Inspirational Runner: Tuedon Morgan
Wonder Woman may have been a fantasy character made for TV but Tuedon (Tee) Omatsola Morgan is a real life Wonder Woman and she has the credentials to prove it.
Tee is British with Nigerian parents, and has been living in Qatar for the past 10 years. She has been married for 21 years and is the mother of four sons aged 19, 17, 15 and 7.
She holds two Masters Degrees so, in addition to taking care of her family, she works full time as an Educator in one of the government ministries promoting education to Qataris.
While this would be enough to keep the average woman’s plate full, this is not even the appetizer when it comes to Tee and her accomplishments. That is because nothing about this woman is average. As an athlete, she has achieved feats that most people could only imagine and instantly dismiss as being beyond the realm of possibility.
In 2007 following the birth of her youngest son, she tipped the scale at 121kg/266 pounds and wore a UK size 26. She was also struggling with her health and living with constant pain in her legs due to her excess weight.
Having previously weighed 63 kg, this was a big wakeup call for her. The result was that she vowed to change her sedentary lifestyle as well as her relationship with food.
Even though she was embarrassed by her size, she timidly entered a gym in Doha for the first time and swore to herself that her commitment was real and long term.
When she started out, there was no one to encourage her so she had to encourage herself in the pursuit of her goal. It was challenging at first but she was not to be dissuaded.
She also found that she was not alone in the struggle to lose weight. That same year, Tee joined the Doha Bay Running Club where she discovered the world of long distance running and found a new love, the pavement. Here, she received the “Most Determined Newcomer” Award during her first year of running.
In three short years she has managed to accomplish such amazing feats and this year the club named her “The Greatest Achiever” and rightfully so.
Shortly after she started running, she decided that she would run a marathon (42.2 km). She discussed her goal with a fellow runner and he practically laughed at her. He asked her if she knew the distance of a marathon and condescendingly let her know that he had been running for 10 years and had not run a marathon.
She just shrugged and let him know, “You’re not me. I’m Tee, a child of God and I will run a marathon. Just watch me!”
Training for a marathon is like taking on a second full-time job but she was unfazed by the requirements and she committed to putting in the work to make it happen.
By the end of the year, she was standing at the start line of the Johnson Arabia Dubai Creek Striders Half Marathon ready to make her dream come true. A mere seven weeks later in January 2012, she was back in Dubai towing the start line of the Chartered Dubai City Marathon. She finished in the very respectable time of 4:40:53.
“That was my First Continent. My Initial Goal wasn’t to run the continents but I thought to myself I might as well go all the way.”
While Tee could have been satisfied with her accomplishment of successfully completing both a half marathon and a marathon that was far from the case.
She got the wild idea that she would become the face of Nigeria in long distance running and set her sights on the prestigious London Marathon.
For most runners, even those who have been running for decades, the very thought of running the London Marathon would have been a pipe dream.
Since Tee is not “most runners”, true to her Wonder Woman ways, in April of 2012 she laced up her trainers and joined approximately 37,000 runners at the start line of this dream race and crossed the finish line with a time of 5:04.
Certainly that should have been enough but of course it wasn’t. Six months later she lined up half way around the world in Chicago with another 37,000 runners to take on the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
In less than one year, Tee accomplished what most lifelong runners can barely dare to dream about; she had completed two of the most prestigious races in the marathon world. London and Chicago are part of the group of six races which bear the esteemed title of World Majors.
The other races are Boston, New York, Berlin and Tokyo. Since she was one third of the way to completing the whole series, it came as no surprise to anyone who knows her that her dream had grown from completing one marathon to completing the World Majors.
Yes, the idea was wild and far-fetched but for someone with Tee’s faith, grit and commitment, it was not impossible.
In February 2013 she finished the Tokyo Marathon with a personal best time of 4:20:00 which brought her even closer to her World Majors goal.
She really doesn’t like to push her body that hard because of a slight disability she carries in one of her legs, which requires a special running shoe.
It was while running the Tokyo Marathon that she met fellow runner, Abisoye Adekamnbi. They discussed the idea of running a marathon on each of the seven continents. Ultimately, they became the first Nigerians and fifth Black runners in the world to accomplish this.
Her next challenge was to tackle the Holy Grail of distance running, the Boston Marathon. This race is almost every long distance runner’s dream and for about 90% it remains a dream. Unlike its lottery-based counterparts, it is the only race in the series that is exclusively the domain of time qualifiers (even among the amateur runners) with a small amount of slots reserved for charity runners. As if by some miracle, Tee secured a slot via PHAB Kids. http://www.phabkids.co.uk/
On April 15, 2013 – a day that was soon to become one for the history books - surrounded by 23,000 runners, she stepped up the start line in Hopkinson. Thankfully, she was able to cross the finish line before the unfortunate bombings occurred. She was now half way to completing the World Majors. By November 2013, with the completion of the New York City Marathon, she would accomplish this demanding feat and don a new identity as a runner, World Majors Finisher.
If it were anyone else, that would have been the pinnacle of their running career but by now we are clear that Tee is in a league of her own.
In her mind, if completing the World Majors is considered a big deal, then she wanted to go above and beyond that.
She managed to go way beyond by completing a marathon on all seven continents thereby securing a spot amongst other runners who have accomplished this outstanding achievement.
Given how much she has accomplished as a runner in such short time, the question on everyone’s mind is, “How did she manage such astounding feats?”
The answer is simple. She has unwavering faith in God; she believes in herself and she works tirelessly.
It takes a true out-of-the-box thinker to even conceive these goals that she set for herself. The average person would be inclined to discourage her and many did. She refused to listen and clung to the adage, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
She uses her running time for prayer and meditation and she truly believes that with God’s help, she can achieve the seemingly impossible.
By January 2014, she had just two more continents to go, as she had already completed:
• Dubai (Asia)
• London (Europe)
• Chicago (North America)
• Rio (South America)
• Melbourne (Australia)
• Pietermaritzburg (Africa)
She officially became a World Marathon 6 Star Finisher and Seven Continent Finisher.
Tee has recently completed the Triple7Quest which you can read about on her Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tees-Triple-7-Challenge.
Follow Tee's journey on her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6Tj7vkMpuQn-EJpinvnduQ.
To date, Tee has completed 2 ultra-marathons, 23 full marathons and 20 half marathons in over 20 countries.
She is a member of the National Black Marathoners Association and was awarded the Seven Continents Marathon Finishers Award in 2014.
On 4 April, she will line up at the start of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon.