When Scott Ziffra, ’94 ENG, crossed the finish line of the December 2022 Antarctic Ice Marathon, he raised his arms—hands covered by thick black gloves—in victory. The moment marked not just the end of the 26.2-mile race, but also the culmination of a worldwide athletic quest.
How did 2022’s globe-spanning journey begin? A friend from the Philippines ran the Chicago Marathon with me in 2018. To return the favor, I traveled to the Manila Marathon last June. From there, I like to say my bucket list spiraled out of control. I signed up for Antarctica, then completed July’s Gold Coast Marathon in Australia. Next came London, Buenos Aires and Cape Town, South Africa. At that point, my wife, Lori Ziffra, ’94 ENG, reminded me that I’d hit every continent in one year except for North America. So, I did November’s Indianapolis Monumental Marathon to check that box.
What was Antarctica like? The weather was surprisingly mild—15 degrees Fahrenheit with calm winds. About 60 of us flew there, landing on an ice runway. The course was four 10K loops, and there were points where I couldn’t see the next runner. If I stopped, I heard nothing—no wind, no animals, no background noise.
And the best part of the seven-month journey? The people I met along the way. Everyone is there for their own reasons, and they’re all amazing.
What’s your next goal? I want to do all six Abbott World Marathon Majors. I’ve already run Chicago, New York, London and Berlin. Next up is the Boston Marathon, raising funds for Last Call Foundation, which supports firefighters. Then I’ll get to Tokyo.