They didn't run just one marathon, they ran 366. They didn't run them over a lifetime, but in 366 days. And they didn't just eat healthy, they stuck to a raw, vegan diet.
Meet cancer survivor Janette Murray-Wakelin and her husband Alan Murray. Two 60-something distance runners from Australia who spent 2013 running over 26 miles every single day for a quest they call RunRAW2013.
"With what we have experienced in life so far, we would say that there isn't anything that scares us, rather there are challenges to face in life that may seem difficult," Jannette tells us. "Approaching them one step at a time puts the challenge into perspective… Beating cancer and attaining optimal health and physical fitness at our ages (68 and 64); running a marathon every day for 366 days around Australia on a raw vegan diet, through all weather conditions and all terrains with no days off and sustaining no injuries, has proven beyond doubt that by doing 100% the best you can, the options in life are limitless."
Clad in hats and fancy shoes, Jannette and Alan travelled across the entire country on their feet, through bush fires, horizontal rain and temperatures nearing 113 degrees. They consumed somewhere near 3,000-4,000 calories a day eating solely fruits and vegetables. On some occasions, that meant fueling their fire with up to 30 bananas over 24 hours.
Their diet also included fresh greens, which they ate raw or pressed into juice, oranges, almonds, macadamia and Brazil nuts.
"We made a conscious choice to eat a raw vegan low fat diet for our own health and physical performance," Jannette explains. "By not cooking the food, the nutrients and live enzymes required to assimilate the nutrients are not destroyed and therefore by eating 100% raw vegan food in abundance, we get 100% nutrients from the food."
Over the course of the year, the two covered closed to 10,000 miles. Though there were many aches and pains along the journey, they managed to come out sans injuries and feeling well. Jannette said weather conditions were the most difficult part of the journey, including running through a cyclone. While RunRAW2013 was about endurance rather than speed, they still clocked in great times: Alan hitting 3 hrs., 20 mins. for his fastest race, and Jannette 3 hrs., 40 mins for hers.
Jannette attributes this feat to the strength of their diet and training regimen, and it seems their deep connection could be a source of stamina. The two are internationally acclaimed endurance athletes and motivational speakers who have been married for over 40 years.
"Running has added several dimensions to our lives in that it keeps us moving and revitalizes the body and soul," she points out.
When Jannette was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 52, she was given about six months to live. Over a decade later, she's more than alive. In addition to running, she and her husband also do yoga and strength training exercises. They eat an early dinner and hit the sack by 9 pm to obtain optimum rest.
Despite what critics may say, Jannette believes a person can run as much as they desire without experiencing knee or joint problems, so long as they build up to it, and keep healthy in the process. Even her seemingly unusual diet provides benefits most people would never consider.
"It is also essential to keep a pH balance of 80% alkaline intake from food, which can only be obtained from fresh fruits and vegetables," she notes. "There is also protein in fruit such as oranges that we eat in abundance, so the idea that one needs to eat animal products to obtain enough protein in their diet is clearly a myth…We have proven beyond doubt that a plant based raw vegan diet is not only adequate but highly recommended for athleticism and overall health."
Now that they're not running all day, every day, Jannette and Alan hope to inspire others and push their positivity outward.
She remarks, "We believe the biggest accomplishment of RunRAW2013 has been reaching out to hundreds and thousands of people worldwide with a positive message of hope, that what we have accomplished has inspired others to live a more conscious lifestyle and that the example we have set has motivated others to think and act with kindness and compassion to all living beings for the betterment of their own health, the health and well-being of the animals, the health of the environment and this planet we call home."