A while ago I spoke at an event alongside Ultramarathon runner Kevin Carr. In March he is setting of in an attempt to break two world records. Here’s what he emailed to tell me about this mad venture…
1) Fastest unsupported run around the world
2) Fastest run around the world
Guinness world records stipulate that this entails running at least 18,000 miles around the globe in a continuous direction with at least two points being antipodal.
In practice the route is likely to be nearer 19,000 miles.
I plan on completing the run inside of 18 months – that’ll be over 120 days faster than anyone has ever ran around the world, the idea already scares the hell out of me, but that’s why it’s such an exciting prospect and 7 months out it’s already keeping me awake at night, imagining both the highs and lows I know I’ll encounter on a challenge of this scale.
You can’t run with much more than 7kg on your back, event after years of training with weighted packs and weight vests, I found running with 11-13kg across the UK excruciating, just 6 weeks running off-road from Lands End to John O’Groats with a backpack ruined me.
It took 11 months to get over the ordeal until I could face running again! That was a combination of a heavy pack but mainly lack of food. I lost a stone of muscle in the last 8 days alone!
I promised myself I’d not voluntarily make my running so stressful again. I lost all enthusiasm for my main passion in life, that leaves you feeling very empty; I don’t want to feel that way about running/adventures again. Basically I learnt that you do NEED FOOD to run, and water helps too.
To complete this run I need to be self sufficient for vast stretches of the Australian outback, where I’ll go days/over a week without seeing anyone/town to resupply either food or most importantly water.
I’m designing a rickshaw/trailer purpose built for the task that allows me to carry up to 100% of bodyweight while running – yes running. This’ll only be necessary for a few days at a time, when leaving a town/water supply and knowing I have hundreds of miles to the next refuel.
The trailer will give me a range of 230miles completely self sufficient, it also doubles as my tent/shelter. Totals weight of the trailer + payload will range from 23kg-60kg, hopefully staying under 30kg for 80% of the run.
Why am I doing this? Because I think I can. I don’t know I can, no one could and that’s the beauty of this dream.
For a long time now, I’ve looked at the marathon distance as a training run – something I never question I can complete. It’s the same for 50+miles etc.
I already ran the toughest unsupported run across the UK in 2009, I loved the feeling at the beginning of that challenge – toeing the line and not knowing the outcome, you can prepare all you like and get in the best shape of your life but adventures of these scales can’t be guaranteed.
It makes it much tougher once the clock gets involved. ‘Just making it’ is tough enough – having to do it in a set number of days is a different story.
I’m not that openly competitive, I’ve only ever entered one race – the Exmoor coastal marathon (placed 3rd).
However I do want to push myself as hard/far as possible – I remember looking at the record in 2007 (it’d been set in 2005 by Jesper Olsen) and thinking, those daily averages weren’t huge.
I remember thinking barring injury, it’d be possible to break the record by at least 100 days.
I’m at the stage now where mentally I feel ready to attempt this run. It is most definitely mental strength that will be the deciding factor.
Follow the journey here.