Local business owner attempting to run 7 continents

Competes in final marathon in Africa on Saturday

A local business owner is attempting to complete a pretty big athletic challenge.

Bob Schmidt is the owner of Schmidty’s in La Crosse.  He bought the restaurant from his parents in 1994.  Today, if you go out to eat at Schmidty’s, you’ll notice it’s covered in marathon memorabilia.  Old running jerseys, awards, and banners are hung up throughout the restaurant.

Schmidt says all in all, he’s competed in over 50 marathons.  In 2004, he started a goal to run the 26.2 mile race on all 7 continents.  So far, he’s raced on 6, which includes running the Great Wall of China and making a trip to Antarctica.

“There’s no cities, there’s no roads.  The only thing down there is the science teams.  They have a few buildings but they have no roads.  They kind of set up the course.  Sometimes I had the choice of running 300 yards through water and mud, so pick your poison,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt only needs to run a marathon in Africa to complete his challenge. 

He’s competing in the ‘Big Five Marathon’ on Saturday.  It’s held just outside Kruger National Park in South Africa, which is one of the country’s largest game reserves.

Schmidt says it’s hard to believe that he’s just a few days away from finishing his over 12-year long goal.

“I think it’s going to be a relief in some way, but its also going to be a great sense of satisfaction finishing a long term goal many years ago and completing that goal is going to be very fulfilling,” said Schmidt.