An ultra-marathon is a footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 42km. With no limit on distance, ran in the hottest and coldest places, on mountain tops, with steep ascents and descents, in the most difficult and dangerous places in the world.
Meet lululemon Ambassador Jacqui Bell, the youngest person on the planet to run an ultra-marathon on all seven continents.
Let’s take it back to Jacqui’s humble beginnings.
It started when Jacqui was 19 years of age – she would wake at 3:30am and go out and run anywhere from 20 – 35km every morning. She wasn’t training for anything in particular and was doing it for no other reason than the pure love of running and sense of self-achievement.
At the age of 20, Jacqui did her first ever 50km ultra marathon. Not knowing exactly what she’d signed up for, Jacqui ran the 50km race in 4.5 hours and finished in an incredible third place.
From there, the fire in her belly was well and truly burning and Jacqui set herself a goal to complete The Big Red Run – 250km Ultra Marathon across the Simpson Desert in Australia. Once she began research on how to prepare, train and take on such a huge challenge, Jacqui came across a whole new world of ultra-running. She was hooked before the event even started and went from wanting to take on The Big Red Run, to wanting to complete Racing The Planet’s 4 Desert Grand Slam (four 250km Ultra Marathons across four of the harshest deserts in the world) in the same year.
At the age of 24 years, Jacqui Bell smashed her goals and became the youngest person to run an ultra-marathon on all seven continents:
And remember, it was in the same year.
We asked Jacqui about her biggest takeaways and how the past year has evolved her perspective on running and everyday life. She said:
What’s next for Jacqui? She’s signed up for 4 big multi-stage races this year, each in new locations Jacqui has never travelled to.
She’s also competing in her first 100-mile race (160km’s). “When it come to these distances, everyone’s body is different and no one really knows the exact formula yet,” Jacqui says. “It’s fascinating to see what my body is capable of and watch it improve as I fine-tune it. You can only really get better at running when you’re running.”
Jacqui’s incredible achievements demonstrate the power of passion, determination & creating goals to help accomplish what you set out to. No matter how big or small, setting goals for yourself and working hard to achieve them, is fundamental in moving towards living your dreams and realising the strength of your potential.