10 Surprising Celeb Endurance Athletes
Christy Turlington Burns
Supermodel-turned-activist Christy Turlington Burns signed up to run her first-ever marathon in 2011 to raise $131,900 for her organization Every Mother Counts, which she launched two years ago to highlight the importance of women’s health around the world. Before she started training for the November race in New York City, she had never run more than six miles. The 44-year-old mother of two crossed the finish line in 4:20:00.
All that running in three action-packed Transformers films, spanning from 2007 to 2011, has paid off. In 2010, the trilogy's star, Shia LaBeouf, 26, kept heel-toeing it all the way to the L.A. marathon, where he clocked a time of 4:35:00.
Here's a royal first not made by Prince Harry but rather his equally red-headed first cousin, Princess Beatrice: The 24-year-old is the only member of the royal family to run the London Marathon. To prepare for the 2010 event, where she and her charity team of 33 were tied together to form a human caterpillar, Beatrice boxed and did squats, helping her lose 20 pounds in the process. Her team finished with a decent time of 5:13:00.
Former Today Show anchor Meredith Vieira, 59, is no stranger to running, but her fitness routine never took her past six miles. In 2010, she teamed up with her then-colleague Al Roker to finally push past her comfort zone and chase down her marathon dream. That fall, Vieira led the way in the NYC marathon with a time of 5:59:00. Roker, who was famously obese until he had gastric bypass surgery in 2002, came in at 7:09:00.
Wonder if the famously foul-mouthed celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay from Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares was letting out f-words every time he pounded the pavement during the 2012 London Marathon? Only way to find out was to keep up with his pace, which was pretty fast considering that he finished in 4:26:21. Running comes second nature to the 46-year-old Brit, who was once a soccer star and has also accomplished a few double marathons.
With gold and silver Olympic medals in softball at home, Jennie Finch, 32, had little to prove when she signed up for the NYC marathon in 2011. Her reasons for registering: to bounce back after giving birth to her second son and raise $30,000 for the Road Runners Youth Program. Finch's 12-week training plan devised by her running coach, Ironman athlete Susanne Davis, consisted of up to three-hour workouts six days a week, featuring spin classes, tempo runs, speed workouts, and hill runs in short increments. The 32-year-old's marathon time: 4:05:25.
. But last fall he made headlines for his hobby when he crashed during the 18-mile bike portion of the annual Nautica Malibu Triathlon (just after a half-mile swim). Although he looked pretty banged up and bloody and had to take a DNF, he walked away from the incident smiling. The 47-year-old funny man continued on, crossing the finish line after a four-mile run.
Alaska's most famous resident and former governor, 49-year-old Sarah Palin (pictured here running a local 5K in 2003), isn't just a fast talker. The fleet-footed former high school cross-country runner completed Anchorage's 2005 Humpy's Marathon in a swift time of 3:59:36. She even finished fourth in her age group! Now it makes sense why she named her eldest son Track.
The 52-year-old actor who has a knack for playing cult-classic TV roles (previously on The X Files and now on Californication) also has a soft spot for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. Maybe it's David Duchovny's addictive personality (the kind that keeps landing him in rehab) that's lead him to complete the event six times, including his fastest time—1:48:03—in 2005.
It's no wonder Pippa Middleton caused such a stir at the royal wedding in April 2011: Her praise-worthy backside, which was well-showcased in a form-fitting bridesmaid dress, showed off her firm athletic side too. Two months after the nuptials, Middleton participated in the Blenheim Palace Triathlon in Oxfordshire as part of a relay team. Two years earlier, she had done the full triathlon herself, which also includes a 750-meter swim and a 20-kilometer bike ride, in 1:26:01. She's not limited to warm-weather sports, though: In March 2012, the Duchess of Cambridge's sporty sister completed a 56-mile cross-country ski race and last March she finished a 26.2-mile cross-country ski marathon.