Whether she’s running in hot, muggy weather or atop frozen ice, Elissa Heimburger relishes the rush of a marathon.
“It’s a stress relief and it’s great physical exercise. But it’s also mental exercise,” says Elissa, an HR business partner in WPX’s Denver office.
Elissa recently participated in her second full marathon in Seattle, which encouraged participants to raise money for charities of their choice.
Elissa’s team collected funds for the American Cancer Society. WPX donated matching funds and a $1,000 grant for Elissa’s marathon, helping her raise more than $4,500 for the event.
Running more than 26 miles is no easy feat – especially with the unpredictable Seattle weather she faced that day.
“The weather was all over the place – it was cold, then muggy, then it rained at the end,” she says.
But Elissa is accustomed to running in unusual weather. She ran her first marathon in Antarctica.
In 2011, Elissa was living near the South Pole, working for a company that serviced the U.S. National Science Foundation.
She and her husband lived on Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, where she stayed for four and a half months.
“We ran on the sea ice on the Ross Sea,” she says. “The whole marathon was running on ice.”
About one inch of light snow provided traction for the runners. “I didn’t train with the traction, so it was really hard – like running in sand. I trained all by myself for the most part, inside,” she says.
Antarctica’s “summer” is actually in November, so that provided some warmer-than-usual temperatures for her marathon training for the race the following January.
“The temperature got up to the mid-30s – above zero,” she says.
When Elissa moved to Denver three years ago, she already had plenty of winter running experience. When she started her job at WPX in December, she wanted to keep up her training and get involved in the community – exemplifying one of WPX’s core values.
“Training for marathons is more than just exercise. You get to meet people, and it really helped me get to know Denver,” she says.
“And you see how the exercise is helping people – three of my teammates for the Seattle run lost a total of 350 pounds.”