Archive for November, 2013

Under Police Escort In Myanmar!

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Hi Folks. Not sure why spot has not updated last few days I am in Yamethin, Mandalay province under police escort, I understand there was a govt request for their services. Great news as they are carrying my pack all the way to India border post! Its a pity there is so much passport control. I am running at night now and sleeping as best as possible in the days, Even while trying to sleep there are usually 2 knocks on the door firstly from the police and then the local immigration officer, also many on the road, Its tedious but taking into account previous no travel, I will take these restrictions :)

My route for rest of Myanmar press HERE  Point A being my present whereabouts and F my entry to India. This border post is not an official crossing for foreigners but we will see about that!!

This started about 4 or 5 nights ago when I was running in the dark and noticed a couple guys on a small motorbike passing me, stop, wait for me to pass. When I got to a busy area  I approached them asking them if they were police oficers. They said yes and would have to go back to the station for their police id!

I examined one which was in Myanmar, numbers too and then quoted the Myanmar motto.

” How May We Help! ”

They smiled and said yes, So I gave them my pack and said,

” Hold this I gotta run!”

That day was very hot, a long internet stop and with their help ran 55km.

The man with the camera ran for Burma in the Barcelona Olympics, A 2.20 marathon for about 70th place.

Next day after they found guest House for me I was feeling the heat and stopped to rest for about 5 hours in a restaurant.  That was my change over from day to night, so a short morning of 25km followed by a long nights record run of 82km/50.7 miles. It was really over 100 in a 24 hour period. Then yesterday Tuesday 55km and I felt the previous days effort in my legs!

Many thanks to the dozens of police officers involved, they change so often I just cant remember any names. I am told that these guys in civvies are the Myanmar ‘ Special Police ‘

Total 38,008 in 869 road days.


Sorry about poor quality pictures, camera trouble! Gotta run!

Buddhist Monks

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One week in Myanmar

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Hi everyone. Just a brief update to say I finished a bit early today, about 35km as I got a load of logistic stuff to sort and may be a late start, Thursday.

I didn’t need this delay as I still got to run 50km a day for 3 more weeks before visa runs out. Its very tough and grueling as I said before a bit like Indonesia, all the mental stuff with the people, the narrow road, no shoulder, the rubber necks causing dangerous situations and crazy traffic. I met a New York cyclist today and he says he has the same with up to 30 gawkers looking on at the end of a hard day when all he wanted to do was rest, Yes I know that one. Well that was in Mongolia, not as bad here.

Having said that the people are most helpful.

Having a bit of fun learning the language.

Cowan Day means delicious! Ah yes we in Ireland know the banks after their bailout by Mr Cowan will probably have a yearly Cowan day while our grand children still pay off the cost of  govt incompetence. I noted in Thailand many banks had calendars with pictures of the king, I am sure Irish banks would love to do the same with our Prime Minister!

Gay Zoo Tim Buddy  means Thanks. The first time I said it I said ‘ Tims buddy is in the gay zoo! ‘

And a fun one ‘ Yay ” means water.

I am very weary trying to keep this show on the road, I have a feeling when I get to India it will be much easier. Yes I know India is a very crowded place too.

50km a day is a bit too much for me here in this heat but I am slugging it out as best as I can. There is no sign of the intense heat abating. I look forward to some cool weather!

The cops don’t bother me anymore, hope it stays that way. I think before it was because I was near the Thai border. Not sure about the restricted areas, think much has changed since the signs in last blog were put up. I will just keep running on. Once or twice they did try to say mister you cant run here. Once I looked an English speaking cop in the eye and said.

” Officer is Myanmar a democracy? And before he could answer I said

” Yes, No, Yes, No …. ”

Till he eventually said… ” Well Yes.”

” I bid you an adios officer ” And ran on. Yes I have a feeling it will be a battle of wits here.

Approx distance 37,600km Days 862.

The food here is first class, perhaps along with Thailand s food the best on the whole run. Got a delicious meal last night, fish, rice, various veg,fruit soup, in all I had 10 plates on the table and the bill was 2,5 euro!

Thanks for stopping by, Talk soon!

Rest Myanmar route press HERE

Like here. Things are a little uncertain in eastern India. Press HERE for my proposed route which will surely be modified


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First Days In Myanmar/Burma

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Crossing from Thailand to Myanmar

Hi Everyone! Things going well and having a really interesting run here, so much to tell. Sorry I didn’t get the Thailand blog finished as I expected another internet session I didn’t get.

So a big THANK YOU to all the runners that ran and helped me there. Also to Narumol, Mr. Narong and Tey pulling the strings from Malaysia, I had a great time there

Hope to catch up as soon as possible.

As you can see this border only opened a few weeks ago,

Running the last 6km from Mae Sot Thailand to the border I was not very optimistic as a Dutch couple staying in my hotel said a lot of restrictions were in place and perhaps its a matter of time before I get pulled off the road thereby ending my unbroken route. I guess I have to be positive.

This is the situation I face after failing to secure my China visa, like a pawn pushed into a corner trying to figure out my next move from a weak position.

Kayin State is my first state here. A bit of a head wrecker this!

I was also a bit surprised when the immigration official referred to Myanmar as Burma. So after changing money from a money changer. Money which I may not be able to change back, Who knows I could be back in Thailand sooner than I expect, the future is uncertain. Then I tried to get a Myanmar sim and right enough the information I had gotten was correct, crazy prices. But before that I had a laugh as I went to a border mobile phone store and they sat me down while a girl went and got me a sim card. I had clearly said Myanmar sim and when I turned back on my mobile there was a welcome from the ‘ Happy Network ‘ saying  had 120 Thai Bah!! What could I do, only laugh for it was just a few euro.

Someone told me to go back to the immigration office as they have a ‘ Foreigner Only Shop ‘ nearby where I could purchase one. Well I couldn’t as they were $1,000. The officer said they had a promotion for $100 sims, only 100 and they were all snapped up. A new way to fund raise from foreign visitors I guess.

So a lot of time wasted that day. I ran on into Kayin State feeling very privileged to be running on these roads were closed to the outside world just 10 short weeks ago.

Those first few days I had expected a lot of sad, glum faces but no they are among the happiest people I have met on the run, considering  what they have been through. Some people may ask about the morality about visiting this country but I say give  democracy a chance, a relatively new still trying to find its feet democracy. Lets be honest if I am running in an area once forbidden to the outside world, that must speak volumes for the great shift towards a free world. Surely if I can run across this country unhindered then the Myanmar government deserve some praise for its efforts?

Traffic drives on the right side of the road, the first time since Argentina 11 months ago. They use the mile system also.The officer at the border told me that as this is a very mountainous area with narrow roads that a one way system is in operation, traffic in one direction one day and traffic the other direction the next. That is only in this area till I clear the mountains in a couple of days.

On the way from the border I was stopped by this procession and offered a delicious juice by a Buddhist monk.

Then I came to what looked like a checkpoint and my heart missed a beat till I discovered it was only an Import/Export control.I ran through unhindered, the run goes on.


Not really sure what it was all about. I decided to play safe that first day and stopped for shelter at a monastery. Next day at an immigration checkpoint the officers tell me the monastery is called ‘ the police monastery.

I have a rough translation explaining what I am doing on the run and had some Burmese people translate it for me into their language. In the monastery a police officer just happened to drop by and I saw the monk show him my translated letter, no questions.Here the officers made a fuss over me, they couldn’t have  been nicer even sending someone down to a cafe for tea for me when I asked if they had any coffee. Can’t believe I am running Myanmar, only short of putting my feet up on the table here they make me feel so welcome!

I had a pretty decent 52km first full day over the mountains with the one way traffic to my back. Every so often a vehicle punctured, so there was a backlog. People seem to be transporting huge cargoes of food and wares, probably for their shops in over loaded trucks and pickups.

By the end of that day, I was pretty shattered. I ran into a small town called Kaw Ka Reik and was applauded by even more immigration officers at the checkpoint to the towns entrance. They gave me refreshments  and one officer escorted me to a ‘ suggested ‘ place for me to sleep, the Kaw Ka Reik Guest House. Luckily it was only 3 euro a night, so very welcome even if the room resembled a jail cell with bars on the window, I guess so as I cant avoid passport control!

So, I filled out the register, they don’t accept photo copied documents here! Copies work so well in many countries saving me hassle pulling out my passport. Then a young lad came along, no more than a teenager and asked for my passport details again. I asked the proprietor if this man was really a cop, they nodded and laughed. And then another immigration officer called for my details! When he was gone the hotel lady said she wanted to hold onto my passport till the morning. So I told her in no uncertain terms this is all ridiculous and refused.

Instead I spent a while trying to figure out the Myanmar number system that is used on the mile markers. I did this by studying the serial numbers on banknotes, which have dual numbering.

This is mile marker 64.2, Always something to make simple running difficult!

Only the odd sign has the English script. The one below is very rare believe me. I got to get people to write my place names down on a piece of cardboard and compare, or use my camera.

This is obviously a new sign to cater for tourists as its in Kilometres and not miles.

In the morning junior cop was waiting for me outside the hotel and rode down the road slowly after me. When we got to a junction he told me he is a police officer. Its still very hot, very hot.

After running through some town I came to a bridge with police officers sitting at a table. One stopped me and said I couldn’t run on the road across the bridge they were guarding. He told me I had to get on the back of a taxi motorbike.

Impossible I said, I am running around the world, no bikes! So I pointed to a pathway and said keep your road, I’m running on the path :)

And I did about 500 metres across the bridge. The officer just shrugged his shoulders, the same way a bouncer would when faced with a crowd rush at a gig!

Break time

That day I managed 55km and slept in a rubber plantation forest in my bivy. Earlier I had noticed a snake on the side of the road slither back into the grass just as I had to stop due to congested traffic. My foot was very close to his still very visible tail, for some reason I had no fear. That was my second ‘ live sighting ‘  in about 3 days. Despite countless dead, steam rolled into the tarmac snakes, live snakes are still rare, about 8 on the run. Dead snakes are easily the most common road kill also.

Another tough 51km day and I am loving Myanmar. Its a bit like Indonesia, just less primitive and the people sharper, also amazingly have more respect for space despite less foreigner sightings. Also liking to Indonesia is the tight, narrow busy road. That said I have got some maulers and gawkers also and the rubbernecks that want to help cause congestion problems on the road for me.

Biker monks

Here the Buddhist monks, and there are thousands of them ride around on motor bikes and drive cars. Unlike in Thailand. I am sure we all remember the scenes on our televisions from about 6 or 7 years ago with the protesting monks.





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Indian visa secured

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Hi Everyone, Got my Indian visa today in Bangkok. But only a double entry as opposed to the triple entry I requested. This means I may have to rethink my route, with some more complicated planning ahead. I understand internet in Myanmar is far and between, also sim cards cost a staggering US$1,500 and roaming on other networks has not been agreed, why, I am not at liberty to speculate and will have to be on my best behavior there. Your guess is as good as mine. I thought the person that told me this was joking but many people have confirmed this to be the case, so for me communication may be remote. Not sure if Spot works there either I have no intention of making any speculative comments, as I have said … All I want to do is run and meet the nice people of Myanmar :)

I have also been told that more English is spoken in Myanmar than Thailand, so a plus for communication there!

So I plan to take the night bus back to my last finish spot on route 12. I should make it tomorrow, Tuesday night and cross on Wednesday. My flight is already booked for the 3rd December out of Myanmar, so that’s 28 days the duration of my visa for there. By which time I will have a better idea of the routing as there is no template for running this area. To be honest, I am giving Bangladesh a rethink and may skip Nepal, as I said I have to figure out many complicated scenarios not very obvious to the reader, through a visa minefield, that is Asia. It seems a lot more logical than the Indian route I was contemplating as its serious permit land. I am afraid it will be running to the Myanmar/Bangladesh border touching it and flying over as this land border is closed as is the Bangladesh/India border. And then once on the other side backtracking to the border and running on, missing just a minimal distance in the so called ” no mans land ”

Lets see, what happens, am optimistic!

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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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