After months of early-morning runs during Washington, D.C.’s relatively mild winter, Nick Stukel (MED/MBA ’18) traveled to King George Island, Antarctica, in March to compete in his fifth marathon in three years. Stukel, who aspires to be the first medical student to run a marathon on every continent, is promoting what he calls “the healing power of music” through the global marathon initiative he started, Strums & Strides.

Earning an impressive finish time of 3:48:48, Stukel completed Antarctica Marathon’s six-lap course an hour ahead of his goal.

"Running in Antarctica was intense. It's summer down there, so it wasn't as cold as I was necessarily expecting. It was right around freezing,” he said. “I think the hardest thing was the hills. The course was really hilly. And it's essentially a desert down there so it gets very windy, which was a challenge.”

Since launching Strums & Strides in 2013, Stukel has raised nearly $10,000 for Musicians on Call, a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring musicians to hospitals to play at patients’ bedsides. Stukel, who began playing piano at age 5, says music can improve patient outlooks, moods, and healing times.

In addition to his most recent race in Antarctica, Stukel has completed marathons in Thailand, Tanzania, Germany, and Argentina. He will run in Australia’s Gold Coast Marathon this July before completing his seventh marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., in October 2017.

Stukel’s progress can be tracked on his blog, http://www.strumsandstrides.org/blog.

 

--Lindsay Reilly