Archive for October, 2012


Monday, October 29th, 2012

Press HERE  to view this post recent post which I have updated with photos and text.


29/10/2012. Total for 555 road days = 23,327km.

Monday 29th Oct or Marathon Monday in Ireland was a rest day for me, wasting much time and very little was acheived, I guess thats what rest days are! And the Atlantic Ocean is just one block away and I didn’t visit.

Sundays 41km run to finish in Puerto Madryn didn’t track on my Spot tracker.

Saturday 63km from km 1,299 across the province line to Chubut did track. I finished at km 1,362 on route 3.

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Article in Irish Examiner And how I celebrated my 2 years on the run!

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Sierra Grande, 26/10/12

Total as of yesterday = 23,175km for 552 road days. Average = 42km per day. Or 549.23 marathons.

Thursday 25/10/2012. 76km. New road record for one day.

Yesterday. I was 2 years on the run, makes me sound like a criminal!

Out in the sticks, nowhere to finish and Sierra Grande was just too far to finish for a nice celebration meal. What to do, what any other ultra runner worth his salt would do (and I been shedding a lot of salt lately!) I broke my road record :) for a  day on the run running a very tough 76km mostly against the wind.

On my arrival here I had a delicious pizza in Homers pizza restaurant,

My previous best for a day was 75.5km set in Baja, Mexico. Hey only 0.5, No need to shatter it, lets do a Sergi Buka on this, a little at a time, and leave it a bit easier for the next special occasion!

Sorry for the late information but the interview I did for the Irish Examiner while in Cordoba is in today,Fridays  edition of that newspaper..

Best wishes to all runners running Mondays Dublin City Marathon. Run strong and smart  but most of all enjoy  :)

I will be thinking of you from Puerto Madryn on my rest/office day!

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In San Antonio Oeste – 2nd anniversary of the run this Thursday

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Hi All! Still making great progress through Patagonia.

Unconfirmed total till I get log book out is 23,064km for 550 road days = 41.93km per road day or`546.6 marathons!

Tues 23rd = 36km

Mon 22nd 62km

Sun 50km

Sat 66km

My arrival in this small town of San Antonio Oeste population 30,000 caused a bit of a stir. A radio and television interview and tomorrow morning I give a talk in a local school, then an asado bar b q!  :) I still hope to run but depart late and with a decent day and one big day on Thursday the second anniversary I may even make Sierra Grande 122km away and have a nice steak dinner and place to stay, thanks to Tom Denniss for sponsoring that :) Check out Toms site www.tomsnextstep.com

Tom will be making his way to Chile in a few days time and looking forward t the Andes!

Many thanks to Natalio and Monica for hosting me here in San Antonio Oeste.

Monica and Natalio

They stopped on Sunday to talk to me on the road north of General Conesa while I was sitting on a guard rail having a snack and gave me an invite to stay in their home. Natalio just happens to be the presenter for the radio interview! Press HERE to listen.

I took out my camera to take some photos of the television crew in Natalio and Monicas house and noticed that a fault developed. Their friend Daniela and her very helpful son Luciano just happened to be there. When they told Danielas brother Facundo of the faulty camera. Facundo just said thats no problem, and sent them out to buy me a beautiful camera! Incredible people, I just keep saying it!


I took this photo of Natalio,Daniela,Milena,Luciano and Monica with the new camera!



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Friday, October 19th, 2012

I got a late start running out of Pinsen, drizzling rain and running down a muddy dirt track of a road towards La Pampa province line about 30km away past mostly semi barren fields. There were many strange rodents running across the road and even one or two skeletal remains!

I couldn’t help feeling like Indiana Jones and wondered what creatures these were!

This was actually in the middle of the dirt track road I was running down!

It was a routine day in many ways except for getting lost when these back roads didn’t show any signs, sometimes the obvious way was not the correct way, eventually I found my way back onto the main road and La Pampa with it’s wind and tumbleweed. 

They were dirt track roads that day, sometimes a struggle to push on through but as always with time churning out a half decent day is always possible, this is not a race, rule is… No stop watches!

Then I got stopped by the cops, It was raining hard, they insisted on pulling me off the road. I negotiated that they take me back in the morning, agreed and they would ask their boss if I could sleep in their station that night, I also figure that makes my return just a bit more secure!

They were nice officers called Bernididino and Roberto.

I was allowed to sleep in a cell for my sins of staying on their computer till 4am while they did the rounds of the village.

Let me out, I only want to run!

Next day, same again, more heavy rain. Got stopped running in the shoulder and was brought back to Embajador Martini station where the officers fed me, dried my clothes and gave me a checkpoint caravan to sleep in for the night.

Next morning before I awoke one of the officers drove down to the village and returns with a big bag of pastries for breakfast, I breakfast with him, drinking some mate, the yerba herbal tea of sorts drank from a large egg cup shaped bowl through a metal straw like utensil. The bowl is filled up from either a kettle or a thermos.Drinking mate is a form of togethness, an expression of friendship here in Argentina. I drank some  but prefer my tea or coffee and finished up my breakfast with coffee.

Older and poor picture of mate drinkers. I will have to take some more.


 I am getting so much help from the police, despite being pestered by them that I struggle to keep up with their names.

On I ran that beautiful day, it was just nice and cool. I took full advantage of the early start and stop after 53km eyeing up what looks like an old school house as a likely sleeping place. There are people working there.

Back row on the left is Fabian and on the right Horacio.


I pulled up just asking for water, they are nice. A lady gives me a large glass of juice, and three plastic bags of food. I tucked into one of the bags which was full of pastries. Another had bread, the other one a joint of pork with a carton of cole slaw, also some fruit.

There were also two men, Fabian and Horacio for I did not catch the womens names.

Fabian has a spare cabin and when I asked if I could camp at the side of the property he told me I could sleep in his cabin, using his sparse facilities as best as I wanted, including a cooker.

Next morning I boiled up the kettle before Horacio arrived as he had said he would drop by to drink some mate before I hit the road. The night before he seemed to be very cautious towards me at first. This morning he asked me three times to take a rest day there, not sure if he was lonely and needed the company, I told him I had to run on. On I ran with yet another collection of an orange and an apple from a kind person.

I told them last night that Argentina is a  wonderful country, No they corrected me, La Pampa is a wonderful province!

Next day 51km, the terrain is flattish, not too flat with just the occasional rolling hill.

Rolling hills and a good picture of the shoulder!


 I am not bored, it reminds me of Nebraska. I enjoyed that day and had a wonderful spare rib dinner, better enjoy these while they last, soon it will be the openness and long, long straight roads for days on ends without any places to pamper myself.

Soon I am in Santa Rosa, the center of Argentina where  all roads leads to.

I took a preparation rest day there getting new shoes for Nirvana and my 29th pair before heading south down route 35 before being collared by Channel 3, La Pampa. I gave a 10 minute roadside interview. Then the reporter said he wanted to take some action shots of me on the road, he did and that was the last I saw of him, not even a thank you, a bit rude I thought.

Towns and villages arestarting to stretch out now, I have been warned about huge distances between water stops, up to 250km, I always respect local advice but sometimes people have their eyes glued to the larger places and are not aware of small ranches and farms.

I stop at one such farm in a hamlet called Peru for water, there happened to be a service station just before it, but I was not to know. More nice people, sitting me down to two large glasses of iced orange juice.

Then the lady, I think she is called Laura gave me two sandwiches one of pork and the other beef, more apples and oranges, Mam would be delighted by this  “Eat more fruit and stop eating that junk!”  :)    I can hear her say in my minds ear.

Thank you Laura and family

So I fill up my water bottles, they give me a 3 litre bottle but my red satchel which has served me so well over the Andes is about to fall apart, one of the men Roberto goes off to his house and returns with a small day pack for me as I fear I may overload Nirvanas weight limit of 35kgs. I had run 30km so far that day and had I another 10 under my feet I would have been tempted to set up camp there for the night, I am certain it would have been no problem. 

14km down the road I come to a junction and turn right onto it heading south again. Its lashing raining now, really heavy, I am soaked and cussing my distance greed. I see a sign for another hamlet called something like Huacho, it’s 2km down a dirt, sand road which is a hard push for about half an hour, so muddy it was. I get to a house on the right and wheel Nirvana down a bumpy path towards a locked gate. There are a couple of houses. I call out,

‘  Hola, Hola, Hola! ‘

Just as I was turning around to go a lady comes out and comes over to me,

I ask for permission to camp. She tells me she has to ask her husband who is out in the fields tending the animals.

Very straightforward and then she tells me to wait.

So I did and waited and waited and waited till it was dark and then ate my supper, I called out again, no reply, then realised the house was in darkness, they did not bother to return, how strange, could she have forgotten about a strange gringo running around the world?

She even had my Spanish business card explaining about the run with the website address. As I am running low I don’t give these out lightly anymore, gotta photo copy a few  as there were many people I regretted not giving one to for a memory.

What to do, this was one of the most bizarre incidents of my entire travelling career, for there could be no misunderstanding, all basic Spanish, besides I don’t have these type problems in communicating. The Argentines speak the fastest Spanish of all Latinos, I even think their slowed down version is even faster than in all the other countries!

What to do indeed. Should I just move on? Instead I just set up my tent, No sooner was I inside when the Heavens opened! If he asked me to move on or worse called the cops, I think I would just die!

Rained out for a day and a half. The locked gate and the house where the strange family live.

Nothing happened, thankfully, I just made a delicious cuppa soup, always a good thing to have in the kitchen bag after a bad wetting.

It rained all night and all through the early morning and late morning. I wimped it out that day, what to do, I lay there waiting for it to stop. It didn’t all day long, all evening long. I slept so, so much and lay there horizontal for about 35 of the 36 I was in that field, too lazy to even read my book Brian Keenan and John McCarthy’s Between Extremes… A great travel read about the former captives who had been held in a Lebanese dungeon for four years, how their dreams kept them alive, their dream to cross Patagonia on horseback. Too lazy to catch up on my blog on Wordpad, too lazy to listen to music. I just cooked a breakfast and dinner and washed. That day was truly the only true rest day of the run so far.

Then the next morning a break in the rain, but it returned mid morning, soon I run it off.

I start dreaming of all things, a cappuccino!

Then Daniel stops his car telling me he saw me a week ago in Santa Rosa and wanted to share a mate with me. He pulls out his thermos, so I pull out a sachet of cappuccino!

Is the road dangerous ahead I ask Daniel…

” No only for the wild animals! ”

” Wild animals?”

” Wild boar ” he replies.

I read in one of my favourite travel books, The Rucksack Man by Sebastian Snow who tramped through S America in the mid seventies that wild boar is by far South Americas most dangerous animal. I wonder about the dogs and south Peruvian drivers not to mention the famed pumas.

One for the road! Thanks Danny Boy!

” Ah! But don’t worry you will be ok. ” He reassures me.

Lots of delightful rolling hills and 44km. I pitch my tent at the side of the road.

Then a lovely 55km day. I had asked Daniel to drop off one of my 3 litre bottles of water at km 50 and when I get to km 49 I see a man called Gustavo and his wife Olga  picking flowers by the side of the road. Gustavo  tells me they are Alfilerillo flowers and there is great health and joint benefits in drinking their tea.

Gustavo and Olga

 I decide to pick a big bag of it later but by the time I decide to i am out of their zone. It just goes to show how zonal plants and flowers can be, can’t say I have seen them anywhere else. Olga gives me a bar of white chocolate and an icy one and a half litre bottle of water.

I pick up my water at km 50 and run on.

Water station

 A trucker stopped for a siesta gives me a litre of apple juice, makes a change from water.

On I run and come to a Dept. of Transport depot. Wonderful. I refill my waterbottles, am tempted to ask if I can shower from the garden hose! The guards name is Victor.


 I ask him that the next time a driver is going out can they please deliver my two three litre bottles of water to kms 100 and 120. No problems. Two hours later Victor is on his way to Rio Colorado and tells me he has the bottles and will drop them as requested. Later he is on his way back and confirms he has dropped them at my requested locations.

Victor with workmate

A few minutes later he returns and gives me a very nice red high viz vest. Though my running tops have high viz, I though it would be nice to have such a small, fist sized vest as it would be handy to pull on over my wind breaker when I am wearing it in the wind or cold weather.

I said it before that most people are not knowledgeable about water locations even in their own area as so many times I have been told there is nothing available.

 Water is also available from these water storage tanks should I be desperate.And the DOT depot are just typical examples.

At km 98 I notice that all of the wonderful sheltered bushes for camping were running out and to make matters worse at km 100 where I pick up my water cache there are huge swamps full of surely millions of toads making such a din! Not camping there.. Luckily 2km further on I find a sheltered bush to bed down.

 Its a nice starry night so I don’t bother with my tent, I just lay my tarp and thinsulated mat down and tuck into my sleeping bag with lots of OFF mosquito spray! I can suggest a better name that rhymes with ‘ flip off. ‘


So I have plenty of water now, even if something hapens to my other 3 litre bottle, I have the luxury of a good wash without worry about budgeting it, even knock over a saucepan of water and laugh. I take a shave which I manage best while lying on my back on my sleeping bag while holding a small mirror in my left hand, hot water in my makeshift basin, a cut off bottom of a 2 litre soda bottle. Gotta look respectable for the run into Rio Colorado today.

The run into Rio Colorado just over the Rio Negro line was pretty routine, even if I was just a bit tired. About 7km before rio Colorado and at a major junction in La Adela and in the distance I see of all things a man on roler blades pushing a Chariot Cheetah jogging stroller. Just like Nirvana but with a higher carrying capacity. He is being questioned just like me by a cop.

Alexander roller blading from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia

This man, Alexander  Pfiffner is a 60 year old Swiss man who has in the past worked on cruise ships travelling around the world now prefers to cruise along on roler skates! He is now a sports photographer has decided to roller blade the 3,000km from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia for a Swiss childrens charity. His site is www.sportfotograf.ch

He pushes his 65kgs of baggage including 6 sets of roller blades along the highway. Needless to say when I see him at the junction the police are giving him a hard time! He mentions to me what I told the police here many times, we are no different to cyclists, take up same room and can exit quicker, that its just ignorance they hassle.

We stop for a soft drink in a gas station in La Adela. He is skating around the isles of the mini-market. He seems to be in a terrible rush. I wait for him to say something like..

‘ Gotta get my skates on! ‘ But he has them on!


 Can’t say I blame him as I got very little time to socialise either, all my spare time is on wifi.

He tells me he prefers to skate at night and I cant imagine that what with the shoulder and the cops and drivers, but he seems to manage.

Alexander has got a very good solar panel attached, I got my thinsulated mat and a spare wheel attached!

I have a terrible time finding a place to stay in Rio Colorado as the Tourist Information give me mal information and tell me the cheapest place is 180 pesos a night nearly 40 dollars. This is a bare-faced lie as there are several places which charge 100 pesos. I reckon the place they recommended pays them.

All in all between this and that my whole night is lost and I get no work done. I know the YPF service station has wifi but after 6 days/ nights on the road I have a date with a steak and a huge salad. When I demolished it I ordered another :)

I find a place beside the service station for 100 pesos and the dear old lady is mopping out my room for 10 minutes. I am so tired I tell her not to bother. It’s after midnight and I am shattered.

But she persists and then tells me to wheel Nirvana into the room, from the muddy yard!

For sore reason the water was cold, so the long dreamt of shower was not so delightful, I slept little that night.

I then had to get some supplies for the road for the 3/4 day run to General Conesa. I spent the whole morning hunting down some camping gas cylinders, before giving up and buying an incredibly expensive Argentine stove head and cylinder. It’s really an incredible expensive country, how about a no name screwdriver, the type we get in a $ or euro shop costs $7 here, same for a small bottle of mouth wash.

A nice lady called Silvina had pushed Nirvana into a small store room in the YPF service station here. I did not want to cart her around town. When I returned at 2pm she told me that she finishes work at 12pm but had to wait for me to return as the staff didn’t want to take responsibility for her, even though she was parked in an inaccessible location to the public, nice staff indeed.

Silvina minded Nirvana in her own time while I shopped. I had set my office up in that corner behind her for the afternoon!

 Silvina told me about how she learned nice ethics and morals while living in Miami.  Her Mam was an orphan and instilled a high moral value in her. People think she is strange for being so nice, Silvinas words, I find so many wonderful people here, but I don’t live here.

On I ran into the sunset, for it was a lovely evening.

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Update from Rio Colorado, Rio Negro Province

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Total: 22,820 for 545 road days. = 41.87km per road day = 540.82 marathons.

Oct 25th is the 2nd anniversary of the start of the run :)



Hi All, I crossed from La Pampa to Rio Negro province yesterday. I am in Rio Colorado and had huge trouble finding a hotel with wifi and lost my whole evening between this and that and same with the morning as I had to stock up on supplies 12 litres water and 6 kilos of food for the about 3/4 days without services to General Conesa.

On the way here I went for about 5 or 6 days without any services and carried my own water on Nirvana. Managed to hustle some water from drivers and the department of transport brought me out two 3 litre bottles of water and kindly placed them at km markers 100 and 120 on route 154 for me. No signal or wifi or anything else. Gets even more remote further south.

Its 2.30pm and planning on running later as its just the way things have gone, also will be cooler and help with water consumption. I hope to reach General   Sunday, but will see.

When I got my steak and large salad, plate of bread I promised myself last night I wolfed it down and ordered the same! Cooking my own stuff was just not the same!

Till next time,

Thanks for tuning in!


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Friday, October 12th, 2012

Friday 12th I ran 44km from Santa Rosa to Ataliva Roca, from km 325 to km 281 on route 35 south. Total =  22,588km for 540 road days.

I started very late, traffic was once again very heavy, On the way out of Santa Rosa I got stopped by a television crew from Channel 3, La Pampa! The interview went the same way as the others mentioned in this blog!


Just before leaving the Che Salguero back packers hostel in Cordoba city I got talking to Spencer from Trinidad. He had been married to an Argentine woman, they have a child and now the relationship has broken up. He obviously has an emotional bond with his child and can’t leave Cordoba. He is looking for a job and an apartment here. 

Hostel manager on the left and Spencer is the dad from Trinidad

I know of one Irish woman living in Australia, she has 3 children by an Australian man. She desperately wants to return to Ireland with the children. Her -ex doesn’t care about them. Out of spite he refused her permission to return to her native country with them. She has been waiting since the children were very young for them to be of age to return to Ireland to live with her.

So many of the people I meet have either a tale of happinness or sadness to tell.

I started running down the long straightway of Avenida Amadeo Sabattini stopping at a bed shop, then I got an idea, a devilish idea to act the goat, I would jump on a bed. So I asked a pedestrian standian at a traffic light to shoot the photo. Sure he said, then ” Ah! I can’t the lights have changed to green, I gotta go! ”

On he rushed into his busy life, too busy for a bit of fun!

Bedding down in Cordoba!

So the shopkeeper comes out, laughs and shoots this picture.I go over to the street signpost and take that picture, just for my reference. A cop comes along, I ask him for a pen and paper, he hasn’t got any, then a passerby stops gives me his pen,tells me to keep it.

Rubber necks are holding up the busy lunch our traffic as they gaze at Nirvana at the side of the road.Yes bedlam…. Sorry didn’t mean that pun! And a few laughs before running out of Cordoba.


34km that day followed by a 46km the next day.

This time the cops stopped me wondering what I was up to.

” Not much… Just running around the world! ”

                                                                                    RAMBLING ON.

That Friday was another great day, 48km and included stopping in Olivia for lunch. Over lunch I gave a ten minute radio interview, in Spanish! One of the men in the restaurant that I gave my card to phoned up the local radio station who duly dispatched their reporter!

I started the interview and just rambled on and on and not hearing the interviewers voice till near the end of the interview I wondered if I was talking to myself! All this time the reporter just held the microphone in front of me as I rambled on. Finally the interviewer chipped in with a..

” How is Nirvana! ”

I nearly died with this unexpected question as they certainly didn’t waste any time opening my website and researching it!

Before leaving a nice man called Diego paid for my lunch,

” It’s the least I could do as so many people were so good to me during my 3 week bicycle trip to Chile “ he said.

The cops continued to hassle me as I got stopped twice that day.

“Do you not think you are endangering others on the road? ” She asked.

” No I said,

” They should not be driving so fast that they can’t react to others on the road, that’s the way it is in Ireland, you can only drive as fast as you can safely stop in an emergency,

” Besides the road is not a race track,why do they have to drive like its their last day on earth..”

I see she says and drives off!

Another ramble on… Its been a week of rambles!

There were a couple nights when I just pulled off the side of the road and slept very well under the road in some concrete culverts as they were clean and the weather was good.

Going underground!

Finally I get to Villa Maria, get lost as I run from a beautiful down town, picturesque into a dodgy neighbourhood with the plastic water tanks on their roofs where sunlight heats the water for showers, those showers are best taken during the day when the water is still hot – signs of some of the poorer nations up north.

The entry to some of these towns is very much like in the States, rows of car dealerships giving a clue to local affluence.

Eventually I find the road to and finish in Ausonia.  After an evening on the wifi in the YPF service station the nice owner lets me roll my sleeping bag out round the back, it’s a nice cool starry evening, my 22,000th kilometre was run that day.

I continue to run in the long grass which acts as a hard shoulder, it’s full of thorns and potholes and a bit of an effort. Argentines don’t do shoulders it seems. Can’t say I blame them as they spend their money on the roads. After all these shoulders are meant to be just break down lanes as my American friends call them, so why pave them. I know journey runners and walkers and cyclists will shoot me for saying that, but I guess it’s true,  yet all of the Latin American countries so far have more or less decent shoulders, yet the richest of them all Argentina has none.

The cops continue to bother me, I hold my ground and ask them if they would come out if I was a cyclist and they always say no. Then I ask them do they not think I am safer than any cyclist as I run towards the traffic, take up about the same amount of space and unlike a cyclist can see a potential hazard and jump off the road. They usually see my point and I usually say the problem is not with me, the problem is with bad drivers who are also ignorant to runners on the road!

I am also tempted to use a phrase by a former Irish soccer manager.

” Look son, don’t play silly buggers with me! ”

I run on and finish in Chazon

Next day about 3km before I finish with a tough 42km run into on a hot dusty day into Lacarlota I am greeted by a television cameraman on the road. I think he would be pissed off if I stopped and gave a big smile and a wave to the camera!

He drives on about three times, stops and shoots some clips of me running past. These are times when I usually run my fastest! I give him some dramatics, stuff they love running stone-faced down the road like it’s a hot cauldron on a never-ending treadmill. I pour my water bottle over my head and when he shoots the water is dripping down my face. I don’t have Nirvana now as I decided to use the cops that stopped me today and asked him to take her the last 17km into town and I would collect her at the YPF service station. I am sure the cops tipped off the television station!

At the YPF service station I give another rambling interview. The interviewer hardly gets a word in, I remember what it was like during my early competitive days, sometimes politely waiting in vain for an opportunity to get a plug in only to be cut off abruptly, now I am to take over and always get my spoke in as can be heard on my recent Irish radio interview! Listen HERE

 Most of the times the interviewer can only think of the routine questions, I know what they want to hear and try to keep them silent!

At the end of a hot dusty day, not letting them get a word in! More rambling on!

After the reporter goes I am given the star treatment by the staff and given free food and drink, more internet time and a shower before a lady who I think was called Dolores takes me over to a very pricey hotel owned by the service station, I get a serious discounted night with breakfast included.

That morning I met Javier an Argentine cyclist on a 12 year world cycle, a bit excessive as he is still in his own country! I believe him as he was wearing a tee-shirt with his trip website printed on it and then gave me his card.

Javier's got the shirt printed. He is still in Argentina on his 12 year world cycle!

 He was on a rest day visiting a friend here. When they passed me on their way back from another village they told me they had a place for me to stay. I didn’t even try to find it as it was all too vague for my liking, just a name that everyone knows and he lives in a house at the end of town, which has about 5 junctions! The lady in the service station told me she didn’t know him so I wasn’t going to waste anymore time on that possibility.

The next few days there are swampy patches along the side of the road and that usually means mosquitoes. They pester and torture me and only ease off when the wind blows hard. So I got a choice, wind or mosquitoes, a strong head-wind always wins easily!

I stop at a ranch at km marker 152 after running 42 of them that day and ask the owner Javier if I can camp there. Sure he says so I pitch my tent in his garage cum workshop which has an open door, this means I don’t have to put my fly sheet up as it looks like it might rain. A dog keeps barking. I am seriously worried he will come over to the tent and bite my leg through the canvas, so keep all my limbs in the center of the tent!

The ranch workshop where I pitched my tent and feared being devoured by their dog!

 I had a nice pizza diner in a nice town called Laboulaye where the waiter in La Plazza restaurant Guillermo treated me to coffee, he told me he was a modest runner himself. I ran a further 10km out of town that night and as it was a nice starry night just spread my tarp and sleeping bag out on the grass down a lane that led to a ranch.

With Guillermo in La Plazza Restaurant.

Next morning I was awoken as a woman appeared to be driving her children to school! She stopped and asked me what I was doing, so I told her I am an Irish extreme runner running around the world, not sure if she thought she was still asleep and having a dream. She just nodded a Si and drove on. I made breakfast of coffee and instant oatmeal from the hot water from the thermos which Guillermo filled before I left his restaurant last night. Instant oatmeal is great and easy to cook, not sure why it’ s not available in Ireland, at least I have never seen it. It will be my staple diet in Patagonia. It’s much better and faster to cook than rice, and if you got no fuel to boil the water at least you can eat the oats! Before I finished packing up the lady returned minus the children and gave  me a rather puzzled looking wave.

I think I stopped at the school where the lady brought her children to. It was in a nice village called Melo. I stopped for hot and cold water and was greeted excitedly by two teachers who then filled my thermos and water bottles. The female teacher gave me a jar of Dulce de Leche or sweet caramel syrup. With a smile and I think her smile and her words will live a long time in my memory..

Hot and cold water and Dulce de Leche :) in Melo.

” Dulce de Leche, dulce, si? ” Or Dulce de Leche, it’s sweet isn’t it, she wore a loving tooth smile.

The children come out of their class rooms, more questions before they wave me down the road.

Anyone that doesn’t know what this is check it out in your supermarket, I have seen it in Superquinns or Tesco can’t remember which, give yourself a treat, goes well in my oatmeal and on my ice cream too! 62km to go with yesterdays 58, days of great tailwinds :)

I am getting to the end of the road in Cordoba Province, one of Argentina’s largest provinces. I stopped for lunch in a hamlet called Onagoity for a snack. I just bought some crackers and a can of sardines. I asked the lady to open the sardines and sat down at their park bench which was in their front garden.

Nice people that they were brought me out a huge loaf of delicious Vienna roll bread as we call it in Ireland. Then an aunt arrived and gave me a plate of braised steak, potatoes and veg. they asked if I wanted a drink so said a coffee.

 So not only did they give me a coffee but also filled up my thermos and an apple and  an orange for the road! Wonderful people. Remember what I have said many times about the restaurants all through Latin America wanting to screw the gringo and nothing for nothing, not true here in Argentina! Though I never expect such hospitality such decency and kindness always leaves me with a happy heart unlike the places that tried to charge me for using their wall socket in other countries! I know they may have been poor but sometimes I thought more greedy and on those occasions didn’t leave me with a happy heart. 

The kind family in Onagoity!

I finish that day in a pretty village called Pincen.

Pinsen has an indian background. Today its claiming to be the asado capital of the region

It’s 2km off the highway but I make my way into the village and discover there is a 100 birthday party going on for their school.

Happy 100th birthday

I had got caught in a cold sleety rain shower and was frozen… People were standing around in groups outside the school and the local admin people took me under their arms but no food or hot drinks and the seal was busted on my thermos, I was freezing and nobody got me a hot drink and kept calling me back for more questions including another rambling radio interview when I went off in search of one a cup of tea or coffee.

Eventually one of the suits brought me to a community hall where I could lay my sleeping bag on some gym mats for the night. There was an electrical socket where I was able to plug in my beverage heater for my supper of oatmeal, biscuits and tea. I got a fuel stove but no point in using it when I got power, I will save the stove and fuel for the long stretches in Patagonia.

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Rest Day In Santa Rosa – The Mind Game Revisited.

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Thurs 2.30am and still working!

1pm. Shattered and still in bed!  A  rest day has been declared as I also got some preparation work for the long road to Ushuaia.

I think this is the best way to plan any rest days, not just to say every Sunday or every other such day, just  let my circumstances or any problems encountered or what seems like a 24 hour pain decide my rest days.

Last night I got a puncture as I was wheeling Nirvana into my hotel room. It was a thick thorn the length of a comb bristle in the small front tyre. There are millions of these thorns on the roads and especially in the grass shoulders! Though I always use that puncture resistant gu in my inner tubes, there is only so much punishment a tyre can take! When I checked the tyre afterwards it had about six broken thorns pricks in it. Best to change such tyres as sometimes when thorns are broken short and stuck inside the rubber they are undetectable to the searching hand, often they only resurface when the inner tube is inflated and with the subsequent pressure of rolling along the highway.

Oscar doing his gu stuff

I remember I got several punctures from cluster  thorns in just a couple of days when I was running through similar geographical terrain in Nebraska. That time a man in a truck tyre repair shop suggested the gu. I am sure this is my first flat since.

 I got a new small front tyre, inner tube with the blue gu and the same for my spare front wheel. Think I will get new tyres and sealant for the 2 big wheels also even though there is still decent thread on them as I don’t want any problems on the side of the road in the desolate south, I still got 2,500km to run here. Preparation is one of my first rules. Some people say this sealant is heavy and slows you down,I say I am not a cycle racer and slowing me down would be stuck on the side of the road running in Patagonia! Hope to do some blogging too!

 Wed. 46km Finished in Santa Rosa. Total = 22,544km for 539 road days. It was a tougher day than expected as the traffic was very heavy pushing me into the long grass for much of the day. Also a strong headwind had to be battled, however I am ticking away nicely. About 100km short of halfway down Argentina now.The length of Argentina is about the same distance as from New York to LA.

Many thanks to my great Australian friend Phil Essam for sorting Darwin.

 Readers may wonder what that was all about, well as mentioned before Michael Gillan has very kindly offered to crew for me through the Australian Outback in his brand new car, so I gotta send Nirvana on ahead as I will need her for East Timor, Indonesia and south-east Asia, not to mention 5,000km China and the Gobi desert…. Then Kazakhistan and Russia.

Do you know that out of 10 Asian countries that only tiny East Timor and Singapore along with Malaysia are the only countries that don’t pose some kind of a visa or short time or other logistic problem! No worries, I have a plan for each of the other seven countries.

After reaching Ukraine from Russia, Europe all 3,000km of it will seem like a happy canter, like the glory leg of a 5 continent relay, at least I hope so! I plan on having a little time in reserve as it has always been a dream to finish off with a little run around Ireland, to drop in and say hi and thanks to many of my good friends for their support and especially for their friendship. It’s dreams like this that keep me going, usually I have a tear in my eye when I have these day dreams as I plod along the roads of the world. I just couldn’t imagine a mad dash 70 or 80km plus days for a month or two across Europe and having to catch a last minute ferry to Dublin and then the marathon the next day. I will be keeping a very close eye on my distance required and time remaining in the last year or two!

I will finish this world run with a 5 hour marathon where it all began, at the finish line of the  the Dublin Marathon October 27th 2014 at 2.05pm. Assuming it’s still a 9am start and the extra 5 minutes are so as not to interfere with the athletes trying to break their 5 hour target.

To be honest the total distance looks like being around 48,000km as I have managed to shave off about 5,000km off the route by running north through Australia and a more direct route across central Asia. So all I need to do is run 1,000km per month average. There are some places when I can catch, like here in Argentina, Australia with the support, China where 5,000km has to be run on a 3 month visa, however I am hopeful of an extra 1 months extension and possibly Kazakhistan where perhaps depending on my final route choice route up to 3,000km may have to be run on possibly 2 double entry 30 day visas. I told you right from the start about the Asian visa nightmare :( But it will be overcome! Russia will be key. My current plan is to minimise it by just running an 800km corner from Kazakhistan to the Ukraine and into easy peasy Europe :)  on their standard and relitively easy to get 30 day standard tourist visa. Currently both Russia and Kazakhistan expect you to apply for a visa in your home country (no Kazak embassy in Dublin) so perhaps a visa time out may have to be called.

Another possibility is that when my great friend Jesper Olsen visits Siberia at the end of the month that perhaps he will be able to garner some support from Russian ultra runners, one of which emailed me support before the run even began – and hopefully a 6 month visa or even a 3 month visa may ease the Kazakhistan problems. Running in central Asia in the winter seems like the easy part of all this! I really do believe that a support vehicle is the only way to go in these long  journey runs, contary to what I wrote over a year ago – now I am finding out the hard way!

Perhaps a 3 month Chinese visa can be obtained in Hong Kong (research has uncovered that this is one of the easiest places to apply for a Chinese visa) and a short $200 round trip may have to be made from Bangkok to get that. That would also solve a Thai problem as they only issue 15 day visas from road borders and I will be arriving from Malaysia however it’s 30 days when you arrive by air, so the Thai problem of needing 6 weeks for a tough 2,000km segment along with a hopefully a 3 month Chinese visa can be sorted together when I return to the route in Thailand, all  this along with demands for onward air tickets etc, etc, the list of requirements is a nightmare… And you know one or two naysayers criticised me in almost abusive emails for leaving my route! I wonder how they would plan their world run!! What they have to say I just shrug my shoulders, laugh, it’s like water off a ducks back!

But before I even get to Asia, more research has uncovered that New Zealand is littered with narrow roads where crossing dozens of bridges could be a hazard or even forbidden as there are no pedestrian paths. In some places there is literally a foot between passing trucks!

Perhaps alternative routes will have to be considered which may take me away from the main cities and towns where the runners live, running with other runners is something I have missed here in runner lonely South America.

That’s just to put you in the picture and give an insight of just one corner of the logistics I am bogged down with as we come to the second anniversary of the run on the 25th October, the dream lives on :)

After almost 24 months on the road I feel I am well warmed up now and ready and eager for the next 24 months. Just like in a 48 hour race my goal was always to get through the first 24 hours in decent shape and frame of mind was always very important. I worked a lot on my mind game during my competitive career and it payed off, still paying off in fact. However these days sometimes I feel I am starting the day at hour 40 in a 48 hour race, but I know this and fight it. The mind always has to win these battles against the body. In competetion there is no room for any mind loss as the competitor may as well pack his or her bags and go home. Here on the road I can take the odd days mind defeat as its not a competition, there will always be another day even still I don’t like this to happen. I know whats going on and am in control, that’s all that matters.

It is very Interesting how the body seems to have less conflict with these incredibly demanding feats than the mind. The mind fights with itself, and only a strong will and commitment can overcome in the end.

Last time I wrote about the mind game, John Geesler, my biggest competitive rival and great friend up in St. Johnsville, NY who is an avid reader to this blog wrote back… ” So when did you get a mind Mangan, that’s news to me! ” :)

  We got a lot of exciting times ahead. Hoping you will stay with me for the long run home.

Thanking you, Tony

Many thanks for Barbara Churchley for sponsoring my run through La Pampa province, anyone else that wants to sponsor a meal or hotel night please see the Paypal link on the sidebar. All sponsors will be acknowledged in this blog.

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Wednesday, October 10th, 2012




Anyone got any contacts for Auckland, New Zealand

I need some local advice and perhaps an address to have some stuff forwarded to!

Thanks Phil for sorting Darwin. readers may wonder what that was, well as mentioned before Michael Gillan has very kindly offered to crew for me through Australia in his new car, so I gotta send her on ahead.

Thanking you, Tony

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Quick update from The Pampas!

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Hi Everyone, sorry for the lack of updates as I am absolutely swamped down with important/logistical emails etc but getting things sorted.

Monday 53km and met nice people that let me stay in their spare cabin, the 4th consecutive  night this has happened! Argentina is a wonderful country, and wonderful people.

I am now running in the famed Pampas, La Pampa province. I had some serious Irish rain for two long days, I know no sympathy :) As mentioned before, no shoulder on the road, just long grass, now muddy! There was a break in the rain yesterday and today so far, but a serious headwind! Always something!!

Sunday 42km

Monday 53km. I expect to get close to 22,500km today, roughly total is 22,447. I am 5 marathons behind the marathon a day target and average is 41.8km. I got a lot to report when I get a chance to blog!

Talk soon, Tony

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About Tony

I have always considered myself to be an average runner. In school, I was even bullied for I was a sports wimp. Through hard work, dedication, perseverance, self-belief and a strong mind I succeeded in not only running around the world but breaking four ultra running world records during my competitive career. Having previously cycled around the world I didn't start running until I was almost 30. Then I had a dream of running around the world. For many reasons, I waited for over 20 years. One reason was to establish my pedigree as an endurance athlete. I started and finished my world run as the current World Record-Holder for 48 Hours Indoor Track 426 kilometres (265 miles), a record I have held since 2007. I also broke and still hold the World Record for 48 hours on a Treadmill 405 kilometres (251 miles) in 2008. When I retired from competition, more pleasing than any of my world, European or Irish records I had the respect of my fellow athletes from all over the world - in my opinion, sports greatest reward - an achievement I am most proud of. Then I finally put myself out to pasture, to live my ultimate dream to run around the world! This blog was written on the road while I struggled to find places to sleep and to recover from running an average of 43.3 kilometres or 27 miles per day for 1,165 road days. There were many nights I typed this blog on a smart phone, so fatigued my eyes closed. Many journalists and endurance athletes have referred to my world run as the most difficult endurance challenge ever attempted. During my expedition I rarely had any support vehicles, running mostly with a backpack. In the more desolate areas I pushed my gear, food and water in a cart which I called Nirvana, then I sent her on ahead to run with my backpack once again over altitudes of almost 5,000 metres in the Andes. I stayed in remote villages where many people had never seen a white person before. I literally met the most wonderful people of this world in their own backyard and share many of those amazing experiences in this blog. My run around the world took 4 years. There were no short cuts, I ran every single metre on the road while seeking out the most comprehensive route across 41 countries, 5 continents, I used 50 pair of running shoes and my final footstep of the run was exactly 50,000 kilometres, (almost 31,000 miles) I eventually finished this tongue in cheek named world jog where I started, at the finish line of my city marathon. I started my global run with the Dublin Marathon on October 25th 2010 and finished with the Dublin Marathon on October 27th 2014 at 3 05pm! Thank you for your support, I hope you can share my unique way of seeing the world, the ultimate endurance challenge! Read more...


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