A #DisruptAging Story from Indian American Sam Adhikari, 76 years old, marathon runner and Seven Continent Club Member, on pursuing dreams.

“If you are determined, passionate, and focused on your goals, nothing – I mean absolutely nothing in this world — will stand in your way. It took me almost 10 years to finally join the elite Seven Continents Club at the age of 73. You become an honorary member once you’ve run a marathon on all seven continents around the world.

“My last run was in Antarctica, where the temperature was minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit, the winds howled at 60 miles per hour, and there was continuous freezing rain. At one point, the sky darkened so much that it seemed to be nighttime. There were no houses, no trees, nothing. Only a 1.2-mile thick slab of ice.

“After a mile or so into my last loop, I hit ‘the wall,’ as marathoners say. My calves started to cramp from the cold and from carrying the extra weight of my rain-soaked clothing. I felt lightheaded and my legs felt like they were clad with lead. My whole body was aching. My fingers had no feeling at all.

“My mind started to race ahead to frostbite, amputations, cramps and failure. The thought crossed my mind to stop right there and bow out, but I had never dropped out of a race before, and I was not going to do it there. I changed my tactics. Biting my lips and gritting my teeth, I forced myself to keep running. It was mind over body.

“After more trudging through sticky mud, climbing up and down icy, treacherously steep hills, and literally swimming through freezing cold streams, I could see the banner at the makeshift start/finish line. I crossed it with as much flourish as I could muster, spreading my arms out in triumph and holding up seven fingers signifying the completion of my seven continents run. I looked up to the sky to thank almighty God for keeping me in one piece and I smiled for the camera. The electrifying thrill of victory overwhelmed me as one of the marathon officials placed the Finisher’s Medal around my neck.

“My dream became a reality, but that didn’t terminate my passion for running. My new dream is to run the Everest Base Camp Marathon – at 20,000 feet above sea level, it has the highest starting point of any marathon in the world. I have set foot at the bottom of the world. Now, I want to set foot at the top.”

Sam Adhikari, 76
Marathon runner and Seven Continent Club member
Indian Diaspora

NextDayBetter Storyteller: Sherina Ong