Beth Collins just keeps going.
The lifelong Du Quoin resident has already stretched her running legs across every state and many other far-flung corners of the world, but she says her latest foray -- a trip to Australia in June to, among many other things, run in the Cairns Post Bright Night Run -- was among the most physically challenging yet. In that 5K race, a kickoff to an Ironman championship event, Collins posted a time of 32:37 to put her at 164 out of 566 finishers.
It was not Collins's first run so far from home. The Du Quoin native, who teaches fifth grade in Murphysboro, said she began her quest to run as many places more than 20 years ago while sightseeing out west. She eventually found opportunities to run in all of the states but was looking for new ways to stretch her legs. The idea to run on every continent followed naturally.
"I thought that would be pretty cool to do that," Collins said.
Collins' Australian trip began with a week in San Francisco with her daughter, Kelsey Wanack, who has accompanied Collins on many of her travels. Collins proceeded to fly alone into Sydney, Australia, where she toured the sights before going on to Cairns.
In total, Collins was in Australia for almost a month and got to see a number of notable places, including the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef.
Collins already has checked most the boxes on her world tour. She traveled several years ago to Thailand and also has run at the Great Wall of China to complete the Asian leg, and two years ago she ran around the pyramids of Giza in Egypt to clock her miles in Africa. Collins and Wanack already had visited locations in Europe, including France, Germany and Italy, in 2009.
Now, all that remain are South America and Antarctica -- both of them presenting challenges all their own. Collins is keeping an eye on Costa Rica and may plan a visit soon. As for Antarctica?
"I'll get it!" she insists.
As for what comes after that, Collins doesn't intend to stop running across the map any time soon. After all, she said still has plenty of state capitals to visit.