OWR certifies that from July 29th 2017 and August 5th 2017, Elizabeth Sanden from San Clemente (California), USA. Has done an Official World Record for:
First Handcycle Marathon in Seven South African Countries in 8 days (female).
Elizabeth Sanden has done the following marathons:
South Africa, 29 July 2017: Ladybrand Border Marathon. Time: 04:47:03;
Lesotho, 30 July 2017:Maseru Bridge Marathon. Time: 03:47:20;
Swaziland, 31 July 2017: Sand River Marathon.Time: 06:07:49;
Zimbabwe, 2 August 2017: Hwange Marathon. Time: 03:35:13;
Botswana, 3 August 2017: Chobe Marathon. Time: 04:46:10;
Namibia, 4 August 2017: Impalila Island Marathon. Time: 04:35:19;
Zambia, 5 August 2017: Zambezi Waterfront Marathon. Time: 04:28:06.
Official World Record cares about special people. So, it’s a great honor (again!) to collaborate with Elizabeth Sanden, and to register her amazing and new Official World Record. First Handcycle Marathon in Seven South African Countries in 8 days (female).
When Sanden suffered a cycling accident back on 2002 and become paraplegic, was never supposed to walk again. But she is a strong person, and with a handcycle, she is completing a lot of marathons all over the world.
With the organization Z Adventures, (here can be viewed the results of the 7 marathons in 8 days in 7 african countries, http://z-adventures.org/2017-sac-results.html) she decided on 2017, to broke another Official World Record, after doing Seven Marathons on Seven Continents and the North Pole Marathon. Via handcycle. First female.
Sanden enlisted the help of Challenged Athletes Foundation in San Diego, which Sanden has worked with closely since her accident, in finding potential donors of good used equipment for disabled athletes, including pieces like handcycles and race chairs. (link to the Foundation http://www.challengedathletes.org) “I’ve done more since I’ve been injured than I had prior,” said Sanden, of San Clemente (California, USA).
Please read the article by Fred Swegles in The Orange County Register:
After completing seven marathons on seven continents – plus the North Pole Marathon – since 2011, what does partially paralyzed San Clemente athlete Beth Sanden do for an encore?
How about completing the Southern Africa Challenge – seven 26.2-mile marathons in seven days in seven countries— on her handcycle?
Sanden, 63, returned home Aug. 7 from a whirlwind series of marathons that ended up taking eight days instead of seven because instability in Mozambique led the organizers to do the seventh marathon in
Zambia instead. She and her husband Burt were welcomed by locals, dodged some wildlife and overcame travel obstacles through South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia.
An accomplished marathoner and triathlete, Sanden was paralyzed below the waist by a 2002 bicycle accident. With grit and determination, she regained some of her mobility and left behind her wheelchair.
She is able to walk with the use of a cane. She has become a face for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, doing triathlons and marathons using a handcycle.
We asked Sanden about the Southern Africa Challenge:
Q: What led you to do seven marathons in seven African countries?
A: I met three friends in the Antarctica race from two years ago that encouraged me to do the race with them. We kept in touch through social media. One of the friends was the organizer of this challenge and race director, Ziyad Rahim. Ziyad (or “Z” as we call him) owns “Z Adventures” and puts together marathon challenges around the world.
Q: What were some of the adventures you encountered during the challenge?
A: We had more adventures to fill a book in the short time we were together. We had several challenges. Crossing the borders of seven different countries is a feat in itself, acquiring visas beforehand for several of the participants, including me. Making those border closing times after the marathon was interesting. Not a lot of showering was taking place, especially for the slow ones (who) didn’t have time to shower before leaving for the border.
Q: Can you describe the seven races?
A: The first race in South Africa was at 4,000 feet and it went well. The second race in Lesotho was at 7,000 feet and around the embassy areas that were surrounded with guards and loaded AK 47s. Swaziland, the third race, we had cattle crossings, giraffe and wild goat crossings. Running on dirt roads and or pushing the mountain handcycle was tough. The road was a dirt and hard packed sand. I had kids getting out of grade school that ran with me the last mile, as they had never seen anyone in a race chair before. They sat on my lap, each of them at the finish line, just to get a picture with me.
Q: Did you have any encounters with wildlife?
A: We had to change the course of the fourth marathon in Botswana due to elephant crossings – they do charge at people. The night before, we heard hyenas outside the compound going after some animal and making their high-pitched barking all night. This race, I wondered if I would be able to finish. The race director pulled us back twice due to elephant sightings. Plus there was a lion sighting the day before we came in.
Q: How was it, traveling from one race to the next?
A: We arrived very late to the fifth race in Zimbabwe and there are no street lights out in the dirt roads in the back country. Our GPS took us to the “other road,” a back road to the compound. We landed in a ditch with our small bus, which holds 25, and our trailer’s front left tires stuck in a ditch in the pitch black of night. But our crew had flashlights and headlamps ready and we jumped out and found branches to put under the tires and managed to get out without calling Triple A, ha! We found out later that this road was a typical elephant crossing.
Q: Did those conditions affect you, trying to do marathons on a handcycle?
A: This race was pulled twice for me, due to the deeper sand and tilted road in the compound. I could not get through it. So the race director, Ziyad, allowed me to go 200 meters just outside the compound, and then I got pulled again for an animal sighting – elephants and zebras. The manager of the compound we stayed at talked to the race director, with my influence, to go to a nearby town and finish the marathon in a game park’s parking lot, where it would be safe. Yay! Four others went with me, as well as Burt to make sure it was safe for all of us.
Q: And after that, you pressed on with the rest of the challenge?
A: The sixth race was Namibia which is a dry, arid and dusty dirt roads that go for miles and resembled washboards. Snakes, scorpions and cats like this area, and they like us, along with mosquitoes in the ditches with little water. The people were friendly though, living in grass huts and mud shacks with fires burning day and night to keep the mosquitoes away. Yes, we took anti-malaria meds with us, as well as yellow fever shots beforehand. This was a slow race into balboa trees.
Q: And what about the final race? How did that one go?
A: Zambia, the seventh race, was on a compound in Livingston, close to Victoria Falls. Our deadline was to make the Victoria Falls Tour later that afternoon, together. Some started the race as early as 2:30 in the morning to make the cutoff time to go see the falls. That race we had emus chasing us at one point, along with zebra and duck crossings.
Q: This was winter in southern Africa, but probably not quite like those frigid North or South Pole marathons, eh?
A: The weather was almost the same as here in Orange County, but drier. South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland were in the 70s but very cold at night. The temps would drop to 40-45 degrees.
Q: Why did 7 marathons in 7 days take 8 days?
A: We did the challenge in 8 days instead of 7, as Mozambique became too dangerous for us to enter so we took it north and went to Zambia which ate up a day.
Q: Describe your interactions with local people during your adventure.
A: Everywhere we went, we met positive people and children after school was out, like in Swaziland, that came and ran with a few of us, especially with me and the handcycle bringing so much attention. People would stop the race director, organizer and bus driver to see what we were doing running in circles or on the trails.
Q: What is next for you?
A: I found out that there is a whole subculture of marathoners out there that take on these challenges and they call themselves marathon maniacs, globetrotters, etc. There are two challenges Z Adventures is putting together next year – the Central America Challenge of 7 Marathons in 7 Central American Countries in 7 days (and) the Caribbean Challenge of 7 Marathons in 6 Caribbean Countries in 6 days. There are other challenges out there like the New England Challenge of 7 marathons in 7 New England states in 7 days that my friend J.C. Santa Teresa is organizing here in the states for next year. Other races are taking place here in the U.S. to help marathoners accomplish all 50 states, seven to nine days at a time. I’m looking into those as well.
Links to news :
First Official World Record:
Seven Marathons on Seven Continents and the North Pole Marathon. Via handcycle. First female.
Second Official World Record:
Fastest aggregate time for 7 Marathons on 7 Continents and the North Pole Marathon via Handcycle (female).