Andrew Skurka is a 26-year-old backpacker best known for being the first to complete the 7,778-mile Sea-to-Sea Route in July 2005. His 11-month, transcontinental hike began in Quebec and followed a network of trails to Washington. This accomplishment earned Skurka some of the top accolades in the outdoor industry in 2005 and 2006.
After months of careful planning, Skurka hit the trail again on April 9, attempting to become the first person to complete the Great Western Loop. This 6,875-mile footpath is made up of a network of five existing long-distance hiking trails and a self-designed section that passes through the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. The trip started on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and will take seven months to complete. Ending in early-November, Skurka will have passed though 12 national parks and over 75 wilderness areas during his journey.
In addition to impressive backpacking experience, Skurka is also a conservationist and well-respected public speaker. Skurka has been an ambassador of living a ?lightweight lifestyle? in hopes to minimize his individual impact on the environment while raising awareness of the environmental implications caused by global warming.
Astronaut Sunita Williams qualified for the 2007 Boston Marathon in 2006 when she ran a 3 hour, 29 minutes, 57 second marathon in Houston. Williams is on board the International Space Station(ISS) in orbit more than 200 miles above earth. With a return date set for summer, the NASA flight engineer did not want her qualifying performance to expire while executing Expedition 14.
On April 14, Williams will run the 111th Boston Marathon, becoming the first Boston Marathon qualifier to run the prestigious race in space. The Boston Athletic Association issued Williams bib number 14,000 to honor her current mission.
Williams has been training on a special treadmill since she arrived at the ISS in December. The system incorporates a harness of bungee cords that pull on her hips and shoulders, and is designed to reduce impact on the space station.
Williams has benefited from all her training by maintaining bone and muscle density, a serious issue in reduced gravity.
Fitness has never been an issue for this endurance athlete who recently set the record for women's space walking at more than 29 hours.