"Keep warm. Be safe." Those are the parting words Australian athlete and activist Mina Guli heard when picking up her running gear for Antarctica, reports Outside.
She wasn't just going for a visit, which is already an adventure. No, Guli was there to run approximately 131 miles by herself -- one of many stretches she would end up running across all seven continents in a mere seven weeks. All to help save the planet's water supply.
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Guli set out on February 1 to run across seven deserts, one on each continent, finishing in late March. It would be the equivalent of 40 marathons. Her endeavor, called the 7 Deserts Run was a way to gain global attention for the water crisis. She pointed to the World Economic Forum ranking water scarcity the number one risk facing society last year, and expert predictions that there will be a 40 percent greater demand for water than supplies available within 14 years.
The corporate lawyer-turned-activist heads up the nonprofit Thirst. She's also an experienced athlete, having completed six Ironmen triathlons and the famously grueling Marathon des Sables ultramarathon, Runner's World reported. The deserts Guli ran were: the Tabernas in Spain, the Arabian in Jordan, Antarctica, the Simpson in Australia, the Karoo in South Africa, the Atacama in Chile, and the Mojave in the United States, which she finished on March 21.
To me, her most interesting runs took place in Antartica, the polar desert. The continent was bright and cold when she arrived in March, connecting with a crew of scientists stationed there. But by the time she took off in snowpants and sneakers on a cloud-like snow plain, the sky was cloudy. The conditions there are grueling for walking, much less running long distances solo.
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At one point Guli gets tired and discouraged, breaking down in tears. Then she rallies, saying, "Although it's hard every day to run in the snow and ice and cold, you need to be prepared to really keep your eye on the goal." Guli ended up running the equivalent of five marathons while she was there.
All told, she ran 1,049 miles for the 7 Deserts Run. It's mind-boggling. Walking that would be impressive. At the same time, as we enter more extreme times for the planet, perhaps it will take extreme measures like this to grab attention and spur action. The more we get to see of the world -- even through another person's eyes -- the more we'll care about what gets lost.
Watch Guli's Antarctica adventure here.