Walmart’s Dorn Wenninger isn’t a stranger to extreme marathons, but the World Marathon Challenge was a stretch.
The vice president of perishables for Walmart Mexico completed the challenge: 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days (or 168 hours, to compensate for time changes), wrapping up the final run in Miami on Feb. 5. To complete the lucky No. 7 trend, Wenninger also finished 7th overall among the 51 participants.
“I’m tired, exhausted and sore,” Wenninger said Feb. 7, from his office in Mexico City. With blisters, aches and pains, he said the excitement still hadn’t worn off. “It was an emotional journey. My daughters had a lot of fun at the final race, and I was proud that they got to experience it.”
Wenninger got the idea for the challenge after winning the 2016 North Pole Marathon. At the race, he met the organizer for the World Marathon Challenge and decided to start training.
During his planning, he decided to use the challenge as a platform to raise awareness, and fund, for a Houston-based non-profit, Amigos de las Americas.
A former Amigos participant himself, Wenninger first traveled with the organization to volunteer near Michoacán, Mexico, in 1984. Wenninger said the experience helped steer his career toward the produce industry.
“I spent my summers in high school and university living in Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic,” he said. “By the time I got out of grad school, I was bilingual in English and Spanish.”
He said the immersion in banana-producing countries, and his bilingual fluency, helped him land an “amazing” job right out of school.
“On my 24th birthday, I began to work with Chiquita Bananas,” he said. “During my 9.5 years with Chiquita, my ability to speak Spanish, and willingness to live and work in Latin America, helped propel me to roles of higher responsibility.”
With Chiquita, he spent four years in Costa Rica, and two years as the chief administrative officer of Chiquita Colombia. He worked in Europe with Driscoll’s and in Asia with PureCircle before joining Walmart in 2010.
At the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer, Wenninger has served as vice president of global food sourcing and vice president of produce and floral. He’s been vice president of perishables of Walmart Mexico since 2016.
“I owe much of my rapid professional growth to the foundations that I learned as a young AMIGOS volunteer during my school years,” he said.
Wenninger set a goal to raise $99,000 for Amigos, to represent the 99 countries he’s visited for personal and professional travel. (GO HERE to pledge support! There’s still time!)
“Running around the world – literally – was a great way to enjoy two of my favorite passions, as well as raise money for AMIGOS,” he said. “I have two young girls, Skye and Solara, and I want them to grow up in a world thinking that it is meant to be explored, and our diversity celebrated.”
Having his daughters at the final race also was special, Wenninger said.
“I love that they see these challenges as ‘normal’ and that it’s normal to take on audacious goals,” he said.
For the runners in the crowd, here’s Dorn’s stats:
January 30: Novo Base, Antarctica: 4:21:44
January 31: Sea Point Promenade, Cape Town, South Africa: 4:45:48
February 1: Perth, Australia: 4:16:40
February 2: “The Beach,” Dubai, United Arab Emirates: 4:36:56
February 3: Lisbon, Portugal: 4:41:47
February 4: Cartagena, Colombia: 4:40:07
February 5: Miami: 4:03:36