From the Heart of Texas

30 May 2024

It’s not often we get trekkers joining us all the way from Houston, Texas!  The ‘7 Continents Strong’ team story is one of inspiration and endurance and teammates, Sissy Witte and Mary T Callahan, share their remarkable journey with us… 

Your team name for Coastrek is ‘7 Continents Strong’, reflecting your mission to complete a marathon (42km) on every continent. Tell us how this came about and where you’ve been so far… 

Sissy: This quest started over 10 years ago.  It was a challenge initiated by my then 17-year-old son who asked me what I was going to do once I became an ‘empty nester’.  My response was: “I’m going to run the world!”  I have been blessed to have run a marathon on 6 continents and Australia will be number 7 with the 50km hike along the Sunshine Coast with Coastrek.   

These adventures have brought me up and over the Great Wall of China to some soaring peaks on Machu Picchu, ancient ruins in Athens, a race in Africa being rerouted due to angry elephants and running around penguins in Antarctica! 

As our last continent, it was important we step back and take it all in, so we are looking forward to slowing down the pace and hiking the 50km, enjoying the beautiful coastline and nature that we’ve heard so much about. 

Mary T: When Sissy came home and talked about her race on the Great Wall of China, I knew I was ALL IN!  So I did an amazing marathon through the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia for my Asia continent then joined Sissy for all other events.  Not only is racing a great way to see the world but meeting so many amazing people along the way has been an added bonus.  These adventures have been so much fun, not just the races themselves but the training and planning with Sissy is always full of laughter. 

7 Continents, Antarctica

What was it about the Coastrek Sunshine Coast event that appealed to you?

Sissy: To find a female focused event for a good cause in a stunning location like the Sunshine Coast really ticked all the boxes.  Mary T is the CEO of Girls on the Run Houston – she is an impressive advocate and works tirelessly to empower young girls.  She is my best friend and I am blessed to be on this adventure with her. 

Mary T: Having been raised with 5 older brothers, I learned early the power of running and physical exercise. Being the mom of three girls makes me appreciate the power of women doing things together and accomplishing what individually often seems impossible, but as a group makes it so much easier and fun! 

7 Continents, Cambodia ASIA

Are you all hikers or is running usually your thing? 

Sissy: Both! I have had a great time running over 50 marathons a few 50k trail runs and 2 Ironman races (a challenge given to me by my daughter…do you see a pattern with my children? ?) My daughter is an avid hiker and I have enjoyed many treks with her in the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest. 

Mary T: As I have aged I have really come to appreciate hiking and ‘stopping to smell the roses’.  I have done over 40 marathons and this will be my first 50K. 

7 Continents, Africa

You have another friend from Houston, Kathy, and an Australian-based teammate, Kerrianne, joining you in team 7 Continents Strong that you’ll meet for the first time on event day!  

Sissy: Yes, we are so excited that Kerrianne is joining us and we can’t wait to meet her.  When we put the call out on the Coastrek page we weren’t sure if there would be anyone willing to join a team of people they didn’t know – but Kerrianne stepped up!   

One of the best things about running and hiking events are the people you meet along the way.  Runners and hikers are amazing people. A positive group mentality of strength is felt in the atmosphere with each participant supporting and encouraging their peers.  

7 Continents, Athens Europe

There isn’t much coastline in landlocked Houston, so the team have been travelling an hour to beaches of Galveston for some much-needed sand training for Coastrek.  They plan to explore more of the Sunshine Coast and Australia to complete their amazing run around the globe on a high!