About Jeanne Masley Stawiecki
One of five children, Jeanne Masley Stawiecki grew up in the factory town of Webster, Massachusetts. In 1971, Jeanne completed nursing school and married her high school sweetheart. She enrolled at St. Vincent Hospital School of Anesthesia while continuing to work full-time. Two years later, she was awarded the Agatha Hodgin’s award for the most outstanding graduate nurse anesthetist.
When she realized that she couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without struggling to breathe, Jeanne quit her two packs a day smoking habit and began to exercise so she would not gain weight. She joined a runner’s club and in 1993 she heard about the running of the 100th Boston Marathon. The idea of running the 100th Boston Marathon sparked her to qualify. Although Jeanne had been running only twenty miles a week, she decided to try entering the NYC Marathon (a race that picks its entrants by lottery) to qualify for Boston. She soon learned that she had been accepted to run in the 1994 New York Marathon. In 1994, at 44 years old, Jeanne finished the NYC marathon in 3:36, qualifying for the Boston marathon.
After running the 99th Boston Marathon in 1995; another six consecutive Boston Marathons, including the 100th; and sixteen years of running, she wanted something more. She planned a trek to the Himalayas, traveling alone to meet a group of strangers who had all booked the same tour in Katmandu. The trip was a huge success and now Jeanne had found a new passion: Mt. Everest and the Himalayas.
In 2002 Jeanne took a technical mountaineering course in the Pacific Northwest with Alpine Ascents International, a climbing company from Seattle, Washington that specialized in guiding the Seven Summits. She signed on for the first of the seven, climbing Mt. Elbrus in Russia in July that same year.
In 2003 and 2004 she summitted Denali, Vinson Massif (Antarctica) and Aconcagua (Argentina) using her running to endurance train for the climbs.
In 2004 and 2005, Jeanne attempted climbs of Mt Everest. A condition, later to be identified as vocal cord dysfunction (a breathing disorder difficult to detect), necessitated medical evacuation from Everest. Once she was able to start running again, she signed on to climb Kilimanjaro.
Between October of 2006 and February of 2007, Jeanne ran the Melbourne Marathon in Australia in 3:47 (second in her age group), the Soweto Marathon in South Africa in 4:08 (a race run 6,000 feet above sea level, all hills, and typically 80 degrees), the Pacifico Marathon in Chile in 3:45 (first in her age group), the Dubai Marathon in Asia in 3:40 (second in her age group), the Miami Marathon in 3:46 (first in her age group), the Valencia Marathon in Spain in 3:37 (first in her age group), and finished with the Antarctica Marathon in 5:22 again first in her age group. In just 141 days, Jeanne completed seven marathons on seven continents and reached the summit of Koscuiszko in Australia, leaving Mt. Everest as the final climb in her 7/7 quest.
On March 29, 2007, Jeanne returned to Mt. Everest to complete the one climb that had eluded her. She took the South Col route with Alpine Ascents International and on May 22nd at 7:10 a.m. she reached the summit of Mt. Everest, fulfilling her dream and completing her quest to summit the highest peak and complete marathons on each of the seven continents, unofficially becoming the first woman to do so. At the age of fifty-seven Jeanne earned two Guinness World records for her achievements.