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San Clemente resident Beth Sanden finished the Antarctic Marathon on Feb. 19. Photo: Courtesy
San Clemente resident Beth Sanden finished the Antarctic Marathon on Feb. 19. Photo: Courtesy

Local athlete finishes seventh marathon on seventh continent

Compiled by Steve Breazeale

San Clemente resident Beth Sanden completed the toughest segment of her journey to finish a marathon on all seven continents when she crossed the finish line of the Antarctic Marathon on Feb. 19.

Sanden, who is partially paralyzed from the waist down, completed the cold, rocky trek in 10 hours, 57 minutes and 55 seconds using a custom hand cycle fitted with studded wheels.

The trip got off to an inauspicious start. The race was set to begin on Feb. 14 but heavy fog kept the marathoners grounded for several days.

In an email, Sanden said the terrain in the Antarctic was undesirable, but that she knew it was going to be tough going when she signed up. Sanden, 60, had to deal with gravel, snow, ice, black ice and a lot of mud while navigating the Antarctic’s rolling hills. Sanden actually compared the rolling terrain to the hills behind San Clemente, where she trained.

It was a long journey and Sanden said she had to dig deep for inspiration at certain points.

“Half way through the race I started thinking and praying for my family and put my Christian rock music on in one ear and that helped get me through the last half,” Sanden said in the email.

Sanden is a coach for both the USA Triathlon team and Challenged Athletes Foundation.

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