To finance Seattle parks, this vet will cross Antarctica

Update: Seattle’s Kyle McCoy finished first in the 4th Antarctic Desert Race. He drove a total of 250 kilometers and raised some $ 75,000 in funds for the Seattle Parks Foundation. The former Army Cap claimed it was a day he will never forget. In a Facebook post shortly after finishing, he wrote: “It’s a day I’ll absolutely never forget.”

Imagine running a marathon. Now imagine running six consecutive marathons. As Veterans Day draws near, former Army Captain Kyle McCoy’s goal is nearing completion with his preparations for a series of marathons.

In Antarctica, nothing less. It’s a place that even one organization that promotes adventure running and marathons describes as “the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on the planet.”

His run will be for a good cause: raising funds for the Seattle Parks Foundation. For McCoy, a Seattle investment banker, supporting the work of nonprofits and challenging themselves with tough races in remote places seem to go hand in hand.

“For some reason, I’ve always enjoyed testing my absolute limits, both physically and mentally,” McCoy says. “I am also curious to meet other people who would participate in these races, as they are fascinating in so many ways. And, it sounds a bit cliché, but I just want to see the world. My wife and I are on a mission to visit over 100 countries, and it was an easy way to see what would otherwise have been quite inaccessible in the world.

McCoy, who graduated from Gonzaga in 2001, ran in high school and college, and continued to run in Afghanistan, where he completed four terms of service, according to the college’s alumni magazine. He became addicted to long distances after running the New York Marathon in 2007.

Since 2010, when he raised $ 15,000 for United Way of King County, McCoy has combined his love of ultra-marathon running with fundraising for worthy organizations. In 2013, he raised just over $ 25,000 for the non-profit military organization United Service Organization, with a seven-day race in Chile. In 2015, he raised some $ 55,000 for the Trust for Public Land.

Erin Miller, Director of Development for the Seattle Parks Foundation, says, “This year we were so honored that Kyle chose us as the beneficiary of this race.

The choice was quite natural. McCoy is a board member of the Parks Foundation, which supports community-led public space initiatives and works with the public to improve, build and maintain local parks.

“I’m watching my 2.5 year old daughter and she’s obsessed with parks right now,” McCoy says. “Every time we walk past a park, it’s like she has a park radar.”

Plus, he says, “The world is urbanizing pretty quickly, and Seattle is among the first cities to urbanize. And parks can be left behind pretty quickly, if we don’t pay much attention to them. , that’s what Seattle Parks Foundation does.

McCoy’s trip to Antarctica, which begins Nov. 18, will take him 155 miles in six days. It is organized by 4 Deserts, a group that sponsors a series of races covering four major deserts, the Sahara in Namibia, Atacama in Chile, Gobi in China and Antarctica. This is his last of four races.

“The landscapes of these terrains – the desert landscape, I describe it as equally brutal and beautiful,” says McCoy. The midday heat is terrible in a desert – but not in Antarctica where, even running at one of the best times of the year, temperatures could be around minus 10 degrees. Runners should wear survival gear for high winds and even be prepared to shelter in place overnight in extreme weather conditions.

However, he says of being in the wilderness, “If you wake up in the morning or watch the sunset at night, it’s so beautiful and it might look cheesy, but it’s one of the best times. It’s kind of an emotional experience, which my wife harasses me because she thinks I need to show more emotion. His wife, Katie, is a partner in a law firm and shares her love for founding parks.

McCoy has trained daily and recently ran the Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon, where he was third in 2 hours and 55 minutes. McCoy says fundraising helps her stay focused on training for a race. “You go an insane amount of miles, but then you realize that the only way to train 155 miles in seven days is to cover a significant amount of miles in a week,” McCoy said. “You know I have done it over and over again, but every time I know I could do a little bit more, but it takes so long and I also work full time.”

The next stop for McCoy after his final 4 Desert race is February’s Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska, where McCoy will mountain bike 350 miles. McCoy doesn’t want to repeat his races, so he will be looking at new events in new countries.

“I’ll always have an effort,” says McCoy. “There is a Japanese man who won the last race in Namibia and he gave a great speech, and he said, ‘The end of the race is the start of the next.’ I was like, it’s awesome.

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