Profile for Karl Ahlgren

City Tulsa       State   Oklahoma    
Country USA        
Date of Birth     01-Sep-53         Gender:   M  
# of Marathons Completed:   25         Personal Best Time:   3:19.26         Year of Personal Best:   2011
# of countries completed a marathon:   7
# of countries completed a race:   7

Marathon Info
 I have run a marathon on all seven continents
 I am planning to run a half-marathon on all seven continents


 
Completed Continents
Continent Event Name      Year
 North America     Boston Marathon      2009
 South America     Coasta Del Pacifico, Renaca, Chile      2012
 Europe     Fairland Valley Challenge,Stevenage, UK      2011
 Asia     Tiberias Israel Marathon      2014
 Africa     Casablanca Morocco Marathon      2014
 Oceania     Cadbury Marathon, Hobart, Tasmania Australia      2010
 Antarctica     The Last Marathon, Antartica      2015
 
Favorite marathon
Why?
Tulsan, 61, conquers marathons on every continent in seven years to join elite Seven Continents Club Seven marathons, seven continents, seven years 18 By COREY JONES World Staff Writer The trip was adventure enough just arriving off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, where Karl Ahlgren went to sleep on a ship after staring at hills partially covered by snow. Then an overnight storm struck King George Island, and the Tulsa marathoner awoke to a landscape that was entirely white. Race organizers altered the course, and Ahlgren set off March 9 to complete seven marathons on all seven continents in seven calendar years by taking on the 2015 Antarctica Marathon. He finished in 4 hours, 11 minutes and 34 seconds, good for 11th place overall of 136 finishers. ?This is a run like none other,? said 61-year-old Ahlgren, who was the third finisher off his ship. A second ship of competitors ran the next day. ?It?s a trail run, and so we ran in mud, we ran in snow, we ran in water ? we were constantly maneuvering back and forth between finding firm footing. It was clearly the hardest marathon I?ve ever run.? But the time wasn?t as important to Ahlgren, who is chief of staff for 2nd District U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin. Ahlgren was after what only a handful of the world?s marathoners have joined ? the Seven Continents Club. Marathon Tours & Travel, which hosted the Antarctica Marathon, estimates about 500 people have accomplished the feat. In finishing a marathon on every continent, Ahlgren reinforced what he already knew ? the value of friendship and people who support your endeavors. A person can accomplish so much more than they think, he said, adding that he remains inspired today by people who begin running for the first time to benefit the mind, body and soul. ?A lot of times we limit ourselves in our personal life and professional life and spiritual life,? he said. Ahlgren said it takes several days to get to Antarctica via numerous modes of transportation. He and his wife, Mary Alice, together went on the 17-day excursion there and back. The couple participated in three continental landing expeditions and a boat excursion, seeing 25 species of wildlife. During the race, three seals crossed the path in front of Ahlgren, who also saw penguins on a beach after he finished the race. ?I?m truly grateful,? Ahlgren said Wednesday, his second day back stateside. He chuckled: ?I am tired right now.? In general, Ahlgren said, something unexpected and unusual happened to him in every international marathon he undertook. In Israel in January 2014, near the end of the race he began wheezing from severe dehydration. In Mile 26, Ahlgren bounced off cars and plastic barricades, stumbling and falling to the ground as he tried to cover the remaining distance. The last time, he was seated on his buttocks unable to rise and facing the wrong way. ?All I remember seeing is a hand come behind me and grab hold of my hand, and this guy pulled me up,? Ahlgren said. ?And I fell 5 feet over the finish line.? Ahlgren passed out and ended up in the medical tent before going to an Israeli hospital for 10 hours. Then there was a marathon in July 2011 in England on an unmarked course, which was unknown to Ahlgren until he showed up and was handed four front-and-back pages of directions. ?The smartest decision I made was putting the directions in my backpack and saying, ?Who?s done this before?? ? Two or three people raised their hands and he followed them on an ?amazing experience,? running through countryside meadows and encountering a typical day of English weather ? cool turning hot but also featuring clouds, wind and rain. Ahlgren?s journey didn?t begin as a continental march to join such an elite club. Rather, at age 39 he began running with a group of people and decided to train for the Tulsa Run ? a 15K or 9.3-mile race. The Tulsa Run felt like a long way to go, but Ahlgren developed a passion for covering even longer distances. Not long after, in November 1995, he entered the Tulsa Marathon. He hit the proverbial wall at Mile 20, doing a combination walk-jog to finish. It would be five years before he tried a marathon again. ?I was pretty beat up,? Ahlgren recalled. ?I remember just trying to walk, and I could barely walk downstairs and upstairs.? Eventually, Ahlgren?s goal became to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He tried for seven years, finally succeeding in 2007. He deferred for a year and ran it in 2009. It served as his springboard to joining the Seven Continents Club. Ahlgren doesn?t plan on doubling up on the feat, but he will support his wife as she attempts to do seven half-marathons on seven continents. She has two down, neither of which were in the United States. ?God?s given me an ability and athletic talent, and I?m just fortunate at 61 I can still run and enjoy exercise and appreciate it,? Ahlgren said. Corey Jones 918-581-8359 corey.jones@tulsaworld.com
Most memorable running experience The Fairland Valley Challenge in England was so much fun. I knew it was going to be an event when the race director handed us 3 pages of instructions to complete the race. I promptly put the papers in my backpack. I asked around to see who had done the race before and found one person who had. I said, "I'm following you!" We started in Stevenage a small city approximately 50km NE of London. Within a short time we were running out of the city onto country roads lined with stone walls, grass filled rocks, tiny churches and an occasional horse drawn wagon. As we ran through wind swept meadows you could see runners off in the distance and suddenly we would come upon a fork-in-the-road. One person would say its this way and the others would look at the directions and say no its this way. Soon we were off again hopping over or going through wooden stiles. As if it were scripted the weather changed from a bight sunny day to clouds with intermittent rains showers. The cold drops of water felt so refreshing. Within minutes the clouds turned to sunshine and I was dry. Running alongside the Brits added new words to my vocabulary. I would say "good job" they would reply, "cheers" or "brilliant". For the next few hours we continued weaving our way past decades old farms and picturesque towns eventually finishing all 27.4 miles without getting off course once. Brilliant!
Other Highlights from running experiences Until completing The Last Marathon in Antarctica, the 2014 Boston Marathon was my most inspirational marathon. I had the privilege to travel to Boston with 25 friends from Tulsa who had qualified. Because we were going to be honoring the survivors and victims of the Boston Bombing, I decided before the race I was going to approach it as an event and not race for a specific time. Throughout the race I stopped when I saw someone or something that was unique to the Boston Marathon. I took pictures with a policeman; a father holding his 2 month old baby; a girl holder a crazy poster; standing with fireman on their fire truck; kissing a girl at Wellesley; Team Hoyt and his son (perhaps for the last time)'; 5 precious siblings all under the age of 10 wearing Boston Strong shirts and so many more amazing pictures. These are memories that I will cherish the rest of my life. The six international races I've done (Antarctica, UK, Chile, Israel, Morocoo and Australia) were amazing experiences. I spend the time throughout each race, to not only enjoy the surroundings but also to get to know some of the other runners. Nothing like killing a few hours of forward motion with some great conversation.