Is there a greater achievement than running around the world? Landing on the moon is definitely up there. But in terms of earth-based challenges, I’m not sure if there is any greater.
Everest? Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill. English Channel? A mere paddle. Sailing around the world? Doesn’t float my boat.
Stockport’s Steve Garside lays claim to the title as the first man ever to run the world. Though it is not without its doubts. His run from 1997 to 2003 was severely questioned and scrutinised by members of the ultra-running community. Of course this was prior to GPS satellite tracking systems.
It took until 2007 before Guinness officially recognised his achievement after wading through boxes of documentation, media cuttings around the world and speaking with first-hand witnesses. Though Garside’s lack of clarity probably caused him more grief than necessary.
There are other verified runs around the world by Denmark’s Jesper Olsen, Britain’s Rosie Swale Pope and Australia’s Tom Denniss. All of whom give fascinating accounts of life on the road on-line and in print. Recognised runs must start and end at the same point and take in a point at the exact opposite end of the planet.
Another runner Tony Mangan of Ireland is also closing in on completing a world run. He set off from the Dublin Marathon on 25 October 2010 and is on track to return for this year’s race on 27 October as he currently runs through Bulgaria.
My particular interest in this monumental achievement has been piqued by an attempt also being undertaken by a runner who lives less than two miles from my own house. Kevin Carr of Ilsington, Devon set off on 28 July last year and has now reached New Zealand. Pretty good going in less than a year.
It’s inspiring to read about anyone running around the world, but when it’s the bloke who lives above the pub in the next village it’s even more so. It also puts that 10 mile run you’ve been putting off firmly into perspective.
You can follow the up to date exploits on Kevin Carr and Tony Mangan on-line.