Local runners and former Marlins participate in cross-country marathon

MIAMI (WSVN) - Local runners, including former Miami Marlins’ President David Samson, will run seven marathons on seven continents in only a week.

Samson and some other local sports icons are running in the 777 Marathon not only for the experience but for charity. The former Marlins president and a group of 16 people will embark on the cross-country marathon.

“We are gonna be in seven continents in seven days starting in Antarctica, where we will run 26.2 miles,” said Samson. “Then, we’ll get on a plane and go to Cape Town, South Africa, and run another 26.2 miles the next day, and then we get on a plane to Perth and land in Australia and run 26.2 miles. Then we go to Dubai and run 26.2 miles. Then we fly to Lisbon and run 26.2 miles. Then, we fly to Cartagena and run 26.2 miles, and then, on Feb. 5, we will land in Miami and run, go to South Beach, run 26.2 miles, and the beautiful part is the finish line is right at the University of Miami hospital, so it’s literally perfect. We’re going to go right into a room.”

Samson was able to convince former Marlins outfielder Jeff Conine and Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill to join him on this journey.

“Why not?” asked Conine. “David Samson called me about this two years ago, and the first things that came out of his mouth were, ‘Don’t say ‘no’ right away.’ He told me what he wanted to do and do it for charity, and I said, ‘All right, this is me not saying ‘no’ right away,’ but I thought it would go away.”

“It’s not an easy sell,” said Hill, “but then when you think about the charitable component of it and the awareness you bring to what you’re trying to do, it made all the sense in the world.”

Hill said he’s running in honor of his father, who died two years ago from pancreatic cancer.

Samson said he participated in an Ironman competition in 2006 to raise $250,000. He also ran in a double marathon in 2012, where $600,000 was raised.

The goal for 2018? Raise over $1 million, Samson said.

“I think it’s going to be as much a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge,” said Conine. “You’re going to have to deal with sleep deprivation and pain and all kinds of stuff, so this is no joke. We end Feb. 5 here in Miami, so tears will be shed. Not from joy — from pain.”

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