June 2020 - Brent Weigner (USA) -10x Ultramarathon world record holder
Read his incredible, inspiring story, childhood and reason (or no reason) to run. 10 ultramarathon world record holder, ran marathon in 181 countries and more to go.
1. Please tell our readers about you, your background and how you got into running.
Once upon a time there was a kid who loved to run so much that he spent most of his life running around the world. I am that seventy-year old kid. When growing up as a child I remember always liking to run, or at least move. I didn’t need any inspiration because I just liked challenges. It didn’t matter why I ran as long as I was moving. When people ask me why I run, I ask them why do birds fly and fish swim? Do we really need a reason to run? I played games like kick the can, hide and seek, ditch them, and many other games we invented. I was the oldest of the three children in our family. My mother was a homemaker and my father worked as a Civil Engineer. They kept us busy by registering us for numerous organized activities such as square dancing, Cub Scouts, football, baseball, swimming, and others. I loved sports and competition. My younger brother and sister weren’t as keen on sports as I was. Now days I am the only one who still competes in organized sports, specifically running races of varying distances around the world. I had undiagnosed ADHD in my childhood days and faced many challenges. I repeated third grade when we moved from Salt Lake City, Utah, back to Denver, Colorado. I was different. In high school my younger brother and sister made the National Honor Society and I did not because I probably spent too much time doing other things rather than studying. I also thought the group was just a bunch of brainy kids who weren’t very well rounded. I did not have a particular peer group because I basically associated with most everyone. I hung out with the brainy kids, played sports with the jocks, and rodeoed with the cowboys. If one group was distressing me, I would just pop over to another group. When I took the ACT Test for college, I scored a 17 which was considered a low score. My Guidance Counselor suggested I join the military or enroll in a trade school because I wasn’t college material. Obviously test scores can’t predict the future. When I retired from teaching in 2010, I had earned a Ph.D. and was the highest paid teacher in the school district. When people refer to me as overachiever, I accept it as a compliment. Afterall, who wants to be an underachiever?
2. You hold 10 world records in ultra running, tell us which one you are most proud of and which is the most special one.
I think the world record I'm most proud of is I’m the only person in the world to have run ultramarathons at the Geographic South Pole (1-22-02) and the Geographic North Pole (4-17-03). The marathon/ultramarathon at the South Pole has not been repeated because of the extremely dangerous conditions such as the weather, elevation, and the remote location. When I ran to the South Pole the actual temperature was minus 35 Fahrenheit and we had a quartering headwind that made the chill factor 50 below zero Fahrenheit. Only two of us finished the ultramarathon. Dean Karnazes dropped out after the marathon finish because Richard Donovan had defeated him in the marathon. Dean was not willing to go back out and finish the 50K which we later shortened to a 45K because of the dangerous conditions.
3. You ran a marathon in 181 countries already, which is the most special one.
When people ask me what my favorite marathon was, I tell them the next one. It is extremely difficult to pick a special marathon. Many of my marathons are special not because of the race itself, but other activities before or after the race such as cage diving with Great White Sharks, trekking to see Mountain Gorillas, training cheetahs, milking cobras, and so many other adventures. One of my favorite ultramarathons was the Marathon Des Sables (January 16, 2000). That 150-mile stage race convinced me to do the Four Desserts race series in the Atacama, the Sahara, the Gobi, and Antarctica. On January 27, 2006, at Base Esperanza, we ran the first 100 mile on the continent of Antarctica.
4. There are not too many countries left on earth, which is the next and which country do you think is the most difficult to get in?
Yes, it is true I don’t have that many countries left to run marathons in if using the United Nations list. However, I also use ISO List number 3166 which includes 249 countries, 193 of which are sovereign states that are members of the United Nations. I also organize small marathons (limited to 20 runners) in countries that don’t currently have marathons such as the Vatican City, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Unfortunately, a few countries are considered too dangerous and I cannot get a visa. I would like to run North Korea, however, Americans are not welcome. My next scheduled marathon was Papua New Guinea on July 26, 2020. However, that race has been postponed until July 25, 2021. I’m hoping to run Antigua and Barbuda on October 11, 2020.