7 Continents, 7 Days: Differently Abled Aussie Does Epic Marathon

Differently-abled Australian becomes first person ever to cover a distance of 295 km in seven days in a wheelchair.

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Video Editor: Vishal Kumar


Born with Cerebral Palsy, a movement disorder, Johanna Garvin, a 26-year-old Australian woman, completed the World Marathon Challenge in seven continents on a wheelchair. Assisted the whole way by two runners with extensive endurance experience, Australian James Alderson and British Steve Birnie, she became the first ever Australian in a wheelchair to complete the 295-km marathon.

I will be the first Australian to attempt the World Marathon Challenge in a wheelchair, covering 295 km over the seven days.
Johanna Garvin wrote on Facebook

The marathon challenge kickstarted in the isolated region of Novo (Antarctica); then to Cape Town (Africa); Perth (Australia); Dubai (Asia); Madrid (Europe); Barranquilla (South America) and ended in Miami (North America).

I saw it as an opportunity to challenge people’s perception of what it is like to have a disability because it is such an unusual thing to do.
Johanna Garvin 

Pushing her along on a three-wheeler aerodynamic chair, which costs approximately $50,000, Birnie said of the experience:

Lot of flights, lot of airline food, not enough sleep, lots of running and lots of aches and pain, lots of lost toenails, but I am delighted for Johanna. It’s all about her so, she pulled it off. That’s why we are here.
Steve Birnie/Runner Assistant 

According to reports in the Daily Mail, the two runner assistants took it in turns to push Johanna throughout 7 consecutive runs, while she helped them out with figuring out logistics, especially during the four marathons that were at night, looking out for things that may obstruct their journey.

Johanna has taken part with the intention to raise funds and awareness about Cerebral Palsy. With the target of $75,000 she has managed to raise $66,914.65 so far for Australia-based NGO Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

It is estimated that 10% of the global population has some form of disability due to different causes; in India, it is 3.8% of the population. Nearly 15-20% of all physically handicapped children suffer from Cerebral Palsy, according to WHO.

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