Strums & Strides

7 marathons. 7 continents. All for the healing power of music.

Join Nick Stark (Stukel) on his journey to become the first medical student to run marathons on every continent while raising funds and awareness for Musicians On Call.

One Down, Six To Go

Well, I survived! There is nothing like four hours of running in blistering heat and suffocating humidity to say, "Welcome to Southeast Asia!" Haha. 

Running the Phuket International Marathon was an amazingly unique experience. From the earliest start time I have heard of (4:30am) to the squelching heat, and from the amazing ocean and village views to the unbeatable hospitality of our Thai hosts, running 42 kilometers in Phuket is something I will never forget. The conditions made this marathon more difficult than I was expecting, which I think was appropriate; every step reminded me why I am on this journey and reaffirmed my passion for integrating music and medicine, both in my own life and in the lives of my future patients. 

In addition to the whole marathon thing (and some solid naps on the beach to help 'recover'), Southeast Asia has been full of surprises. Brett and I discovered the Malaysian gem that is Kuala Lumpur-- you know, one of those cities they list the temperature for on the weather channel and you always think, "Hmm, I wonder where that is at...". We were able to see the expanse of the city from the top of the Petronas towers (tallest twin towers in the world) and explore some Hindu caves just outside the city before heading off to Phuket. 

Take a second and google "Phuket." [Pro tip: I thought the 'Ph' was pronounced 'f' -- it is not that exciting. Gotta drop the 'h' :) ] I thought the pictures had to be too good to be true and was thrilled to discover that it is actually as breathtakingly beautiful as they say it is. We were blessed with some great weather and explored a lot on foot the first few days. Yesterday, we went out on a sea canoe to explore some caves that carve their way through some of the nearly 200 islands that jut out of the ocean. It was stunning, and possibly my favorite day of the trip so far! I have loved the opportunity to meet both locals and people from around the world on this adventure, all the while broadening my perspective and appreciation for the world. 

With less than a week left in Asia, it is off to explore the temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap and the Great Wall in Beijing. 

Keep running,

Nick 

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