Triple 7 … at 70 years young!

Chau is absolutely awesome. I first met with her in 2016, when she came to me for nutrition advise to prepare for the Triple 7 – that is – 7 Marathons in 7 Days on 7 Different Continents!!! . It took me a few minutes to wrap my head around the reality of what she was to accomplish in January 2017. Chau always inspired me with her stories, her self discipline and her work ethic. No excuses – Chau would hand-make much of her healthy daily meals – even with the rigorous schedule of a business owner with long hours, her demanding running training and her family commitments. She also shared with me her amazing life journey as an immigrant and other travels. Continue on the read her triple 7 adventure…

To mark her 70th birthday, Chau Smith stood alongside nine other elite runners to share a world record in long-distance running event. The team, as a group, are the fastest runners to complete seven marathons in seven consecutive days on all seven continents. Smith herself ran 183.4 miles in one week.

When Chau Smith left her native Vietnam during the war for the safety and promise of the United States, she never imagined she would find herself, nearly 50 years later, standing at the finish line of a marathon at the bottom of the world in Antarctica.

A resident of Kansas City, she had taken up running marathons after meeting Michael Smith, her husband now for nearly 34 years. As she neared her 70th birthday, she set her sights on the Triple 7 Quest, a series of runs organized since 2015 by Steve Hibbs, founder of Marathon Adventures.

The Triple 7 Quest began on January 25, 2017, in Perth, Australia. Over the next 6 days, the group circled the globe together to run full marathons of 26.2 miles in 6 other cities: Singapore, Cairo, Amsterdam, Garden City (NY, USA), Punta Arenas (Chile) and King George Island (Antarctica).

Although already a seasoned runner of more than 60 marathons, Smith sought special advice from an informal but supportive team that included a running coach, sports doctor, physical therapist and nutritionist. Together, they helped her create a training program that would build her stamina and endurance without depleting her health or risking injury.

She still works full time at her alterations shop in Independence, Missouri. Finding time to train at odd hours in extreme weather was not an easy task. But for her family, friends and supporters, there was never a question she would finish the Triple 7 Quest.

Her determination knows no bounds. Sarah Woody Bibens, from the Runner’s Edge running group, was one of three Kansas City area runners, along with Smith, who was unable to finish the 2013 Boston Marathon. Smith was only 1/4 mile from the finish line when the bomb exploded. A year later, in honor of the bombing victims, Bibens and Smith crossed the finish line together. Bibens remembers: “There could not have been anyone more inspirational to run with that day than courageous Chau.”

In addition to maintaining her physical, mental and emotional well-being, running has been an important way for Smith to connect to others. Whether she is inspiring other senior athletes or running extra miles for relay teammates when they fall sick on the course, she spreads her infectious good humor. Her running buddy Dan Reeves speaks for all of her fans: “I have nothing but love and admiration for Chau.”

Smith introduces herself in her own words in this short video bio, compiled during her last intensive training session before starting and completing the Triple 7 Quest: