"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
~ Lao Tzu
Running the World: Marathon Memoirs from the Seven Continents
When I set out to run a marathon on all seven continents, I expected the adventure of a lifetime. I expected to travel to the ends of the earth and meet new people and places.
I didn’t expect to travel to the ends of the earth and meet myself. I didn’t expect the journey to see me through both joy and heartbreak, and to lead me to a way of living and being that nourishes my creative soul.
My journey around the world was, at heart, a journey of self-discovery that we all have the power to take.
Whether you're a seasoned runner, an armchair traveler, or a fellow human on the path of creating a more meaningful and fulfilling life, I hope my story will inspire you!
Advance Praise for Running the World
“I’ve always said, ‘If you want to find out what you’re made of, run a marathon.’ If you want to find out who you are, run many marathons. Melissa gives us all a wonderful insider’s view of how the path to perfection lies in the moment-to-moment choices we make, combined with our ability to let go of control . . . A great read and a beautiful book.”
of Danny and Katherine Dreyer, Authors of ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running and ChiWalking: Fitness Walking for Lifelong Health and Energy
"Even if you're a sprinter like me, you'll love getting into the mind of a marathoner and, more, seeing the world's beauty through Melissa's lens."
CEO, Xero Shoes
"Beautiful, inspiring, and illuminating, Melissa Corley Carter's story and photos take you through her life's journey, sharing her dreams and disappointments as she continues to follow her own path and inspire others."
Author of Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer
"Melissa has spent a lifetime challenging herself professionally and on many fields of play. I commend her on her accomplishments and to have the courage to chronicle her achievements in Running the World."
Antarctica Marathon Race Director, Seven Continents Club Founder
"I am always on a quest for fun, and Melissa shows how she translated her love of running into a fun way to see the world! No passport required—just an open mind to experience a great adventure across the seven continents! Through the people Melissa met, the photographs she took, and the marathons she completed, I felt like I had traveled with her. Bravo! What a great inspiration this journey has been for me!"
MPhotog, CR, F-ASP
About the Book
For Melissa Corley Carter, setting lofty goals—and crushing them—has always been the norm. When she discovered a passion for running, she immediately set out to run a marathon. And when that aspiration was conquered, of course she couldn't stop there. Riding the postrace rush of completing that first marathon, she soon resolved to run at least six more: one on each continent. She decided to run the world.
See this world through Melissa's eyes on her journey as a runner, dreamer, and hardworking free spirit to whom nothing is off limits. Raw, personal photos taken during her races capture the beauty and variety of these diverse landscapes while her words of determination, struggle, self-reflection, and triumph show how life itself is a marathon too. It may be difficult, full of challenges and hills, but at the crest of those hills, we find rest and peace; that ringing feeling of true success; and the strength to conquer the next challenge we face and every hill after.
About the Author
A rocket scientist and Air Force officer turned writer, artist, leadership coach, and resilience champion, Melissa Corley Carter builds grounded leaders, connected humans, and powerful teams that change the world. A certified professional coach who holds two engineering degrees from Stanford University, an MBA from the University of New Mexico, and a PhD in astronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School, Melissa brings a unique blend of soft skills and technical expertise to her work. A firm believer that resilience actually is rocket science, Melissa helps people go from where they are to where they want to be. She encourages others to acknowledge their progress, adjust course, and let go to lift off.
A minimalist running enthusiast and hot yoga practitioner, Melissa also loves creating collages, handcrafting unique greetings cards, and photographing wildlife, landscapes, seasons, and other forms of progression. She dances with the universe daily and joyfully embodies her soul's journey as the Barefoot Dancing Rocket Scientist.
Published by Brown Books Publishing Group