Iowa man runs seven marathons on seven continents in just seven days

DES MOINES, Iowa — Seven must be this Iowa man’s lucky number! He just completed his seventh marathon on seven continents in just seven days.

Amid the bustle at the Des Moines airport Thursday, a group waited to welcome home their hero. Mark Cooper hugged his wife for the first time in 7 days.

He was fresh off a week-long trip, completing the prestigious World Marathon Challenge. Any other person would be exhausted.

“I’m quite fine. I can easily go for another run today. It wouldn’t be that difficult,” Cooper said.

He traveled from Antarctica to South Africa then Australia, Dubai, Spain and Chile before ending his last marathon in Miami, Florida.

“I don’t really know what time zone I’m in,” he said.

Sixty-three hours in the air traveling, all to run a total of 183 miles in 7 days.

Mark Cooper

“I tell anybody who wants to try this, the crazy thing is to be able to get off a plane, not knowing what time is it, what time zone you’re in and within two hours just get ready to go to your start line and head off and then try to get back on a plane then get ready for the next one,” Cooper said.

The entire time Cooper raised money for a cause he said affects people of all countries — homelessness.

“In some of countries I’ve been in, it’s quite a devastating situation,” he said.

People across the country and world pledged donations in honor of Cooper. He raised more than $2,000, All going to the Central Iowa Shelter and Services.

“Every mile he ran he was running for somebody who was staying with us,” said Melissa O’Neil, CEO or  Central Iowa Shelter and Services. “It made us think back to that humility he brought to the table. It was just wonderful.”

“For me, it’s not a done and done deal,” Cooper said. “Homelessness does not go away, so I like to ensure that we actually raise awareness.”

Cooper has now finished a total of 82 marathons, including the seven he just completed.

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