On this day in 2007, Anthony “Tony” Reed completed an amazing achievement. The Dallas-based project manager and executive became the first Black person to complete a marathon race on all seven continents of the world. Reed, a St. Louis native, was born on July 22, 1955. At the age of eight, he was diagnosed with glycosuria, a pre-diabetic condition.
He excelled in academics, obtaining degrees from Webster University, Dallas’ Abilene Christian University, and the University of Texas at Dallas. As a teenager, Reed became involved in track and field and cross-country running. In 1975, he took up long-distance running to remain healthy and to combat his diagnosis. Reed ran his first marathon in 1982. From there, he set a goal to run 50 marathons by the time he hit the age of 50. Reed broke that mark in 2002, and kept up his winning ways.
The co-founder of the National Black Marathoners Association, Reed conquered his last continent by competing in Kenya’s Safaricom Lewa Marathon on June 23, 2007. Reed at one time thought that Black participants in long-distance running were few and far between but his race in the African nation proved that he was not alone.
“As I looked in front of me, I saw a stream of black runners,” Reed said. “In 25 years of running, I had never seen that many blacks in a distance race. Unforgettable.”
Reed has raced in over 125 marathons and has earned eight weight and age division trophies. According to reports, fewer than 250 other runners have finished the seven continents challenge. Reed published the memoir Running Shoes Are Cheaper than Insulin: Marathon Adventures on All Seven Continents,” and has also contributed to Runner’s World magazine.