Runner Michael Wardian details his experiences exploring the globe on foot.

Landon Cowan

People discover their mantra in different ways, sometimes through struggle and other times from success.

Michael Wardian found his after throwing up 15 times in 2001 during his first 100K race, The Chancellor Challenge, in Boston. 

A 47-year-old marathon runner, Wardian continues to rely on this slogan in every phase of his life, which has led to several extraordinary accomplishments along the way. Wardian has won the World Marathon Challenge twice and competed for team USA in the World Championships, while also racing in about 50 races every year. 

Perhaps nothing compares to running in the World Marathon Challenge, a seven-day, seven-marathon challenge on each of the seven continents, something Wardian won in 2017 and 2019. He still holds the world record with an average of 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

In his first attempt, Wardian only managed a total of 15 hours of sleep within the seven days of races. “I was able to use the adrenaline from each new continent,” Wardian says, “just to be able to make it through the week.” 

The final race was in Sydney, Australia, where he finished his biggest milege week ever at around 183 miles. After winning, he went out and ran 17 miles just to run his first ever 200-mile week. 

This upcoming year Wardian plans to run 50 miles a day on average while running across America, starting in California and ending in Delaware, in less than 75 days to raise money for World Vision’s clean water project. His goal is to raise $100,000 for the developing world, primarily in Africa. According to a local news outlet in Arlington, Virginia, Wardian said, “I haven’t had a great chance to explore the United States. I have raced in different states but never strung it all together.”

Wardian’s life does not lie solely in his running. With a wife and two sons, Wardian invests a lot of time in his family, while balancing a job as an international ship broker. His approach always stays the same—stay relentless.