Tee Morgan looks like a svelte and shapely twenty one year old but if you had seen her 5 years ago, you wouldn’t recognize her. She was obese and weighing all of 121kg. Scared that her weight could cost her life, Tee began to run on the treadmill, then from the treadmill she graduated to the tracks and has never stopped since then.
In this interview with Toni Kan, Tee Morgan who lives in the UAE and has run marathons on all 7 continents plus Antarctica and North Pole talks about her motivation and what it felt like at the Boston Marathon the day the Tsarnaev brothers detonated bombs at the finish line.
Sabinews: So, you thought you were over-weight, then you started working out and now you have run marathons on 5 continents. What is chasing you?
Tee Morgan: I have run on all 7 continents twice. That’s Antarctica, Oceania, Africa, Asia, North America, South America and Europe
SBN: Wow. So what’s the motivation? How did it all start?
TM: My health was deteriorating. I was always visiting the doctors. I was always breathless. I have 4 sons and really wanted a quality of life, to be able to do things with them.
SBN: So, how did you go from keeping fit to world class marathoner?
TM: Initially all I wanted to do was to get down from 121kg. I didn’t even think I could run. As soon as I started running 5k non-stop on the treadmill I decided to go outdoors. My first marathon was January 2012 in Dubai. That felt really good, and I
said why don’t I just keep running the world.
SBN: You have run on 7 continents. Where did you meet the biggest challenge?
TM: I have run Antarctica twice, and the first time I did that race I swore never to run it again. But knowing the kind of personality I have, I knew I was going to go back for more. So, I ran it again and honestly promised myself that was enough… but after saying that the North Pole came around and I signed up with no training. I can say that was my hardest so far. My body was confused.
SBN: So Antartica is different from the North Pole?
TM: Well, one was -22 and the other was -42C. So, yes very different
SBN: How many people ran at the North Pole and describe for us how you got there and how the race is organised?
TM: I think 44 of us. Will have to check that figure.
SBN: Ok, how did you get there, how does it work. Do you run on your legs or on skis?
TM: The North Pole marathon really lives up to its name as the world’s coolest marathon. I raced at the top of the world. I kept asking myself if I had the nerve and drive to travel to the North Pole and run on the Arctic Ice Floes, with 6 to 12 feet separating me from 12,000 feet of Arctic Ocean. I live in the Middle East and training for that race was impossible. This Marathon is not run on land but on water. I became the first Nigerian to run this race. I raised my country’s flag at the finish line. No Nigerian has ever run a race on the North Pole. I want to see more Nigerians run it. I went there to prove to others that it can be done by ordinary people.
Yes it was. I ran on King George Island in Antarctica and it was nothing like this. The North Pole drained my energy. I was mentally and physically challenged.
SBN:Has anyone ever died during these races?
TM: No. Thank God. We had doctors on site. The organisers are very careful. We also had a race briefing before we started
SBN: I don’t mean when you ran but in its history?
TM: No. No one has died thank God.
SBN: What happens during the briefing?
TM: They let you know what precautions to take, and the possibilities of a polar bear killing you or frostbites. We had people with guns around. It was well protected and we knew what to do if we saw a polar bear.
SBN: You are told all this at the briefing.
SBN: Did you see any polar bear?
TM: No. We actually travelled on a snowmobile to the East Coast from Longyearbyen in Norway about 900km to find one. We didn’t see one
SBN: Ok. You ran the Boston marathon. What was it like?
TM: Yes I ran Boston in 2013 and 2014. I have done it twice.
SBN: Oh my God. You ran the year the bombing happened. Describe it for us?
TM: I was terrified. I still remember the explosion, the sound, the chaos at the finish line and how runners were all running back into us and we really hurt ourselves. It was a very sad day for runners and all involved; spectators too.
Like everything else in life, you have to take your chances. I travelled to Rio in Brazil two months after that experience and ran another marathon. It felt really good and I got my reassurance that everything will be ok.
SBN: You ran Boston again. Were you not scared? How did you summon up courage to run Boston the next year?
TM: Yes I did. The more reason I went back. We called it Boston Strong. Runners can’t be stopped.
SBN: You have run on 7 continents. How do you fund it, because it must be expensive?
TM: It is very expensive. I fund my trips myself. I wish I had a company to sponsor me. Imagine the places I go to and raising a company’s logo on there. Running internationally isn’t cheap but then again I don’t buy expensive bags or shoes.. Running gave me a purpose
SBN: What do you do for a living?
TM: I teach. I am a teacher.
SBN:What do you teach
TM: I teach Government employees. It depends on what the requirements are for the budget year. My first degree is in Accounting and Finance and I have a Masters in Business Administration and also in Education
SBN: You mentioned that you have four kids, is anyone of them running?
TM: Yes 3 of my boys have started running. But the 3rd one will do his first half marathon with me in Dubai soon by God’s grace
SBN: How old is he?
TM: 16. I have a 20,18, 16 and almost 8.
SBN: You talked about how expensive it is to fund marathons, if you had 2 minutes with a Brand Manager who would love to fund your races what would you tell him?
TM: I am becoming the face of long distance running in Nigeria and I say that out of confidence. With God’s help, I have travelled to so many countries for marathons, places that the Nigerian flag has never seen. I am not a professional runner, but I want to inspire the youth, people of my age and even younger that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. I became the first Nigerian to run all 7 continents with another friend Abisoye and the first Nigerian on the North Pole. With GOD’s help I have lots of other things I want to achieve.
SBN: How old are you, you don’t look a day older than 21?
TM:I am 42 years old.
SBN: So, 7 continents and the North Pole, what is next for Tee Morgan?
TM: I am off to Kilimanjaro for my first climbing experience, then in January 2016, by God’s grace, I will bike the 7 continents. It has never been done in history. I will be one of the first group of people to have ever biked on all 7 continents by God’s grace
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