Nurses finish as top runners in World Marathon Challenge

The challenge involved seven marathons in seven days

Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge is first to run marathon in less than 2 hours

World Marathon Challenge 2023 is an incredible challenge. Contestants have seven days to complete seven marathons across seven continents. That’s over 183 miles to run.

According to, two of the challenge’s top finishers are not just running dynamos. They’re certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA). Jin Zhu and Danielle Witkowski are complete strangers whose fates aligned at the World Marathon Challenge 2023 when they completed the monumental race as top-seven finishers.

CRNA for Envision Physicians Solutions at JFK Medical Center, Danielle Witkowski finished sixth in the female category. It’s an incredible feat that she believes working as a health care professional prepared her for.

“I think working as a CRNA in a challenging ever changing stressful environment and working long hours really prepares me mentally and physically to run long distances,” Witkowski told “The focus and discipline I learned from running from a young age comes in handy in my everyday life as a CRNA. Both taught me to be patient and be comfortable in an ever-changing, unpredictable environment.”

First batch of photos from World Marathon Challenge 2023 in Miami .

Posted by World Marathon Challenge on Tuesday, February 7, 2023

“[Being a CRNA] has great flexibility with work hours, 8-plus weeks vacation time, excellent job security, a career where I can truly make a difference and have a real impact on patients and their families,” she told “Being a CRNA also gives me professional pride and financial independence and afford a great life, work, family balance. It is a profession that keeps you on your toes, always something new to learn and rarely boring. I love what I do for a living.”

A fellow nurse anesthetist, Jin Zhu, 59, is already back at work at Detroit’s DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“I feel like my body is fine,” she told the news organization. “My knee is kind of swollen and there’s still a little pain now. But I have no muscles sore.”

The seven-part marathon ventured from Antarctica, South Africa, Australia, Dubai, Spain, Brazil and finally to Miami. A globe trotting adventure Zhu will likely not soon forget.

“People came from 13 countries,” she said. “Antarctica didn’t have a shower. The other places – they all had those facilities in, like, sports centers. In Madrid, it was a high school. But in Brazil, we didn’t have time to have a shower.”