Life After Loudoun: Local Marathoner Plans Running Expedition to Antarctica

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Loudoun athlete Jodi Morton will head to Antarctica in mid-March to compete in her first international marathon. Courtesy photo.

Ashburn (February 5, 2017) — It’s not every day that one ventures to Antarctica, much less to run a marathon!  On March 10 and 11, 200 runners will tackle a challenging 26.2 mile or 13.1 mile course on King George’s Island.

Local runner, Jodi Morton, will be departing in early March for the two-week adventure that begins in Argentina to board one of the Russian polar vessels that will be home for the 10-day expedition to the “last continent”.  This journey requires rigorous training as well as being properly prepared for the varying elements.

“I have a group of girl friends that run marathons, half marathons and other race challenges with me. For most of us our goal is to run a marathon in all 50 states and on each of the 7 continents,” Morton said. “In early 2015, one of the ladies in my group pitched the idea to tackle Antarctica, so we signed up and started saving money for this once in a lifetime trip.”

Loudoun Sports Therapy CenterOrganized by Marathon Tours & Travel in 1995, this race has provided a unique running challenge for adventure athletes while maintaining a commitment to protecting the environment. For example, MTT uses two ships to limit the number of runners and supporters at 100 people on each of the two days to ensure minimal impact. Since the race’s inception, more than $180,000 has been raised for Oceanites, a non-profit scientific organization focused on Antarctica.

“To race on Antarctica is a goal of many runners.  On average we have participants from more than 20 countries that join us for this tour that takes you to the most pristine corner of the planet,” race director Thom Gilligan said. “With a team of experienced professionals from logistics to medical doctors to photographers, we set the stage for an experience of a life time.”

Morton – who has called Loudoun home since 2004 – has completed 22 marathons in 18 U.S. states, including the Marine Corps Marathon, the Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll Marathon and the Disney Mickey Mouse Marathon.  Antarctica will be her first international marathon.

“In 2005, my sister and I decided to train for and run the Marine Corps Marathon — the first marathon for both of us,” Morton said. “I started running as a way to get back in shape after having three kids. Along the way, I have made really good friends that I now travel with to run marathons.  I continue to run as a way to stay active, travel to places I might not otherwise go, and have quality time with some really great friends.”

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Owen Gotimer has a passion for helping people grow and self-educate through new media. Owen spent his college years at Syracuse University, where he studied broadcast and digital journalism in the renowned Newhouse School of Public Communications. In his "free time", Owen volunteers as a varsity baseball coach at John Champe and is the president of the Jeffrey C. Fowler Memorial Scholarship.

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