Marathon runner Kimi Puntillo visits Vail |

Marathon runner Kimi Puntillo visits Vail

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL, Colorado ” For many years, Kimi Puntillo hated running.

“I found exercising every day a chore,” the Manhattan journalist said.

That changed when Puntillo started running marathons in her mid-30s in an effort to rebuild her life after a divorce. Although she once despised getting up before 7 a.m., Puntillo found herself looking forward to morning training.

“There are rewards to the training that end up seeping into your life,” she said. “Running became more important to me than my morning cup of coffee.”

Puntillo, 51, appears in the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the first woman to run marathons on every continent. She plans to highlight some of those races during a talk tonight at Donovan Pavilion in Vail. The free event is part of the Vail Symposium’s Unlimited Adventures series.

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For Puntillo, completing the New York City Marathon in 1995 marked the beginning of a journey. Pleased with the positive energy she received from training ” not to mention the two dress sizes she dropped ” Puntillo started traveling to marathons throughout the world.

In France, she finished the Marathon du Medoc: a race that rewards runners with a glass of wine every three miles. A bar stocked with oysters even greets runners at mile 23.

“It’s just the most amazing oyster bar you’ve ever seen,” Puntillo said. “Then you go a couple miles up the road and they have filet mignon, and then they switch up to cheese and crackers. It’s not your average marathon fare.”

In China, Puntillo ran a marathon on the Great Wall. She scaled 60,000 stairs, some of them more than knee high.

Puntillo’s adventures have even taken her to a marathon at Mount Everest. She trekked for three weeks to the starting line at about 17,000 feet, just below Mount Everest base camp in Nepal.

“It was like running in heaven,” Puntillo recalled. “It was an amazing, life changing race.”

Because the air was so thin, Puntillo said the race took twice as long as a marathon at sea level. She even encountered a group of horned yaks during the race.

Puntillo describes 100 races throughout the world in her guidebook, “Great Races, Incredible Places,” which is due for release March 24.

“I’m not an elite runner by any stretch,” she said. “I got so much enjoyment out of running and it did so much for me. I think a lot of people don’t realize, especially if you’re a nonrunner, that there are races out there for every different ability and that it is enjoyable. It improves your life.”

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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