Emily Graves set out to accomplish this goal in one year and she just finished the Istanbul Marathon to reach it.

Istanbul Marathon, November 11, 2018

I have a penchant for themes. Shortly after my first marathon at Niagara Falls, crossing two countries from US to Canada via the Peace Tower Bridge in 2017, I was enticed to take it to the next level: cross two continents, from Asia to Europe via Istanbul's Bosphorus Bridge in 2018. I was convinced that my theme held together because here in town, I routinely cross two provinces by crossing bridges from Ontario to Quebec as part of my regular running routes. 

It seems like a blur now, how I managed to get through all 42.2 kilometers around the beautiful city of Istanbul. The one thing I can distinctly remember is how focused I was for the whole run.  I was in my element and felt mentally strong, my mind fixed on a single mantra: “make no room for self-doubt”.  On a physical level, I felt steady and self-aware as I deliberately conducted self-checks at certain milestones. I wrote them on my water bottles with a permanent marker: 0k, 9k, 18k, 27k, 36k (but I also gave flexibility for the in-between checks, if/when needed). These were also my suggested roctane gel intake markers to ensure I kept my calories (and sugar) replenished at certain points in time, and prevent a hypoglycemic bout.

Thankfully, the race was so well-organized there were water stations per 2.5k and real food: apple and banana slices, at many parts of the race route. Needless to say, interspersed with the call for grit, I had a lot of fun, and took time to gracefully respond to the cheers from the crowd, yelling “Go Canada!” The crowd was electric as they cheered for about 30,000 participants from about 100 countries (12 from Canada 🇨🇦 for the 42.2k). 

My goal in this race was simply to be able to say at the end, that I crossed two continents running a marathon. Secretly, I did hope to secure a faster race completion time against my Niagara Falls marathon which I completed in 4 hours, 39 minutes (cramps and all). I accomplished both in Istanbul: I crossed two continents running a marathon, and I tapered my completion time to 4 hours 18 minutes. I felt strong even as I hit the finish line, and injury free!

As to be expected, I am now exploring options for my next marathon theme(s).

Emily Graves
Congratulations Emily!! Looking forward to hearing about your next theme! 

Emily is working hard in the pool with private lessons in hopes of completing a triathlon next Summer. Keep your eyes open for this high energy, fun loving spirit!

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