Archive for December, 2012


Friday, December 28th, 2012

Hi All,

I guess its about time I posted something! I have been very busy working on logistics for Oceana: Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.

Not to mention putting some supplies in place along my Asian route in Indonesia, Singapore and  Thailand and that’s just the shortened ‘ Readers Digest version! ‘ A lot more besides as well as just being pure lazy and having a lovely Christmas with my family!

Mam still continues to worry about me as she does when I am running across blizzards in the USA, deserts, bandit country, across 4,5000 metre mountains in the winter with no sleeping bag or the balmy winds of  Patagonia, so fierce the wind actually blew apple chewings from my mouth across the road. Yes Mam worried even when I was standing in the kitchen beside her drying the dishes!

“Son I am afraid you will hit your head off that open press door”   :)

Please watch out for an interview in this Sundays ‘ Mail on Sunday ‘  newspaper. I am told it is going to press as planned, but things can change. Update.. Not in paper today, perhaps next week or another day..



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Friday, December 28th, 2012

Best wishes to Eoin Keith my friend and former team mate on the Irish 24 hour team.

Eoin is making a massive step up in time and distance having run ‘ only ‘ 24 hours in the past. Well on Saturday 29th Eoin will be running a 3 day race in Phoenix, Arizona  -  one of my favourite and special races from my competitive career – Press  HERE  for race website, For updates press the red square on the homepage where it says ‘ Results and Webcam ‘

Eoin will be taking up where I left off with my old rival and great friend John Geesler in this 72 hour Across The Years race,  so named as it ends on New Years morning. I emailed John to say..

” Sorry I wont be there to give you a good butt kicking John so I have sent Eoin over to do the job!”

John is highly respected for his sportsmanship and humor all over the world and is a special friend to Team Ireland so please log on for live updates from the 29th. Please feel free to send the runners messages which are read out to them as they run by the communication tent on the track. At midnight on the New Year the bubbly is cracked open, fireworks explode and a party begins. Many runners walk a lap or two except the serious ones, I wonder who they are! :)  Good luck Eoin I know you can take the title back to Ireland :)

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Tuesday, December 11th, 2012


2012 was a tough year on the run with a disappointing total of around 11,000 kilometres run.

This was mainly due to my two timeouts (including this upcoming one) averaging about a month each. Also a week off in Peru. Not to mention a crucifying 7,000km and seven months in the Andes mountains with no support vehicle!

The reason for my last timeout was personal as is this one. I am fighting very hard to keep the focus on the run but it has not been easy. My close friends will know exactly what I am talking about. It has been a traumatic year in my personal life, the most difficult year of my whole life. I have kept all this off the blog.  I even considered cutting a year off the run to finish in October 2013.

In order to achieve this I had considered cutting off the bottom half of South America and heading from Northern Argentina to the Chilean coast, skipping Oceania and starting Asia in Shanghai, China. I even have (a now expired) Chinese 3 month visa in my passport. Eventually I decided to return to my original plan and the original route, to run around the world the way I had dreamt of running it.

I am very tired now and need a rest with my family. I will spend Christmas and the New Years period in Dublin. I expect this to be my last timeout. Perhaps when I get to Europe a long weekend Ryan Air flight might prove to be irrestible. It takes an average of an additional week total to get to and from my route for these timeouts. Christmas 2013 I expect to spend in China, in the Gobi Desert. I need to ‘ get the finger out ‘ as we say in Ireland or perhaps even the leg out in my case and get some serious running done or I will be in danger of missing my dream finish with the finish line of the Dublin marathon on October 27th 2014.

So the plan is Thursday 13th December I fly from Ushuaia with Nirvana to Buenos Aires and stay with my great friends John and Clara Boyle who have helped me so much here.

Saturday 15th I fly with Nirvana from Buenos Aires to San Diego, California and arrive on Sunday morning.  I will stay there one night also by kind invitation by my other great friends Roger and Cindy Darrieulat . I will leave Nirvana with them. I will then take a return flight to Dublin on 17th arriving on the 18th. I will return to San Diego on 3rd January 2013. I have vivid memories of the very steep hill up to their house in El Cajon. In the Andes many times I said that such and such a hill was as tough as Roger and Cindys hill!

San Diego was chosen for a couple of reasons – one being that I did not want to drag Nirvana across the Atlantic twice and needed a place to park her. It would have been much easier for me to fly one way from Buenos Aires to Dublin and then another one way flight from Dublin to Fiji or forget Fiji and just fly from Dublin to Auckland, New Zealand. Had I done that I would have not travelled across the Pacific Ocean and continued on in a western direction around the world. I would have been travelling in the opposite eastern direction. That was not within my criteria.

Another reason for choosing San Diego was because it is substantially cheaper to fly from North America to Fiji than it is from Argentina and then cheaper again for the timeout in Dublin.

On Jan 5th I fly from San Diego to Nani, Fiji arriving early on the 7th. One day travelling and one day extra as I will be travelling over the international date line. I did a real Phillias Fogg on this one and forgot about these two days as I had planned on 10 days in Fiji and now only get 8!

I even wondered if I would be the first runner to run across the island till my buddy Ash from Runways in Dublin emailed me  to say Fiji in January will be unbearably hot, at least it was for his run across the island many years ago :(

January 15th I take the short flight from Nadi, Fiji to Auckland arriving around lunchtime. 

After that I plan on 6/7 weeks total for both islands in New Zealand before arriving on the Australian island of Tasmania around beginning of March and then onto the mainland in Melbourne around St. Patrick’s Day. 

Some Stats:

North America = 14,024km run

South America = 10,742km in 276 road days.

Americas = 24,766km

Plus 377km run in Ireland

Total to date: 25,143km for 596 road days

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Monday, December 10th, 2012

The end of the Americas - the most southern point in the world

Hi everyone! Today I ran the last 24km in the Americas from Ushuaia to Lapataia National Park :)

This was the start of the Americas in Cape Spear,Newfoundland,Canada 9/Nov 2010

And this is what I wrote that day over 2 years ago..

 ”And the run through the Americas all the way to Tierra del Fuego has finally begun! ”

Back here in Ushuaia It was a bit of a mental effort getting out onto the road today as I had focused so much over the last two years on finishing in Ushuaia!

Ushuaia at last!

Total to date: 25,143km for 596 road days, I think that’s almost exactly a marathon a day average. Of which the South American distance was: 10,742km  in 276 road days 

Many thanks for your support.
Also to my sponsors: The North Pole Marathon, Great Outdoors, Chariot Carriers, John Buckley Sports, Runways, Drymax Socks and High5 Sports Nutrition. Also the many blog readers who have sponsored a day, meal and or hotel night - my run would not be possible without all of your great help :)  

Near the finish!



It feels great!

 Then this man called Ramon and his wife Nathalia and family gave me a lift back to Ushuaia. You didnt expect me to run back!

And on the way we did some sightseeing.

While I almost fell asleep in the car!

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In Ushuaia!

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

My Spot tracker continues to fail.

I am in Ushuaia now but have just found out that there is a national park 24km away which is more south and decided to run there tomorrow, I thought I was finished. I am treating this as an optional as some people start and finish from the ocean side here, just incase I sleep for 3 or 4 days! To be honest I knew of this national park but kinda ignored it as I was more intent on getting to Ushuaia!

Am staying in Cruz del Sur backpackers hostel for 4 nights and will update you on the plan going forward very soon.

Sat: 50km,Fri 49km, Thurs 50 Wed 34km Today 28km. Total circa 25,125km need to update log book later. Talk soon and thanks for support.

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Video in Patagonia

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

For help in sleeping  press HERE

The wind was very strong but I managed to get a few words in at the end!

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5 days till the end of the world!

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Hi All. I am finished running through Chile and crossed back into southern Argentina. I see the Spot did not update this afternoon, Tuesday. I am in Rio Grande, about 220km to go. Just before Tolhuin on more than likely on Thursday or Friday morning I will have run my 25,000km of the run :) I am at km 24,908km -  Tolhuin is about 110km away.
I am now thinking about splashing into the south Atlantic ocean on Sunday afternoon the 9th Dec. That is weather permitting. The wind has been very tough on me with a lot of slow progress days. At time it was even difficult to breath and Nirvana was blowing all over the place.

The road in Chile was brutal, gravel, rocks and potholes for about 120km. But I still managed to get my countrywide 50km in the day before the asphalt ran out!
Ushuaia and the end of the world (most southern city in the world) has been my biggest dream of the run, well after the finish in Dublin obviously! From there it’s north and west towards home :) Ushuaia is also roughly half way on the run.

The day I left Rio Gallegos I only managed 15km as the wind was like a wild animal. Alexander tells me he is going to hold up for a while in Commdt Luis Piedra Buena till it blows over! I think he will have a long wait as it is always like this. Some of the travel books I have date back 40 years and it is exactly the same! This is the summer and even here in town its colder than an Irish Decembers day! Yes I know… Moan, moan, moan :(

Thanks for all your support.

Many thanks to Clare O’Connell for sponsoring tonights delicious meal!

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Stormy Roads At The Bottom Of The World

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Hi All wishing you a Happy New Year.


After an all night session in Tres Cerros, no not a party session I was on my laptop on a truck stops wi-fi. Not surprising I was tired out on the road. Tired from my lack of sleep but also from the wind continuing to pound away at me. My progress was slow, slow crawl-like. I persisted pushing Nirvana into the swirling winds which hammered away at me. Sometime it was even hard to breathe, suffocating on I ran, ran of sorts for 11km. Yes I need Nirvana to fill up with food and water but sometimes I find her to be a liability  I know I could run much faster had I not got this physical bond. Looking back as I write this I could have run Patagonia unsupported with my 3kg backpack as I had in most of Central America and the Andes. Yes there are no hotels here and even if there were the cost is so prohibitive.

The people were so good at stopping to give me water I know I would have survived carrying what I needed in my backpack with just a little oatmeal and pasta to cook for my meals. Trouble is I need 2 litres of water per day for cooking. Yes I felt I could have gone back to the old commuting forward at the end of a days run to the next location with water returning the next morning having taken a bus or thumbed a ride from the very friendly people I am so fortunate to keep meeting. I know very well that is not something I could depend my life upon but still even at distances of 150-200km these are not too extreme. I could have slept in the culverts I have shown so many times on the site, sleeping  in my summer sleeping bag.

The days are getting longer and longer the further south I run. It is now bright till 10pm. If the days are longer they are also colder. Clearly it is wise to run on a 24 hour basis to beat the wind but often having finished early it is sometimes hard to get going again. At this time the sun rises at 4am, often there is no wind as I stare out from my sleeping bag I can see my Irish flag listless in that morning twilight. Too tired to move, almost comatose I lie there before quickly falling back asleep, unable to get up even though I know it’s the smart thing to do. I have read so many travel books and have many travel friend who awaken one hour before sunrise, cook breakfast and break camp by dawn – I often wonder how they can do it.

Running on my own with a backpack I could have had much bigger days but marry that against loading up in a supermarket when I do come to a town and to be still eating a delicious Swiss roll or chocolate log after my dinner on the 5th day out is always so pleasant:) That is the price one must pay for going without support of any kind and electing for the backpack method!

That windy day I sheltered under the culvert after my 11 km battle with the wind.I took a three hour nap. Refreshed, of sorts I ventured out only to take another wind battering for another six long kilometres. If I had a towel to throw in that day it would have blown away! Just 17km for the day.

Next day I was seriously motivated to make up for the shortcomings of the previous day and did so with a 71km day, albeit a long, long day as so many people stopped me to talk.

First there was a man called Antonio from Phoenix who was near the end of his one year cycle from Fairbanks, Alaska all the way to Ushuaia. When he set out he was seriously overweight, 120 kgs he told me. He was so overweight that he was worried about starting in the traditional starting place of Prudoe Bay some 600 km north of  Fairbanks.  He told me he didn’t want to start in a wilderness and preferred starting in a city just in case he had any problems. I looked at him, tall, strong and a fit looking 80 kgs. An inspiration to overweight people if there ever was.

There were 5 stops day including yet another French couple called Jean and Lisa travelling around South America in their VW campervan. It looked like a tight squeeze as they had two young children they were home schooling.

Then a good day followed with a 51km with a lot of nice gentle downhill and a rare tailwind!

A couple called Able and Maria stopped me to offer 2 litres of water. They had a huge 200 metre Argentina roll up flag in the back of their car which had a couple hundred signatures on it, a cultural history of Argentina they called it.

On I ran into San Julian and spent another 26 hours straight on the truck stop wi-fi there. I got so many logistic issues coming up its crazy. I also finalized my Asian route and modified the European route. One thing is for sure, these will be modified again, that’s a certainty, rarely does a traveler ever stick rigidly to a planned route.

At the end of that session when I went outside a nice thoughtful person left a banana for me on top of Nirvana, nice people.

This time I decided to camp in the municipal campground at US$3 a night surely one of the few bargains in all of Argentina! But for me the nice lady didn’t even charge. The municipal campgrounds have electrical hook-ups, free wi-fi and most important hot showers! So between my day in the truck stop and here that night it was as close to a rest day as I can manage at this point.

I got to make it to Ushuaia within 3 weeks and average 42km per day as my flights for my timeout and onto Oceania were paid u month ago. It was necessary for me to book early as I got a massive discount through a friend. That of course was a gamble as I had committed myself to about 2 months of needing to average a marathon a day! I dare not think what would happen should I not make it for injury reasons, or whatever as the airline tickets were non changeable.

After so little sleep in the last few days I dearly wanted to have an early night but my neighbors in the campsite had other ideas. They were a martial arts club, mostly kids out on a weekend break with the coaches and parents.They invited me to be their guest for an asado that night!

Same thing next morning a different group came over to me and as I can rarely refuse good food didn’t get going that day till 3.30!

Then on the way out of town I decided to stop for an ice cream. The owner said he saw me on the road near Trewlew and locos get to shop free in his store! he also handed me three bags of NUTS!

Another late finish gave me 56km for that day

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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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