Spotlight on the First Nigerian North Pole Marathon Runner
“A South African has done the race; I don’t think any other Africans have done it, so for me it was awesome to do that for my country, for Nigeria and for Africa as a whole.“
Tuedon Morgan, 42, is the first Nigerian to plant her country’s flag at the North Pole in a race that consisted of 44 competitors from 22 countries. A wife, mother of four and with a full time job, Tuedon’s run 33 marathons and recounts her experience saying
“The North Pole was extremely difficult for me: It was so cold, with temperatures of -41 C, and I noticed that my body was losing a lot of energy – it was like the magnetic field was sucking all my energy out. The last 4km (2.5 miles) were the hardest for me – I started to see buildings where I knew that there was nothing there.”
This Nigerian athlete hasn’t always been an athlete. Weighing 121kg, which is about 266lbs, she woke one day in January 2008, looked at herself in the mirror and decided to change her lifestyle. The day she committed to doing this, she got into the gym, began walking on the treadmill, graduated to the road and just built up from there. And obviously, all of her hardwork paid off.
“I joined a running club – the first day they wanted to do a 7km run and it took me over two hours – I was the last one to finish but I went back the next day, I just wouldn’t give up. For me, losing weight, I wanted to do it as slowly as possible, gradually. I needed to learn to eat.”
Tuedon admits that the biggest problem was food – her love of food – therefore, herself and a friend, have founded a weight-loss group, that boasts over 5,000 African women as members, and have also authored a cook book which members can use for free to gather menu ideas.
This mother of four says “the message I’m sending out there is always belief in yourself, you have no limits, you can do whatever you want to do. We’re the ones who set the boundaries. It might take longer for some but if you’re persistent, if you keep knocking, it will happen.“
No truer words have ever been spoken and I have found her remark on persistence to be true in my own life. You see, I recently switched jobs and prior to landing my new position, I had been looking for a few years. I would get weary and stop for a while then I’d jump back in and start again. On one of the occasions when I began again, turns out that the very first position I applied to is the one I landed and honestly, I couldn’t be happier because everything has come together nicely – the location, the benefits, the pay, the company brand, the job responsibilities; everything! And all of this happened because of persistence; because I didn’t lose faith and stop completely.
Tuedon’s story of raising an African flag on the North Pole makes me proud because it’s one of our very own accomplishing something significant. Her story exists because she had a dream and made it happen through sheer determination and fortitude. My story exists because I also hung in there. May I encourage you to please hang in there?