Galway man finishes first in race involving seven marathons in seven days across seven continents 5 years ago

Galway man finishes first in race involving seven marathons in seven days across seven continents

Gary Thornton deserves a pat on the back. And a month's worth of sleep.

Galway City Harriers Athlete Gary Thornton has come first internationally in the gruelling high-intensity race, The World Marathon Challenge.


The World Marathon Challenge (WMC) is a logistical and physical challenge to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

Competitors must run the standard 42.2 km marathon distance in Antarctica, Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and North America within 168 hours, or seven days. The clock starts when the first marathon begins in Antarctica.

Thornton won the Antarctic Intercontinental Marathon in an incredible time of 2:58:39 to win the first leg of WMC 2018, followed by a sensational win in Capetown, South Africa. His time for the Capetown win was 3:06:55.

It's worth noting that this was his second marathon in 24 hours as part of WMC, with the temperature at 75°F, a mere 70°F warmer than the sub-zero temperatures of Antarctica.


The third race, in Perth, saw Thornton take the lead again – winning the Australian Leg in a time of 2:59:55.

The Galway-native is no stranger to extreme running. In 2014 he completed the annual Volcano Marathon on Tuesday, in the Atacama Desert in Chile and in 2016 he braved temperatures of -20°C to win the Antarctic Ice Marathon.

He finished off the WMC in Miami with an impressive final time of 3:21:19.


Thornton is a Senior Infants teacher back in Galway, who generally heads back to school the day after competing in marathons.

Speaking to Red Bull after his win in Antarctica, Thornton spoke of his love of the sport, and why he decided to get into them:

"I think marathons are the ultimate test. I am not sure that humans are cut out for them – it really is all or nothing on the day."