Easter Island Rapa Nui Marathon Race Report June 2, 2019


JUNE 2, 2019

Easter Island

You may have heard of this island if you’re a fan of Ancient Aliens or watch National Geographic documentaries. It’s the mysterious land of stone heads positioned all over the island and where civilization disappeared without explanation. I’ve been intrigued by this island for years and knew I had to run a marathon on it one day. So I did! On June 2, I ran from one end of the island to the other to raise money for Seeds of Literacy in Cleveland, Ohio!

Island Facts -

Easter Island

Easter Island

Those head statues are called Moai and there are almost 900 of them on the island, the average statue weighs about 14 tons. This tiny island is only 15 miles long and 7 miles wide with a population of 4,000. Most live in the main city of Hanga Roa. Easter Island is Chile’s only Polynesian possession over 2,000 miles from the coast and became a territory in 1888.

The flight from Santiago is approximately 6 hours and flown on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. How can a plane that big land on this island? Isn’t the airport small? Yes, it is but NASA extended the only runway on the island in 1985 to 11,055 feet. This was required for the space shuttle to land and for its eventual piggy-back retrieval by a Boeing 747. Now that there is a long runway, big planes can land but only Latham Airlines flies there - once a week from Tahiti and daily from Santiago.


The Marathon

The Easter Island Marathon aka Rapu Nui Marathon took place on Easter Island June 2. This was one of the most exciting locations I have ever run. The history, mystique and beauty of the island made this unique destination marathon well worth the journey to the most remote inhibited island in the world in the South Pacific.


The Blessing Ceremony

Blessing for the Runners

Blessing for the Runners

We gathered outside the community center for a special occasion prior to the race. We were not told what to expect - to our surprise a ceremonial blessing was bestowed upon the athletes which included ritualist prayer, dance and sharing a chicken that was passed around the group.

**Those of us who are plant based ate a carrot and enjoyed the view :)

The Race Experience

Excerpt from my interview with Henry Howard last month “Flying through a World Challenge with MTA

The course took runners from one side of the island to the other. Of the 250 total runners —5K, 10K and half marathon options were offered — 87 did the full marathon. There were plenty of surprises, too.

“The free-roaming horses, cows, island dogs and the sparkling blue South Pacific Ocean along with the Moai statues made this experience unforgettable,” she says. “A surprising event at the award ceremony was placing third in my age group. That was a podium first for me!” - Courtney Schoch


The weather on race day was sunny and a comfortable 72F with a light breeze. The course was advertised as being mostly flat with a few rolling hills - that was not the case at all. There was a near constant incline for over 10 miles with a sharp decent to the beach turnaround point. I thought about quitting when the half marathoners reached their turn around point and headed back. It took a lot of self talk but determination persevered and I continued on.

The race coordinator did an excellent job providing aid stations every 5 kilometers that were stocked with water and energy gel. At mile 12 a group from Taiwan passed by me and offered up a banana. That was the only food option until the end the finish line. The food at the finish line - bananas. There may not have been a lot of food option but the energy was high and supportive.

Finish Line - Easter Island Marathon June 2019

Finish Line - Easter Island Marathon June 2019

Pre race photo - Marathon Tours Running Group - 5k, 10k, half and full marathon runner

Pre race photo - Marathon Tours Running Group - 5k, 10k, half and full marathon runner

Podium Finish!!

3rd Place for my age group - I have never made the podium so this was exciting for me and unexpected!

podium 3rd place


Shoes - Alta Lone Peak 4.0 - Alta is my go to shoe for races. The roomy toe box makes a huge difference. An added bonus - they are vegan friendly so not only can I run in comfort but also support the vegan community.

Socks - Injinji Toe Socks - Zero blisters and they never slide around - I prefer the lightweight toe socks for summer running.

Capris - UnderArmour - This was my first time wearing capris for a marathon and they performed well. They did not bunch or slide down. They fit just right and provided excellent protection from the South Pacific sun.

Shirt - Short Sleeve UA V Neck UnderArmour - Breathable, light weight and silky smooth

Sports bra - Moving Comfort - A spots bra makes or breaks a run - especially for extra curvy ladies. It’s supportive, comfortable and minimizes movement - This gets an A+ from me.

Hat - Outdoor Research Sun Running Hat - I wore this hat for the Mojave Desert to keep warm in the 100 degree plus desert heat. The side panels are removal so the hat is compatible for any kind of run. It’s breathable and lightweight and does not fade and keeps its shape if thrown into the washing machine.

Hydration Vest - Ultimate Direction - Drop bag locations were not provided so it was up to runners to carry their nutrition. I was able to carry extra sunscreen, my phone and nutrition in this vest. The water bladder was not necessary because of the frequency of aid stations so it was removed prior to the race freeing up room and weight. I prefer to keep my hands free and a hydration belt starts to annoy me around mile 7. A vest offered the perfect solution!

NUTRITION (no caffeine please)

Spring Energy - This was the first time I used Spring for a marathon. They taste great and provide clean energy without the stomach upset other brands give me. The only flavor I was unable to tolerate was ginger but luckily I figured this out on a long run prior to Easter Island.

Nuun - The best electrolyte replacement for me. I’ve used Nuun on every race and most training runs. The berry flavors are awesome!


The Cost and Benefits of Adult Education

WHY GIVE? At absolutely no cost to the students, Seeds of Literacy serves almost 1000 adults every year - people who seek a better future for themselves and their families through education. EVERY DONATION MATTERS


Here are examples of the cost to educate and where your contribution is going:

$50 = Case of paper for hundreds of algebra packets

$100 = Customized curriculum for each students needs

$250 = 25 New students registered and on the path to a better life

$500 = 125 official high school equivalency practice tests (GED)

$1000 = New laptop and software


Research provides a strong case for an increased investment in adults and adult education. These outcomes directly impact all Americans in that they contribute to a healthy economy, increase employment, reduce public assistance, and lower health care costs


Screen Shot 2019-05-15 at 11.43.08 AM.png




June 2, 2019

The Easter Island Marathon is right around the corner on June 2! Courtney is running 26.2 miles on Easter Island, one of the most remote inhibited islands in the world. It's more than 1,200 miles away from the closest inhabited island and 2,180 miles from Chile, the nearest large land mass. The island is 15.3 miles by 7.6 miles.

She is running to raise awareness for literacy programs. 90% of the funds contributed will go to Seeds of Literacy in Cleveland, Ohio. Our minimum goal is $1500. Read more below and click the link to donate, share or both! Thank you!


Screen Shot 2019-04-12 at 5.36.00 PM.png

Easter Island Marathon - Seeds of Literacy

Easter Island, also known by islanders as Rapa Nui, lies 2,300 miles from land of any significance.  A tiny speck in the middle of the South Pacific, the island is roughly triangular in shape with its rocky shores.  A Chilean territory since 1888, Easter Island has a population of 4,000 who live primarily in Hanga Roa, the island’s only town.  The island is known for its famous imposing stone statues (moai), which punctuate the landscape and on average stand 13 feet high and with 14 tons.  (Marathon Tours)

Screen Shot 2019-04-17 at 7.26.50 PM.png


Captain Courtney Schoch’s journey is about owning her story and not letting it own her.  Raised in an abusive environment in Atlanta followed by the decision to drop out of high school lead her down a path of poor decision making that continued for years. Courtney earned her GED in 1992 and has since overcome insurmountable obstacles encountered in both her professional and personal life. 

Setting the bar high, she overcame her fear of flying and became a pilot in 2002. Two years later she was certified to teach aspiring pilots how to fly and follow their passion. In 2008, Courtney began her professional airline pilot career, in an industry where less than 4% are women. Within six years she earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Aeronautical Science with Specializations in Space Operations and Aerospace Safety Systems from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. A 2012 Women Future Leaders Scholarship award fueled her determination. In 2014, Courtney moved to Nicaragua and started a nonprofit, Runucate (run+educate), for educational scholarships and taught English in the local community while she continued to work as a pilot. She unexpectedly relocated full time to the United States in May 2018 after political unrest erupted in Central America. 

Although her profession is a pilot, Courtney’s passion is her nonprofit. Through Runucate, she runs marathons globally to raise awareness and funds for organizations that fight illiteracy and provide education. A renewed focus on local communities lead her to partner and support Seeds of Literacy in Cleveland, Ohio. Her mission inspires growth and discovery in others through education and stresses the importance of mentorship by honoring everyone's story regardless of their circumstances.



66% of Cleveland residents are functionally illiterate [66% The Source of the Statistic]

  • Some Cleveland neighborhoods have an illiteracy rate as high as 95%

  • Functional illiteracy is defined as having math, reading, or language skills below a 4th grade level

  • At this level, people may struggle to read a bus schedule, medicine bottle or job application

  • An adult without a high school diploma earns 42% less than an adult with a diploma

  • A mother’s reading skill is the greatest determinant of her children’s future academic success, and outweighs other factors like neighborhood and family income

  • The percentage of adults without a high school diploma who live in poverty is twice that of those who have a high school diploma

Courtney with students at Seeds of Literacy Cleveland, Ohio 2019

Courtney with students at Seeds of Literacy Cleveland, Ohio 2019