7 Marathons 7 Continents: The View from Down Under
Greg Bisset, a participant in the new ‘7 Marathons 7 Continents’ virtual events from Sports Backers, lives in the Rodd Point area of Sydney, Australia, very close to the Sydney Marathon course. He’s an avid runner in Sydney and has taken part in marathons and other races across the world, in addition to several virtual events since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We caught up with Greg to learn more about running Sydney, his experience in races around the world, and why he wanted to take on 7 Marathons 7 Continents. Read more below, and remember there’s still time to register for 7M7C before it kicks off on November 7! Visit www.sportsbackers.org/events/7-marathons-7-continents/ to learn more.
Sports Backers: What made you want to take part in ‘7 Marathons 7 Continents’? How did you first hear about 7M7C?
Greg Bisset: Like everywhere, physical running events ground to a halt in Australia in March due to COVID. So I started looking out for virtual alternatives so as to keep active and motivated. I thought, this is an opportunity to participate in events in the US or Europe which I would never normally be able to physically participate in…so I started to search the internet for interesting team and solo events. I came across the Great American 5000, and randomly joined a team called Social Distance Runners. They happened to be a really nice group of people, and were thrilled to have someone from Australia on their team, and I think some of them were actually involved in the organizing of this team event where you virtually run across the USA as a team of runners and walkers. Once that event was completed, the same team has now embarked on the Great European 2500, and that’s where I heard about the 7 Marathons 7 Continents challenge!
SB: One of the courses for 7M7C is based on the Sydney Marathon course. Have you run that event before?
GB: I haven’t run the full marathon course, but have run the half marathon a few times. All the Sydney marathon events start on the north side of the harbour, and you run across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which gets closed to vehicle traffic for the event. That in itself is quite spectacular. Sydney City is a bit hilly, so there is plenty to challenge you during these runs!! One of my favourite runs is running across the harbour bridge, to the Sydney Opera House, and back again, which is a solid 10k.
SB: How would you describe that course, and running in Sydney in general?
GB: We are very fortunate in Sydney that the weather is fairly moderate all year round. It never gets very hot or very cold, and definitely no snow!! We’re moving into our summer season now, so the days can get quite warm, so it’s best to start your runs early. Last year in summer the air quality was impacted by some devastating bush fires that were burning across the State, and hopefully we’re not going to see a reoccurrence of that this year. There are some beautiful running tracks along the coast line, and my local course close to where I live is called the ‘Bay Run,’ a very popular 7km circuit along one of the bays of the harbour, with a 500-meter bridge to connect the two shorelines. It’s a great place to run, cycle, or just enjoy a leisurely stroll, with lots of places to enjoy a coffee or snack.
SB: How many of the continents have you run on, in marathons or otherwise?
GB: I have completed four of the world marathon majors, with another two to go. I was on track to complete the remaining two (Boston and Berlin) in 2020, but of course COVID had other ideas. So I have physically run in Europe (London Marathon and a race in Malta), North America (New York Marathon and Chicago Marathon and some smaller races in New York and Washington), Asia (Tokyo Marathon), a half marathon in Cape Town, South Africa, and of course lots of events in Australia and New Zealand. Still on my bucket list: to run in South America and Antarctica!
SB: It looks like you’ve done a few of our other virtual events over the spring and summer, including the Great American 5000 and Great European 2500. What were your experiences like in those team running events?
GB: As I mentioned earlier, I was very fortunate to have selected the Social Distance Runners team, and it’s been a great experience to connect with them virtually. We are still running the Great European 2500. We have completed France and I hope that we can still get to Germany in time for the Oktoberfest!!
SB: What are the reasons you’ve wanted to keep taking part in Sports Backers events?
GB: It appears to be a very professional organization, with some great people. The concepts that Sports Backers have come up with are interesting and challenging. I especially like the additional information they provide you as you move from state to state (or country to country).
SB: What’s your advice to other people taking part in virtual events, or thinking about signing up for a virtual event?
GB: I read and hear some people say that virtual events are a waste of time. I totally disagree. These events have given me and many others a window to places in the world that under normal circumstances we would never have an opportunity to visit. Nobody expected 2020 to turn out the way it has turned out, so my attitude is to make the best of the situation, and these events are a great way to keep motivating yourself, staying fit, and experiencing new and different things.