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Sharp Health News

Running at the edge of the world

Jan. 14, 2019

Running at the edge of the world

Dan Nodalo, a nurse at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, ran through 30-degree temperatures to complete the goal of a lifetime — running on all seven continents.

If you need inspiration to help you pursue your goals, look no further than Sharp Grossmont nurse-turned-worldwide-runner, Dan Nodalo.

Some 15 years ago, Dan was a guy in his 40s who had never been a runner, yet knew his exercise and overall health routine needed a facelift. His sister, a diehard runner, secretly signed him up — along with herself — for San Diego's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. He accepted the challenge, trained and completed the race.

And it did not end there. Dan became a runner for life, taking his passion literally around the globe. In 2018, he completed his goal of running a marathon on all seven continents when he finished the coveted Antarctica Marathon.

Racing in Antarctica would be the pinnacle of his seven-continent quest.

"Out of 193 runners from 17 countries who participated, 31 of us completed their Seventh Continent Marathon," says Dan. "I am very grateful to be one of them, and to join the group of 650 other people around the world to have achieved this feat."


Dan Nodalo running
Travel to Antarctica is limited, so Dan had to wait several years to participate in the marathon.

The race took him to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, where he boarded a ship with his fellow runners. Because travel to Antarctica is limited, Dan had waited several years to get on the list of runners. He says meeting up with penguins and experiencing one of the most pristine, unforgiving and untouched places in the world made it more than worth the wait.

"I never expected the marathon would pale in comparison to the rest of Antarctica, and would be the sideshow to one of the most incredible trips of my life," says Dan.

The day of the marathon, the temperature hovered around 30 degrees, dipping about 10 degrees whenever the wind kicked up. But he wouldn't trade it for the world.

"The marathon is so special to me because of the incredible people I met and became friends with. We started off as strangers, but with the same passion and goal, sailed together for 10 days off the grid, and shared the pain and agony of running in extreme weather and in the celebration of us all finishing this gruesome race."


Dan Nodalo with penguin
Dan had the rare opportunity to pose with a penguin in Antarctica.

Dan says any goal, be it a personal one or a resolution, comes with sacrifice. He shared some encouraging words for those who have a goal or resolution they are looking to reach — whether it relates to health, career, family or other parts of your life.

"There are plenty of times that I don't want to get up at 4 am to run, but I view it as a lifestyle, and for my mental health."

"Ask yourself, 'What matters most to me?' and, more importantly, 'What is the sacrifice I'm willing to sustain?'"

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