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BethAnn Telford, an endurance athlete with brain cancer, will compete in the 2017 World Marathon Challenge on seven continents in seven consecutive days. Telford is the only cancer survivor and only American woman in the race. She will run to raise global awareness about brain cancer and raise $1 million for research supported by ABC2 (Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure).

The World Marathon Challenge is an amazing logistical and physical challenge to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven consecutive days. A challenge that can be found on the 7 ultimate achievements in endurance running list and the one that only 560+ people have accomplished in the world.

The first marathon is in Union Glacier, Antarctica, on Jan. 23. The 33 competitors from 13 different countries will then run in Chile, the United States, Spain, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Australia. Participants will spend about 60 hours in the air flying 38,000 km from the start point in Antarctica to the finish in Australia. Finishers will run 295 km or 183 miles in total.

“Competing in the World Marathon Challenge is a remarkable feat for anyone, but BethAnn takes the challenge to the next level as a brain cancer survivor,” said Max Wallace, CEO of ABC2. Telford, 47, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2005 and still has active cancer cells in her body. She has not driven a car in 12 years because she has seizures often and is blind in her left eye. Her brain cancer also affected her bladder, which led to a surgery for a major bladder augmentation.

“I’ve overcome so many obstacles because of this cancer. When I’m running around the world, I will find a way to push through the pain and the fatigue by remembering who I’m representing. I wish to be an example of hope and inspiration to so many others fighting cancer or anyone who has faced a setback in their life.”

Telford, who started running marathons 15 years ago, is running to raise funds for brain cancer research. It's especially important for her to honor the children diagnosed with the disease.

"Since I wasn’t able to have kids, I’ve 'adopted' hundreds and hundreds of children [with pediatric cancer] where I’ve tried to instill in them, and their families, that there’s hope," she said. During the marathons, Telford said she'll be running with pictures of those children clipped to her race belt. She'll also be wearing New Balance running shoes, decorated by the children.

Telford has been training for the World Marathon Challenge for more than a year. She typically works out three hours a day by doing a variety of running, strength and core exercise routines. Her yoga training is sponsored by CorePower Yoga.

Since 2005, Telford has raised more than $835,000 for brain cancer research. With these series of marathons she hopes to cross the million-dollar mark. Donations can be made at www.btwmc.org. The donations will support ABC², a Washington DC-based venture philanthropy nonprofit organization that drives cutting-edge research and treatments for brain cancer and brain tumors.

Telford knows she won't be the first to cross the finish line. “My finish line is when these kids and adults have a cure for cancer,” said Telford.

The tentative event schedule:

  • Jan. 23 – Marathon in Antarctica
  • Jan. 24 – Marathon in Punta Arenas, Chile
  • Jan. 25 – Marathon in Miami
  • Jan. 26 – Marathon in Madrid
  • Jan. 27 – Marathon in Marrakech
  • Jan. 28 – Marathon in Dubai
  • Jan. 29 – Marathon in Sydney

Other notable participants include: Michael Wardian, an American who set the world’s record for fastest marathon; U.S. Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall; and Luke Wigman and Ibrar Ali, two former British soldiers who were badly injured in Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively.

About ABC² (Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure)

ABC² is focused on speeding the discovery of a cure for brain cancer. By applying an aggressive, venture funding approach not typically seen in the nonprofit sector, ABC² closes the current gaps in funding in order to catalyze research and rapidly bring new therapies to patients. ABC² has awarded more than 100 grants totaling $20 million in brain tumor research funding to highly qualified investigators and physician-scientists from 54 institutions and companies. To learn more, visit www.abc2.org.

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