At the Sioux Falls School District, we sometimes take for granted that we are surrounded every day by amazing people. And even beyond the tremendous work that happens daily in the lives of students, many of our employees have incredible personal lives or have achieved amazing things outside of work that most people would never know about.
Take Dr. Laura Raeder, for example. Laura is the High School Curriculum Coordinator for the Sioux Falls School District, but recently, in her free time, she was one of 35 individuals from around the world who took part in the Triple 7 Quest.
What is the Triple 7 Quest, you ask? Oh, nothing really. Just running seven marathons, in seven days, on all seven continents.
Here’s the website to learn a little more.
Here’s the Facebook Page where you can see their progress from beginning to end.
At the Instructional Planning Center, Laura had her own fan club, complete with a map of daily updates throughout the journey near her office. Around the clock, coworkers cheered on Facebook.
Laura is back at work now, and she made us promise to wait until she was before we started asking questions. We couldn’t wait to ask, and here’s what she shared about this amazing adventure:
Q. Before we get into the most recent adventure, can you tell me about when and why you first started running?
A. It is hard to say why I started running. Basically, I was at the gym and others were running on the treadmill, so I tried it. I started with just a few minutes at a time and built from there.
What was your first marathon?
I ran Fargo in May of 2009. This was a great first race for me – close to home, flat, and cool. I was able to travel and run with friends who were also running their first marathon.
Even before this latest undertaking, you’ve already been all over the country running marathons. Tell me about that.
I was fortunate enough to complete a marathon in each state from North Dakota in May of 2009 to South Carolina in December 2013. This was a phenomenal experience. I enjoyed my limited time in each state. Meeting people, traveling, and visiting parts of our country I have only heard about. The travels gave me perspective on our country and its values. I especially enjoyed escaping the SD winters to run in warmer climates!
So, after you ran a marathon IN ALL 50 STATES, were you just sitting around bored, wondering what you should do next? How did you hear about the Triple 7 Quest, and on a scale of 1-to-complete-and-utter-insanity, how crazy do you have to be to consider doing it?
There is a marathon in Berlin, Germany that is hard for Americans to gain entry. The marathon course goes through the Brandenburg Gate….this is where the first images of the Berlin Wall coming down could be seen. This event impacted me. I would like to run this course some day. One way to gain entry into this marathon for an American is to go through a travel company. So I sign-up to receive emails from a marathon travel company. Triple 7 Quest was one event that was advertised on these emails. It seemed just crazy enough to try!
How do you train for something like this?
Run and walk a lot! Spend time on your feet. This is not about having a personal record during one of these marathons—drinking water, eating, sleeping on planes, just getting through the 26.2 miles.
Walk me through how the trip began and the people you were on this journey with.
We all met in Melbourne on the day before the first race. We had a pasta dinner and reviewed the logistics of the event. We were full of energy, fresh and ready to run! That changed….over the week.
At one point, you ran 78 miles in 30 hours. I’ve owned cars that couldn’t have done that.
I did? Wow! You just did it….everyone in the group was suffering…we just supported one another.
Lots of people know what jet lag feels like. Some know what your body feels like after a marathon. How suicide-inducing is the combination of the two, over and over again?
Sleeping on planes has never been something I was great at….I am AWESOME now! I slept during all my flights in between races. The racing and jet lag was hard on me, but the flying was horrible. My legs and ankles swelled….even with compression pants and socks on. My legs would throb. My only solution was to elevate my legs when possible and drink water.
What were the best parts about this undertaking?
Seeing the world….mostly airports! But, I was able to meet people from all parts of the world, and see glances of different cultures.
Favorite spots or moments from the “trip”?
I enjoyed my time in Abu Dhabi….The weather was amazing and the buildings were so different from the structures in the Midwest.
Take me to South America and the last leg of the journey.
We flew in to Punta Arenas late in the afternoon of Feb 13th. We had 2 hours to change/eat and then started running. We ran next to the Straight of Magellan. The course was out and back four times. When we completed our 2nd loop we were told that the bus would leave for the airport (to fly to Antarctica) at 1:30 AM. When we finished the South American marathon, we quickly showered, ate, and boarded the bus to the airport. Once at the airport, we checked in and waited. We boarded the plane and flew within twenty-minutes of landing at the King George Island Airport. The pilot’s voice came over the intercom and told us that we were not able to land due to visibility. We turned around and returned to the Punta Arenas airport. We waited in the airport and at the hotel for 3.5 days. The plane did not take off again….and I returned to SD.
I suppose some would wonder if you feel let down after being so close to the end and not being able to hit Antarctica… Maybe you knew all along something could come up?
I am disappointed that I did not run in Antarctica, but I am happy with the 6 marathons in 6 days.
After something like this, what could possibly be next? Ultramarthons? A marathon on each planet in the solar system?
I am looking for suggestions….
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We are extremely proud of Laura and her tremendous accomplishments. Laura’s work for the District continues, and Monday night, February 23, Laura will not only be the focus of the Good News Report because of her recent accomplishments, she will also present reports on High School Summer School and dual credit opportunities for high school students. As always, the public is welcome at this Board meeting, but if you can’t be there and want to learn more about Laura’s amazing journey, you can watch the meeting live on KLRN TV, Your Sioux Falls Classroom Connection (Midco channels 20 and 595) or online at the Sioux Falls School District’s website.
Below are more links about the Quest. Congratulations, Laura!
Here is a Runner’s World article on the Triple 7 Quest.
And another from Run Haven.