HANSON - A Hopkins County man has set a new world record by successfully completing seven public marathons on seven continents in under seven days.
Hanson resident Dave Jones, who started running a few years ago to combat a nicotine habit, said in an email to The Messenger that, although his feet are quite swollen and he is sore from head to toe, the 7-7-7 quest was the experience of a lifetime.
He reached out to The Messenger while awaiting an intercontinental flight from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the United States.
Jones began his quest in Perth, Australia, running 26.2 miles in 102-degree heat. From there, he continued his journey around the globe and successfully completed seven public marathons in six days, 22 hours, 54 minutes and five seconds.
"Amsterdam, Netherlands, was a run around a huge lake where lots of people were doing Netherland's national pastime -- ice skating," he said. "New York was great. Hundreds of fellow marathoners, including Brad Oldham from Madisonville, who flew there to run his first marathon with me."
Jones added that his wife Kristin, as well as Oldham's wife, Heather, flew to New York to cheer them on.
"By the time we flew to Chile and began to race, I was beat," he said. "Everything hurt and my mind was weak. That was a tough race, psychologically, and the winds in my face were often over 65 miles per hour.
"Antarctica was very hilly, loose footing and the hardest course by a lot," Jones continued. "I buckled down, and it was my fastest race. It had to be to get under 168 hours from the start of the first race. I was so happy to finish I peeled off everything but my shorts and hopped into the southern ocean."
He said spectators donning down coats watched in awe as he plunged into the icy water.
Following completion of the Antarctic marathon, Jones said he spent the night in a tent on Penguin Island and then visited a few research bases.
The marathon maniac said he recently founded his own company, Eternal Endurance, which offers ultra-endurance coaching, as well as a specialty line instant cooling, reflective running apparel. Additionally, he has also started a charity called Must Add Heart, which connects marathon runners with communities struggling with poverty.
Jones and his wife Kristin reside in Hanson with their three children, Sam, Amelia and Anna.