Running With Penguins

by on January 30, 2014


PJCC Staff Profile

PJCC Personal Trainer Karen Pinckard boasts a credential that isn’t found on many resumes: she’s a member of the Seven Continents Club, an elite travel club that recognizes runners who have either completed or aspire to complete marathons on all seven continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Antarctica. Only a handful of women worldwide have achieved this goal and Karen is determined to join them. She is simultaneously aiming to complete seven half and seven full marathons on each continent, averaging at least one continent per year. To help pay for this unusual quest, Karen works two jobs as a personal trainer and a massage therapist at the PJCC. She also enjoys the support of friends and clients who have donated miles, loaned luggage, and even purchased groceries to help her reach her goal.

But what makes Karen’s story unusual isn’t her international credentials. It’s the fact that she didn’t start exercising until she was almost 40, an age when many people reconsider ambitious physical pursuits. One day in 1999 Karen woke up and simply felt the inexplicable urge to run, so she did. And she hasn’t stopped since.

Since then, the England native has combined her two greatest interests, running and travel. Starting with that first jog 15 years ago on Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Karen has raced the cobbled streets of Florence, Italy, traversed the hot and dusty Great Wall in Beijing, China, and run along the sparkling waterfront in Auckland, New Zealand. She’s plunged through icy waters in Antarctica, huffed through 26 miles of ancient trails at Machu Picchu, Peru, and in February she heads for Tokyo, Japan to run yet another marathon. This summer Karen will reach her goal of completing all seven continents when she runs in Madagascar, Africa. At that time, Karen will reach her goal of joining the elite handful of women to claim this illustrious achievement.

UPDATE: In November 2015 Karen received her Seven Continents Club medal at the NYC Marathon for running a marathon on each continent. Congratulations!



4 thoughts on “Running With Penguins

  1. Laura Toller Gardner

    Your capacity to believe in yourself is breathtaking. I think of you when the going gets tough. Thank you!

  2. Michele

    Way to go. You are such and inspiration. Wow, I am so impressed that you have done all that when working in the fitness industry. For those of us who know how hard it is to make a living in the fitness industry, you are a huge superstar. Keep up the good work!!!!.

  3. Karen pinckard

    I will be running an ultra marathon 56k in Cape Town as Madagascar has become dangerous to travel too and the race was cancelled


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