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Burlington runner to compete in Antarctica

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 8:31 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A Vermonter is on the verge of running around the world with just one continent left.

Running is a tough sport, but running 26.2 miles is even tougher, and doing it in arctic temperatures takes a special kind of person. Liam Murphy isn’t just running, he’s running around the world.

“I like to travel, and I want to stay healthy and I figured my reward for traveling would be to do a marathon,” said Murphy.

Ireland, South Africa, Japan, Argentina, New Zealand, and now he’s taking on Antarctica.

“I am running to train to run a marathon on Antarctica on January 28th,” said Murphy.

It’s the Antarctica Marathon and Half Marathon and it will be Murphy’s seventh and final continent for a race. Its laps run between three remote research stations.

But make no mistake, he wasn’t a natural-born runner.

“I would never ever, ever run one again, it was brutal,” Murphy said of his first marathon in Burlington in 2014.

The journey began for health.

“I was 58-years-old, 300 pounds, and I really had never exercised in my adult life,” Murphy said.

He wanted to see the world and his grandkids grow. He tried dieting and lifestyle changes but the consistent factor that really stuck was pounding the pavement with his dog Gandalf by his side.

“I find I like running,” said Murphy.

A decade later, he’s still at it. While he knows it’s not for everyone, he says anyone can do it.

“It wasn’t a goal to be skinny, it wasn’t a goal to be a fast runner, it was a goal to just be healthy,” said Murphy.

He suggests being kind to yourself.

“I gave myself permission along the way. You’re going to fail, you’re going to fall off the wagon, just get back on,” he said.

He won’t be the fastest, but he can be patient. He’s already waited since March of 2020 to finally run this race.

“It’s a muddy, hilly, snowy, icy road,” said Murphy.

All in all, he says he’s excited, both for the chance to travel and stay healthy long-term.

“And for me, that was a part of my life. I have always loved to travel and I want to be able to go on a hiking vacation when I am 80-years-old,” said Murphy.

Just like the path to success, it’s difficult. Even when this race is over, it’s simply on to the next ones -- New York and Boston. But his goal will stay the same -- take it one run at a time.

“Gotta start somewhere,” said Murphy.

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