Kevin complets world record run
UPDATE (April 9)
Kevin Carr today completed his epic 621-day run around the world and entered the record books as the fastest person to circumnavigate the planet on foot. The 34-year-old returned to his starting point at Dartmoor, England, at around 6.20pm, having run 16,300 miles through 26 countries. During his adventure Kevin has come face-to-face with bears in Canada and packs of wild dogs in Romania. He was twice run over by cars and suffered severe heatstroke in India. In total Kevin wore 16 pairs of inov-8 running shoes as he ran east, heading through continents coast to coast. He averaged more than a marathon a day – and did so unsupported (the first person ever to do this), pushing a cart containing his belongings, food and camping gear for almost the entire adventure. Kevin successfully knocked off about 24 hours from the round-the-world record, set by the Australian runner Tom Denniss in 2013.
During the run Kevin ran through Europe, before flying to India and then onto Australia and New Zealand. He then went to Canada and the United States, before crossing Chile and Argentina. Finally he flew into the west coast of Ireland before arriving back England, via Scotland. Kevin said: “It has been an amazing journey but there’s also been quite a few setbacks, which mean that to try and break the record I’ve been running 46-50 miles each day for the last three weeks. I’m absolutely shattered but delighted!” His run has attracted lots of media interest, especially in the UK.
What follows is his latest blog, written when he returned to the UK for the final leg of his amazing adventure.
I have encountered some pretty scary things along the way, from packs of wild dogs in Romania to the most extreme weather conditions imaginable. Most frightening of all, however, was coming face-to-face with bears in Canada. One of the bears stalked and then actively came for me. I used the bear bangers that someone had given me and, after three misfires, thankfully my fourth attempt sent the bear packing. I’ve had to endure a lot of suffering too. I had severe heatstroke in India and have twice been hit by cars.
Throughout the journey I have run unsupported, pushing a trailer that contains everything I need to survive, including my trusty tent.
If successful I will gain two world records:
1 The fastest person to run around the world
2 The first person to run around the world completely self-supported
Canada really took its toll on my body and I was late reaching the US. On top of that, winter arrived two months early. I was faced with temperatures reaching as low as -29 °C. Leaving the warmth of your sleeping bag to go out running in such bitterly cold conditions takes lots of motivation!
I had originally planned to run across to New York and up to Boston, thus ticking off the US. However, an enormous snow dump meant I had no choice but to try and outrun winter by heading south to Florida.
This meant more kilometres overall but I knew I could just about complete it before my visa expired. Things did improve as I ran through the state of Wisconsin. Word spread quickly about what I was doing and I received a lot of press coverage on TV, radio stations and in newspapers. Before I even arrived in a town, people had heard about me and I was warmly welcomed, rather than just being stared at.
In Wisconsin I experienced the most heart-warming hospitality, particularly along the Great River Road. I received so many donations of beds for the night from local hotels, while I was also fed thoroughly and looked after by businesses and individuals alike. I even had the honor of spending Thanksgiving with a lovely family.
I continued south into Illinois, a state in which it seems little money has been spent on infrastructure, hence lots of very dangerous roads. At times I honestly feared for my life -it was unbelievably stressful.
In most of the cities I’ve run through all across the world there have been streetlights and/or pavements. Not so in Illinois. I attempted to find quieter side roads to run on. This worked some of the time, but more than once I hit an unexpected obstacle or dead-end and had to retrace my steps. In terms of my world run record attempt, the kilometres covered when retracing steps don’t count, so it was very frustrating.
Those frustrations were alleviated by the kindness of people I met along the way in Illinois. With camping not easy -most of the land is private and the majority of households own a gun -I was given shelter in a variety of places, including churches and fire stations.
With the task of finding suitable roads becoming increasingly time consuming, I decided to follow the underground railroad -a network of secret routes used by 19th century runaway slaves.
Although not much better, these roads were the best of a bad bunch. It wasn’t until I got to Florida that the road situation improved. However, it was then that I was struck down with a bad case of flu. I spent four days in bed, just about muscling up the strength to go and find something to eat. My time was spent watching mind-numbing TV -not easy when I’m used to running on the open road everyday! I was also well aware that the clock on the world record was ticking.
Once I got back on the road I began to gradually rack up the kilometres once again. Then I was hit with another setback when I realised my visa was due to expire in three days, rather than the six I had allowed for. My mistake was that I had calculated the expiry at three months, rather than 90 days. This meant I had 305km to run but only three-and-a-half days in which to do it. The pressure was really on. I had to get to the Atlantic coast of Jacksonville and then to the airport to catch my flight to Santiago, Chile. Thankfully I made it.
I then hit South America and knowing what lay ahead was the 50 biggest days of my life.
The run across the continent of South America was tough but I knew a flight back to the UK was the reward at the end of it, so I pushed myself hard. Indeed one of the real highlights of the journey came in South America when I ran at 12,000ft up over The Andes mountains. it was spectacular.
I can’t begin to explain the huge mental strength that this run has required. It has exhausted me mentally but in many ways it has also made me stronger. I continue to try and focus on the things that make me feel grateful and calm. I can’t achieve my world record dream.
Throughout my epic adventure I have worn a variety of inov-8 shoes, including the ROCLITE, TRAILROC, RACE ULTRA, OROC and F-LITE ensuring I have been able to run confidently over all terrains.
* Follow Kevin’s progress on his website at hardwayround.com
* Kevin is sponsored by private investment company Cocoon Wealth and is completing this incredible endurance run for two charities -British Red Cross and Sane.