Some people will go a long way to support charity. For Dorn Wenninger, vice president of global food sourcing for Walmart U.S., not even the North Pole is too far.
Dorn was one of 56 runners from 21 countries who
participated in the 14th annual North Pole Marathon on April 9. Dubbed
the “World’s Coolest Marathon,” the
26.2-mile race not only challenges endurance athletes with its snow-covered,
icy terrain and bone-chilling weather, it also supports a variety of worthy
causes with hundreds of thousands of dollars raised each year.
Crossing the finish line after five hours and 17 minutes,
Dorn captured first place and secured his spot in an exclusive group of 428
people worldwide who have completed the marathon since 2002.
This year’s competitors ran to raise money for a variety of
causes worldwide. Dorn, who has been with Walmart almost six years, serves on
the boards of two nonprofit organizations: Cobblestone Farm in Northwest
Arkansas and Amigos de las Americas.
He will continue to raise money for Cobblestone
Farm, which produces organic produce that is then donated to local food
“I’m passionate about healthy eating, farming and produce,”
His passion also extends to running. In January, he participated
in a marathon in Trinidad and Tobago, where the temperature was 130 degrees
warmer than the lowest temperature he experienced while at the North Pole.
Knowing that running on snow and ice would be different, he
trained for the North Pole event on dirt and gravel trails. But the terrain
wasn’t his only concern. With temperatures between -25 and -43 degrees
Fahrenheit, his respiration froze and built up on his face mask. He used three
different masks throughout the five-hour run and ended up with early signs of
frost bite on his nose.
His North Pole adventure was supposed to last one and half
days, but a crack in the runway prevented Dorn from flying out for three days. Despite
the delay, he said the trip was an amazing experience.
Running is a great way to deal with stress, he said – even
on 6 feet of ice floating on 14,000 feet of Arctic Ocean. It also can have a
positive impact on other areas of life, from personal to business.
“Achieving the seemingly impossible helps demonstrate that
almost anything is possible, even when others don’t believe it is,” he said.
“Determination, focus and persistence go a long way in achieving goals.”
Dorn never imagined he’d win the North Pole race, but with
that victory in hand, he now has his eye on a few other challenges just as
difficult – or more so.
incredible what people are capable of when they put their mind to it,” he said.
“The thought of running a marathon at the North Pole sounds so extreme that
it's virtually unbelievable. I welcomed the challenge of proving, to myself,
that it is possible.”
Photos courtesy of North Pole Marathon.