In just one more sleep, 11 year old Waiuku boy Quinn Gardiner-Hall will begin his journey to Antarctica, the windiest and coldest continent on Earth.
Quinn has been on a mission to inspire more Kiwi kids to get active and is chasing a goal of running four half marathons, in four counties, before he turns 12.
The Antarctica Half Marathon will be his fourth half marathon and all going well, when he crosses the finish line he will set a new record as the youngest ever runner in the world to run a half marathon in Antarctica.
Notes Quinn, “That feels pretty cool to know I will set a record if I can make it across the finish line. I’ve put a lot of training in and have thought about what I need to do, so hopefully everything goes to plan and I bring the record home.”
But first he has to get to the start line which is somewhat of a mission in itself. That will involve flying to Buenos Aires in Argentina, then down to the southernmost city in the world Ushuaia, followed by a rather bumpy ship journey across the Drakes Passage and finally a zodiac boat ride onto the ice for the starting gun.
His quest has attracted quite a lot of media interest with Quinn featuring on TV twice in the past fortnight with a live studio appearance on Breakfast TV and a live Skype interview on What Now last Sunday.
“The What Now guys were really funny. They have sent me some of their gunge stuff and have asked me to take it running in Antarctica. I really enjoyed the Breakfast TV interview too. It was neat to see how a studio worked and Jack Tame asked me a funny question about the main difference between the half marathon I ran in Hawaii and the Antarctica Half Marathon – I said one is hot and one is cold”, grins Quinn.
Travelling with Quinn will be his mum, a stack of gear and the good wishes of a great bunch of supporters. A special scroll produced and sponsored by Colourworx will carry the names of people and companies who have sponsored Quinn’s gear or donated funds to Quinn’s givealittle page and Quinn will carry the scroll when he runs in Antarctica.
“I’m going to look pretty funny once I’m all dressed in my gear because I’ll have a balaclava on, ski goggles, bright fluro thermal gloves, a scroll sticking out, gunge stuck to me, my Scouts scarf tied on and a GoPro attached. I think I might look pretty scary to any penguins who get close!” laughs Quinn.
His training schedule has included short sharp hill runs and challenging distance events such as The Hillary event held in the Waitakere Ranges, combined with stamina building early morning hour long swim sessions at the local pool. And that dedication is paying off in more ways than one.
“I won the Xterra Auckland trail running series for the under 13 category last year, picked up some medals at the North Island Colgate Athletics Games and Counties Manukau Athletics Champs and I won every competitive race last week at the school swimming sports. That was really neat as I have worked hard on improving my swimming. And I will be really fit for rugby season!” adds Quinn.
Race day in Antarctica is on March 11 and we wish Quinn all the very best for his quest. To follow Quinn’s journey on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Quinns-on-A-Mission