it into words,” she says. “[I] never go someplace without looking for the race.”