History

The sport of Triple 7 – 7 Marathons, 7 Continents, 7 Days goes back almost 20 years.  The concept and sport was conceived and developed by Steve Hibbs.

Steve Hibbs ran his first marathon in June 1995.  The following year he ran his first international marathon in Rome, in March 1996, marking his 2nd continent.  In April 1996, Steve ran the 100th Boston Marathon, marking his 2nd state.   Shortly thereafter Steve learned of a marathon in Antarctica and 2 clubs that recognized running achievements.   One club recognized runners who finished marathons in all 50 U.S. States.  The other club recognized runners who completed marathons on the original 7 Continents.   Steve made it his goal to achieve finisher status in both of those clubs.

In June 1997, Steve completed his Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management and began working for a large international manufacturing company.  Steve and a buddy decided at that time they would register for the 1999 edition of the marathon in Antarctica and submitted their deposits shortly thereafter.  A couple of months later, Steve had returned from a business trip to his company’s corporate headquarters and his manager informed him that the corporate University Recruiting HR Team was really impressed with him and wanted Steve to relocate to Cleveland, Ohio, to head the team.  Steve informed his manager that he didn’t want to leave Minnesota because his then girlfriend (now wife) was still a student with plans on attending grad school and didn’t want to relocate at that time.  His manager informed Steve that he couldn’t go back to Corporate and say Steve was going to stay “just for a girlfriend.”  Steve asked his manager for suggestions and his manager recommended going back to school.  Having just finished his Master’s degree, Steve did not want to pursue a Ph.D., so he asked his manager for alternative suggestions.  His Manager asked Steve if he’d be interested in going to Law School.  Steve jumped at the opportunity.

In September 1997, Steve sat for the LSAT and applied to the only night school program in the Twin Cities.  Steve was accepted in January 1998 and suddenly realized that he would be in school during the 1999 race in Antarctica.  As such, he cancelled his entry knowing he would need to postpone that race until after he completed school.

In early 1999, around the time Steve was supposed to be on the trip to Antarctica, he began contemplating how he might be able to complete his quest to complete 7 marathons on 7 continents in a shorter period of time.  At the time he needed 5 more continents.  But he also thought it might be cool to see how quickly he could complete marathons on all 7 continents.  So he began looking for marathons on all 7 continents that were held in the shortest duration.   This was prior to the time where race organizers were organizing marathons on days other than Friday (in countries that observe Friday & Saturday as their weekend), Saturday and Sunday (in countries that observe Saturday & Sunday as their weekend).  At that time, Boston was the only known marathon held on a Monday, but it was too many days after the race in Antarctica to be realistic.  As such, Steve began looking at doubling up races on a Saturday/Sunday, then a Friday/Saturday/Sunday and then completing the quest the following week with a race in South America & Antarctica.  He figured the shortest amount of time to run all 7 was going to be roughly 20 days, with the travel to Antarctica.   Then the idea of Triple 7 hit him.

Steve was sitting in his Contracts class and began conceptualizing the idea.  Initially Steve looked at previously established marathons and used those races as the basis for his Triple 7 idea.  He realized that anyone could just go out and run 26.2 miles on all 7 continents, but that wouldn’t count as they weren’t official marathons.  Simply running 26.2 miles isn’t running a marathon, Steve knew.  As he had run that distance numerous times while training for his marathons.  Instead, Steve knew that the races needed to be real races to be legitimate.   The problem was, how would he find race organizers that wanted to host races on unpopular days of the week.  He realized the idea would need time to develop.

What Steve did at that time, was jot down what he felt the races needed to have to be considered legitimate races.   In early 1999, Steve outlined the requirements for what would constitute an official marathon for a Triple 7.  Those requirements are:

  1. A marathon is defined as the following:
    • A foot race between humans that covers a measured distance of 26.2 miles.
    • The race must have an independent race director who is not the race director of any of the other 6 marathons.
    • A race cannot be a leg in part of a larger stage race (e.g., Marathon Des Sables).
    • The course does not have to be certified, but the race director must attest that the course is at least 26.2 miles.
      1. The course must be defined prior to the start of the race.
        • The Start Line must be stated at least 30 days prior to the start of the race
        • The Finish Line must be stated at least 30 days prior to the start of the race.
      2. The course must be marked on the day of the race.
  • The course must be marshalled or properly marked at all turning points of the race, to ensure runners run the correct course.
  • The race must be eligible for registration separate from any other events.
  • The race must be published publicly for at least 30 days so other runners can participate.
  • The race must have a published method for registering for the event (e.g., registration website, registration form).  If using a registration form, the form must be available on-line in pdf or word document format.
  • The race must have a minimum of 5 runners start the race and 3 finish the race.
    1. If the race is paired with another running event that starts at the same time as the marathon, then the 5 starting runners can be a combination of those races (e.g., 3 start a Marathon, 3 start a Half-Marathon = 5 starters)
  • The race must have its own unique name – simply naming it Africa Marathon, Europe Marathon, Australia Marathon would seem like it was being held as part of a stage event.
  • The race must have a published race date at least 30 days prior to the date the race is run. The race date can be postponed due to weather events as long as all participants can be accommodated.
  • The race must have a published start time at least 30 days prior to the date the race is run. On the date the race is held, the race start time can only be postponed due to weather events.  On the date the race is held, the race start time, cannot be postponed to accommodate the late arrival of any participants.  However, late arriving participants may still participate as long as the meet the following conditions:
    1. Their official race time begins at the time the race officially starts (i.e., they cannot use “net” time). For example, if the race is scheduled to start at 7:00 a.m. and a participant arrives late and starts at 9:30 a.m. and completes the race in 3 hours, then their official time would have to be 4 hours, 30 minutes.
    2. They complete the race in the stated time limit, if any.
  • The race has a published race entry fee.
  • The race provides a race number.
  • The race provides a finisher’s award (e.g., medal, certificate, t-shirt)
  • The race provides each finisher with an official finishing time.
  • The race’s finishing time is not used to compute an aggregate time (e.g., as in a stage race).
  • The race must be run mostly on land to be considered running on a Continent. It is possible in extreme conditions, a race could run out onto ice for a short period, but as ice is frozen water and frozen water is not land, the vast majority of the race must be on land.
    1. Land is defined as dirt, grass, rocks, roads,
  • A Marathon is not the following:
    1. Running a certified Marathon Course on a day other than the published date and/or start time of the race (e.g., running the Boston Marathon course the day before Patriot’s Day).
    2. Having a group of people get together and run 26.2 miles.
    3. Running 26.2 miles as a leg of a stage race, if that leg cannot be independently registered for as a separate race.

Steve also decided at that time that the goal would be to run in 7 days.  Not under 7 days, as that would be a 7, 7, 6.  But he realized those and other details could wait until he had the time to actually pursue it.

Over the course of the next 3 years, Steve focused on completing his law degree, and primarily focused on running local races.   He was able to put together his finest year of running during his last year of Law School, running personal bests from 1 mile (4:28) to the marathon (2:31:44).  In November 2000, Steve ran the New York City Marathon, marking his 4th State (he had completed the Chicago Marathon 3 times in 1996, 1997 & 1998).   In August, 2001 Steve graduated with his Law Degree and started a new job at one of the country’s largest consumer electronic retailers.  And while Steve thought many times about pursuing his Triple 7, he had to hold off, since his wife was attending Grad School and wanted to ensure he was able to pay her full schooling expenses.

In 2002, Steve ran the Walt Disney World Marathon and Greenbay Marathon, marking his 5th and 6th States.  In January 2003, he ran Walt Disney again, but began to get burned out as a result of work.  In May of 2004, Steve’s wife completed graduate school and began a job a month later 90 miles from their home.   Steve’s running began to wane as a result of work and needing to commute to see his wife during the week.   Then in October 2004, Steve left his job to work for Northwest Airlines.  And while he thought numerous times about pursuing a Triple 7, he knew he didn’t have the time to properly plan it out.   So instead, Steve decided it was time to accelerate his goal of completing marathons in all 50 States and the remaining 7 Continents.

In December 2004, Steve ran the Tucson Marathon, marking his 7th State.  Then in 2005, Steve rattled off 26 marathons in 25 states and 1 more continent.  He was up to 33 states and 3 continents.  In May 2005, Steve’s wife landed a job a few miles from their home and it was time to begin a family.  In September 2005, they were pregnant with their son.  Steve realized that he had better get moving on completing as many States as possible, so he would only have a few remaining by the time his son was born.  In June 2006, Steve’s son was born and Steve was up to 42 States & 4 continents.

At the same time, Steve left the airline and started a new job that was 8 miles from his home (previously he had been commuting 30-40 miles each way to work for the previous 10 years).  Steve also realized that he needed to get continent number 7 scheduled, so he submitted his deposit for the 2008 marathon in Antarctica in September 2006.

Steve realized that any additional effort towards the 50/7 goal would slow down now or include bringing both his wife and son with.  Steve went with the latter plan.  In September 2006, Steve, his wife and son traveled to Sydney, where Steve completed his 5th continent.  Two weeks later they were in Maine & New Hampshire, where Steve doubled up and completed his 43rd and 44th States.  Two weeks later they were in Hartford, where Steve completed State number 45.  And two weeks after that they were in DC, where Steve completed the Marine Corp Marathon.  By that time, Steve had discovered another running club that recognized runners who complete marathons in all 50 States & DC.  He figured it was only one additional race, so why not.  And at that time, MCM was considered DC as there were no other marathons in DC.

Then in December 2006, Steve flew to Singapore to complete continent number 6.  He traveled alone, with the blessing (and encouragement) of his wife.   The trip was a short one, only 36 hours on the ground.   Steve arrived at 6 a.m. the day before the race, but developed food poisoning that afternoon and was sick until midnight.  Despite that, Steve still tried to run the marathon the following morning even with the 80 degree temps and 100% humidity.   Steve attempted to adopt a running strategy his former coach had talked to him about (each half an hour, run 24 minutes, walk 6 minutes).  Nonetheless, by the half way point, Steve could barely walk and decided to sit and rest for a couple of minutes.  Upon standing up, Steve’s legs cramped severely and Steve realized he couldn’t continue.  He had flown 18,000 miles for a DNF.   Steve called his wife with the disappointing news.  But she brightened his day when she told him they were pregnant with their 2nd child.

About a month later, with the news that their second child was on her way, Steve realized he needed to complete the continents asap.   As such, he reached out to the company who organized the marathon in Antarctica to confirm they had received his deposit.  They said they had.  Steve realized that with 2 kids at home in March 2008, who would be 21 months and 8 months, respectively, would be asking his wife a lot.  So Steve inquired if they had any openings for 2007.  Steve figured one child aged 9 months to care for alone, would be easier for his wife, than caring for two.  He was thrilled when the representative said they did have a spot available for 2007, but would need to know if Steve could confirm quickly.  Steve asked if he could have a few minutes to speak to his supervisor to confirm the time off, since it required 17 days of travel.  The representative said Steve could have the time to confirm with his supervisor.  Steve spoke with his supervisor, who granted him the time-off.  Steve called the company back, but the representative said they had given the spot away to someone else who could confirm and pay immediately.   That was a total of 15 minutes.

In March 2007, Steve returned to Asia to complete continent number 6 at the Seoul Marathon.  He was down to 1 continent and 5 states.  Steve then completed 3 mores states prior to the birth of his daughter.  He was down to 2 States and 1 continent.   In December 2007, Steve completed State number 49.   Then in March 2008, Steve finally got to Antarctica.  And it was life changing.  Not only did he complete continent number 7, but he realized after a number of incidents with the tour operator that there had to be someone else out there who could perform that job better.  And he decided that was him.   Upon returning home, Steve left his job and immediately started Marathon Adventures with his primary goals being to get a trip to Antarctica and to develop the sport of Triple 7.

Steve immediately began researching names for races in Antarctica and discovered there was a second race in Antarctica.  This one was hosted in the interior of the continent.  Steve wanted to ensure he used a name that had not been previously used and came up with the name White Continent Marathon and Half-Marathon.

A month later, Steve completed his 50th State, becoming the youngest person at the time to complete marathons in all 50 states, DC & on all 7 Continents.

Steve began marketing The White Continent Marathon shortly thereafter and promoted the event at the 2008 Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon, 2008 Maui Marathon Expo, 2008 Sydney Marathon Expo, 2008 Frankfurt Marathon Expo, 2008 Outer Banks Marathon Expo, 2008 Richmond Marathon Expo, 2008 Philadelphia Marathon Expo and 2008 Dallas Whiterock Marathon Expo.  Steve also returned to Singapore to complete unfinished business (complete the Singapore Marathon), but to also meet up with a fellow competitor of the earlier race in Antarctica to help Steve promote his White Continent Marathon.

In 2009, Marathon Adventures brought its first groups to marathons and marketing continued for his White Continent Marathon.  Steve then became an agent for a race at The Great Wall of China in 2010 and slowly began to develop interest for his WCM race.

By 2011, Steve had finally received enough interest in his 2013 WCM that he was able to lock in a contract to fly into Antarctica.   It was at that time, that Steve realized that he had the capability to develop his Triple 7 event, now that he had the capability to fly in and out of Antarctica on the same day.

In March 2013, Steve hosted his first WCM.  While the concept had some hiccups, he knew it only required a couple of tweaks to make it extremely successful.   He spoke with the flights logistic company about those tweaks and they said the ideas were possible, but probably not for his 2014 WCM event.

In September 2013, at the Berlin Marathon, Steve was speaking with a customer about his Triple 7 idea.  The customer said he knew of some race directors in other countries who might be interested in hosting events.  Steve realized it was time to formalize the sport of Triple 7.   That is when The Triple 7 Quest – 7 Marathons, 7 Continents, 7 DaysTM name was born.  By November 2013, The Triple 7 Quest website was up and the event was being marketed to runners around the world.  Steve also formalized the rules, which he had conceptualized over the previous 14 years, for the Sport of Triple 7 following that September 2013 conversation.  Those rules are:

Triple 7 Quest – 7 Marathons,  7 Continents, 7 DaysTM – Rules

  1. The goal is to finish in 7 Days, 0 Minutes, 0 Seconds
    • Finishing under 7 days, while admirable, is NOT the goal, as that would be 7, 7, 6.
    • Finishing under 7 days, does not count as an official Triple 7.
    • Finishing in 7 Days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds counts as an official Triple 7.
  2. The Marathons must be official marathons as previously defined.
  3. The 7 Continents are:
    • Australia – This is defined as Australia, Papua/New Guinnea, New Zealand, New Caledonia & Tasmania
    • Asia – This is defined as all land east of the Ural Mountains in Russia, North of Australia and West of North America.
    • Europe – This is defined as all land west of the Ural Mountains in Russia and north of the Mediterranean Sea and East of Greenland, including Iceland.
    • Africa – This is defined as the landmass of Africa, Madagascar, The Canary Islands
    • North America – This is defined as all land north of the Panama Canal, including all Caribbean Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Aleutian Islands and Greenland, between the International dateline and the eastern edge of Greenland
    • South America – This is defined as all land south of The Panama Canal, including Easter Island and The Falkland Islands, but North of Antarctica.
    • Antarctica – This is defined as the continental landmass of Antarctica and all adjacent islands, including the South Shetland Island and all islands south of the South Shetland Islands. However, it does not include any glaciers positioned above water.
  4. The Event must end in Antarctica. The order of the other 6 continents is unimportant.
    • The event must end in Antarctica, because otherwise it would be nearly impossible to guarantee start times for the other 6 races, if there is a weather delay in Antarctica, thereby invalidating the other 6 races as official marathons.
  5. The winner of the overall event is the person who completes the last marathon, first. That is, the winner is not based on cumulative times from each race run, as would be in a stage race.
  6. The sport of Triple 7, is not stage racing. The sport of Triple 7 is running in 7 independent official marathons.

In February 2015, The first Triple 7 Quest was hosted.  Despite a weather delay getting into Antarctica, the runners of the inaugural Triple 7, set records for completing official marathons on all 7 continents in just over 11 days.  In January 2017, The second Triple 7 Quest was hosted and the runners became the first group to successfully achieve The Triple 7.   Shortly after returning home from the 2017 Triple 7, scientists announced the discovery of Zealandia as the 8th Continent.  Thus, The Triple 8 Quest was born.  The rules for the Triple 7 Quest were tweaked to accommodate the new addition and are as follows:

Triple 8 Quest – 8 Marathons,  8 Continents, 8 DaysTM – Rules

  1. The goal is to finish in 8 Days, 0 Minutes, 0 Seconds
    1. Finishing under 8 days, while admirable, is NOT the goal, as that would be 8, 8, 7.
    2. Finishing under 8 days, does not count as an official Triple 8.
    3. Finishing in 8 Days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds counts as an official Triple 8.
  2. The Marathons must be official marathons as previously defined.
  3. The 8 Continents are:
    1. Australia – This is defined as Australia, Papua/New Guinnea & Tasmania
    2. Zealandia – This is defined as New Zealand & New Caledonia.
    3. Asia – This is defined as all land east of the Ural Mountains in Russia, North of Australia and West of North America.
    4. Europe – This is defined as all land west of the Ural Mountains in Russia and north of the Mediterranean Sea and East of Greenland, including Iceland.
    5. Africa – This is defined as the landmass of Africa, Madagascar, The Canary Islands
    6. North America – This is defined as all land north of the Panama Canal, including all Caribbean Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Aleutian Islands and Greenland, between the International dateline and the eastern edge of Greenland
    7. South America – This is defined as all land south of The Panama Canal, including Easter Island and The Falkland Islands, but North of Antarctica.
    8. Antarctica – This is defined as the continental landmass of Antarctica and all adjacent islands, including the South Shetland Island and all islands south of the South Shetland Islands. However, it does not include any glaciers positioned above water.
  4. The Event must end in Antarctica. The order of the other 7 continents is unimportant.
    1. The event must end in Antarctica, because otherwise it would be nearly impossible to guarantee start times for the other 7 races, if there is a weather delay in Antarctica, thereby invalidating the other 7 races as official marathons.
  5. The winner of the overall event is the person who completes the last marathon, first. That is, the winner is not based on cumulative times from each race run, as would be in a stage race.
  6. The sport of Triple 8, is not stage racing. The sport of Triple 8 is running in 8 independent official marathons.

In January 2018, the first Triple 8 Quest was held.  The 3rd Triple 7 Quest was held in conjunction with the Triple 8 Quest.  Again, runners were successful in completing both The Triple 7 Quest  & Triple 8 Quest.  The 2019 Triple 8 Quest & Triple 7 Quest is scheduled for January 2019.