Archive for December, 2013

Walk On – Aung San Suu Kyi.

Monday, December 30th, 2013

 Update: With luck I should be back on my route at the India/Myanmar border on New Years Day or 2nd at the latest!  This blog is an update from approx 5-6  weeks ago. The final Myanmar post will be published in a few days time. 



I had managed to run solo in Myanmar for about ten days before I acquired the police escort. 

Myanmar has for a long time been a country very close to my heart.Now I am running through the country.

I have been a supporter of Myanmar’s political prisoner and leader of the  opposition , Aung San Suu Kyi for many years. On this very blog saluted her final release (let’s hope) from house arrest in 2010, a month after my world run began. Please read my posting HERE which I penned three years ago just after her release. 

Aung San Suu Kyi returned to Burma in 1988, after years living and studying abroad, only to find widespread slaughter of protesters rallying against the brutal rule of dictator U Ne Win. She spoke out against him and initiated a nonviolent movement, almost Gandhi like toward achieving democracy and human rights. In 1989, the government placed Suu Kyi under house arrest, and she spent 15 of the next 21 years in custody. In 1991, her ongoing efforts won her the Nobel Prize for Peace She was finally released from house arrest in November 2010.Aung San Suu Kyi’s father founder of the Burmese army and formerly the de facto prime minister of British Burma, was assassinated in 1947. Her mother, Khin Kyi, was appointed ambassador to India in 1960. Suu Kyi obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oxford in 1969, and in 1972, she married. She had two children—in 1973 and 1977—and the family spent the 1970s and 1980s in England, the United States and India.

Though the Union military told Suu Kyi that if she agreed to leave the country, they would free her, she refused to do so, insisting that her struggle would continue until the junta released the country to civilian government and political prisoners were freed. In 1990, a parliamentary election was held, and the party with which Suu Kyi was now affiliated—the National League for Democracy—won more than 80 percent of the parliamentary seats. The election results, though, were predictably ignored by the junta. Twenty years later, they formally annulled the results.

Suu Kyi was released from one of her many house arrests in July 1995, and the next year she attended the NLD party congress, under the continual harassment of the military. Three years later, she founded a representative committee and declared it as the country’s legitimate ruling body, and in response, in September 2000, the junta once again placed her under house arrest. She was released in May of 2002.

In 2003, the NLD clashed in the streets with pro-government demonstrators, and Suu Kyi was yet again arrested and placed under house arrest.

Her sentence was then renewed yearly. The extension of a house arrest sentence is illegial under Burma and international law. The international community came to her aid each time, calling continually for her release (to no avail).

Irish rock band U2 were among many celebrities to have championed her cause. They wrote a song called WALK ON.

In some of my interviews I have mentioned to surprised journalists that this very song is my favorite song. despite the title I do not see it as a running or walking song, just a song about freedom, or rather the lack of freedom.

I sang this song many times when running through the country. I sang it also while running towards the Myanmar border in Thailand.

All things U2 are banned in Myanmar because of their support and ongoing campaign for the release of Suu Kyi.

Strangely there are huge U2″ posters on display all over the country, this U2 being a coffee brand!

As mentioned the military junta gave her an opportunity to leave the country. to escape her open cage of house arrest.

As the lyrics in Walk On state

“ You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been

A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom ”

(Lyrics courtesy U2)

Press HERE to view U2 perform Walk On live the Rose Bowl. Members of Amnesty International and the Burma Action group are called on stage to parade wearing Suu Kyi masks.

Towards the end of my time in the country when I was under escort there were many days that I ran with a heavy heart. Often I sang Walk On to the top of my voice or played it loud on my phone for the police officers who knew not its significance, victims of state censorship. All media publications or broadcasts must have the approval of the generals.


You may have wondered why so many young people in the photos in previous blog postings wear Buddhist robes. I have been told it’s because in Myanmar that young people between the age of 10 and 20 years of age have to serve as a novice to the Buddhist religion for two periods. I guess just because they are ‘ serving ‘ they don’t forget their other life for on a couple occasions in internet cafes I saw young lads, dressed in their robes viewing pornography! Perhaps it’s politically incorrect for me to mention this, so be it that was my experience.

I followed up with a couple of poor distance days for I was starting to suffer humping my pack in the hot humidity. I ran by the so called Delta area of Myanmar, an area forbidden to foreigners after the flooding disaster of a few years  back. A previously forbidden area  because the generals in the Myanmar government did not want the western world to see what they were doing with donations for the country’s relief efforts, Or rather not doing for the relief money went straight into their bank accounts.

During the civil war the Burmese people were often reduced to slave labor, villages were looted by the troops, women raped and the citizenry were used to clear mine fields, mines which were purposely planted close to peoples land where they farmed their food . It is to their credit they are a gentle people devoid any bitterness.
That night I stayed in a monastery. No sooner was I inside when the cops told me it ‘ would not be suitable ‘ for me. I stood my ground, asking why not if Myanmar claims to be a democracy, eventually they allowed me to stay.
The head monk even prepared a bed with  mosquito net for me. That night I drew an audience of about ten monks who sat silently watching me do almost nothing for an hour, except eat the fruit they gave me and drink the coffee I prepared.
Out on the road I am starting to feel watched, like the Myanmar equivalent of the KGB are watching me.

I am not really sure why they are, do they think I am a spy who has somehow parachuted in here, that the running is my cover?
Of course no great expedition is complete without being arrested for suspicion of spying!
Running along national highway 1 on a very hot November day I stopped at a market pace to buy an umbrella to get some shade from the strong sun. Even when I was buying it I knew running with it would be as awkward as Hell, acts like these are often more to satisfy the screaming mind. ” Tony you got to do something about this inferno…” I could hear in my minds ear.
53km that day. My many stops meant I had a late finish. It was dark, the road was quiet so I pulled my bivy out and slept on a seat under a little used bus shelter. I lit a couple of mosquito coils, for me coils are the best deterrent against the bastards, but they are so fragile, difficult to transport and heavy.
Another big distance day, 55km had me running late again. This time I could have finished earlier but I decide to stop at a restaurant for a delicious meal, so much good food I wondered how I could possibly run. Many of the meals are almost an eat as much as you like affair as they keep bringing plates of vegetables, meat, fish, rice and the delicious soup is usually filled two or three times. It is not uncommon to have up to ten dishes on the table. All this for a princely sum in the region of 2 to 4 euro including coffee, tea is always served free in Myanmar even when you order coffee.
That night out on the road two men on a small 125cc motorbike tried to get me to stop. I had just run through a checkpoint where I had a brief chat in English with one of the officers. Now these guys were trying to tell me they are cops. I did not believe them and backed off the way I had just come. I saw them trying to make a u-turn. Luckily the road was pretty busy and just as a 16 wheel truck flashed by I decided to make a run through a gap in a hedge and into a field. They spotted me, once again shouting out for me to stop that they were police officers. They were in fact dressed in civilian clothes.
I ran about 50 metres into the field before I stopped to turn off my red flashing light which was attached to the back of my pack. The field was swampy and I had to put to the back of my mind that Myanmar is a country with a huge venomous snake population. A couple of days ago in a period of just one hour I ran past about fifty dead snakes, steamrolled into the battered tarmac by the traffic. The two men came over to the gap in the hedge and shone their flashlights into the field. I felt sure they would not follow me for they wore sandals, not exactly equipped for wading across a saturated field. Never the less I made my way through the long grass to a cluster of tall plants about 300 metres from the road. It was the only cover available. The moon was full and shone brightly over the field. The two men stood about twenty metres apart, advancing slightly while shining their flashlights in a co-ordinated manner. I wondered had they got military training.
I couldn’t help worrying that they would somehow find me, after all this would be the safest place for me to sleep, water logged and all as the field was. I found some growth to cover up the soil beneath me. I was lucky I had my waterproof bivy with me tonight. Tonight my bivy would get a good testing
Just then the two men started searching along a side road which led to a pagoda behind me. It was also about 300 metres off the road. Surely they must be cops as even the dumbest of criminals wood have given up by now, Surely it was a hopeless effort looking for me,like a needle in a haystack.. They searched for about three hours. I figured if they were cops I would be stopped on the road the next day. When I was not approached as expected I reasoned they were indeed criminals.
A few days later when I acquired my police escort I finally decided they must have been cops after all – for they could have fitted in very well with what I
was to experience on my long run towards the Indian border.

Then another day I stopped at a restaurant for an evening meal. The owners son speaks decent English and wants me to stay there with his family for the night.
I tell him I will but ask him not to tell too many people as word will get around the village, that the cops will arrive and I will be told I can’t stay.
I hate to say, I told you so, for that is exactly what happened.
Guess what I was allowed to run on,so I did for another five km. Same story  I stopped at another restaurant asking to sleep (for there are no hotels there)
The nice family said yes but shortly after different cops came over to investigate the strange foreigner. This time I was allowed to stay, all be it the cops asked if I minded being locked in my room!
Another hot day and I was off to a slow start. I was about 15km into a 55km day.
I passed by two cafes as they were crowded, Sometimes I need a bit of space. I arrive at an empty cafe. A man who spoke very good English came in and sat down on the only half decent bench in the small cafe. Many people sit on those small chairs two year old children sit on, not my idea of comfort. I struggle to get my pack off for I am tired, I am weary, I am eyeing the bench he is sitting on for I need a decent rest. The shoulder straps of my pack are tangled and I’m in a right old tussle to liberate my shoulders. In the meantime the man stands up and more or less impatiently pokes me in the chest asking where I am from, where I am going and what I am doing. I realize he is the cafe owner. His wife come out from a back room, she also speaks very good English. I ask her for a Coke, she puts it on my table, pack suddenly comes off, unopened Coke bottle falls on the floor, I open it, Coke sprays all over me.
I shout at him asking him next time a world runner runs through would he kindly give the runner some space and especially a couple of minutes to get their breath back! The man and his wife start screaming calling me mentally deranged  and an f***ing s*1t head for as they said I didn’t want to talk to them. Not true, I value my private time away from the spotlight of the road but when in a position like this will always be friendly, when they are thoughtful enough to allow me to get my breath back that is. Fortunately whereas I get little privacy on my breaks (as seen i the photos), people almost always give me this courtesy.
So I just paid for my half drink and left without my change.
By contrast on the run I have found that people who speak just a little English as opposed to fluent English to be very tiring. They approach me saying they want to help me. My experience is they mostly just want to practice their English. I rely on them for my information and often learn nothing as often time their English collapses, Almost like they are operating off a template which is soon exhausted. I remember one man whose English gave me a very good first impression. After ten minutes talking he became very hard to understand, he also asked me what was rain. I told him water falling out of the sky and left him.
Unlike people who speak no English these people leave me quite exhausted and I rarely get my information or help they offer.
Later that day just before the town of Phyu as it was getting dark I noticed two men on a small motorbike observe me. As I ran they would draw level with me on the other side of the road or ride on a bit further waiting for me to run by. Then when I ran on they followed me again doing the same. They did this about half a dozen times. I waited until I got to a busy area and stopped at a restaurant. I asked them if they were cops.
Yes they said, so I sent them back to the police station for an identity card, drinking a soft drink while I waited.
When I was sure they were cops I quoted the Myanmar police motto…
” How may we help? ”
The nodded, so I gave them my pack telling them
” I gotta  run! “
It was almost the end of the day so I just ran a few km and they allowed me to stay in a grubby hotel just before the town of Phyu. My room cost about US$10 which I haggled down from $30, for 10 was the real value in Myanmar’s overpriced hotel sector. Two of the police officers stayed in a room across from my room.
That was the beginning of my two week Myanmar escort in which I ran exactly 900km from November 17th to December 1st.



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Another two days in Myanmar

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

While I ate my breakfast the lads prepared my drinks, mixing some electrolytes into my bottles for the morning. 

As always an audience

And outside a woman gives me another bag of snacks for the road ahead. I couldn’t resist a Brucie knee wobble!

Off we go. The road is now more rural. I start running over sand and rocks for the road deteriorates. I am now running in a more rural area.

Running in the mountains. The weather has cooled off a lot over the last week. Just nice for running.

The people came out again today.

Around just about every bend they waited.

And when they blocked the road there was only one thing for me to do!!

They kept coming

And coming

Have you seen this guy in a movie before?

What about these guys?

Well I slept in this police station that night. They made me dinner. Fruit, bread and butter,soup and coffee.

Back to the sand dunes and another day in the mountains near the Indian border.

We ran and had laughs.

So another office came out and ran when the road improved.

Then we stopped for a lunch break

That evening we saw a drunk at the side of the road. The officers handed him over to a neighbor. I was told to run on. I saw two buffalo carts roaming down the middle of the road in the dark. It seemed to be just a normal occurrence to the officers even though the carts had no passengers!

I am now running 65/70km per day. I want to get out of Myanmar as fast as I can. Despite all my wonderful help. I am tired of the control. I am also scared they will ‘ pull the plug on me ‘ for when I had a lie on this morning starting two hours after I said I would depart I got a phone call from a commanding officer saying they are worried about my health!

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Article For The Australian Triathlon & Multisport Magazine.

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Many thanks to my great friend Ronnie Bellew for penning this article for the Australian Triathlon & Multisport Magazine last summer.

I am very sorry for the long delay getting this article up on the site as I had trouble downloading the link for various reasons.

Well told Ronnie, I like it very much and it was very nice meeting you yesterday. Press the link below to read the article.

triathlon&multisports magazine tony mangan feature (1)

By the way…. I just did a long interview with Graeme Lennox of the  Sunday Times. I am told that Feature will hit the stands on Sunday 29th Dec or 5th Jan.

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Video Of A Handover On My Myanmar Escort. And The Largest Gawking Session Of The Run!

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Sorry for the poor quality of these pictures as I was having some camera trouble at the time.

Press HERE to see some video coverage of a ‘ handover ‘ on my Myanmar escort.

Some posts below have had added pictures.

My largest audience of the run!

And for the largest gawking session of the run please press HERE

This particular day I enjoyed so much. Everywhere I ran crowds gathered by the side of the road.

And I ran on

They showed their surprise

And on I ran with a happy heart.

They waited and made themselves comfortable till the circus ran by!

Many times I stopped. They were silent.

Sometimes I flashed my ‘ Eddie Murphy ‘ smile or did a Bruce Grobberlar knee wobble!

Which always broke the ice, they laughed and smiled. Before I ran on again

And the cops scratched their heads.

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One Day Like This – The Most Memorable Day Of The World Run

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Under Police Escort In Myanmar/Burma

Continued from my previous post. This day was amazing… Easily the most memorable day of the run and please remember I am running through an area cut off to the outside world, that is till very recently.

They stopped their vehicles too

And blocked the road

And they laughed  and laughed.

And they continued to wait. Sometimes if I didn’t look I would not know they were there for they are quiet and gentle people.

And the monks even came out.

And we talked before I ran on

They continued to wait

And wait

And what is this they asked.

Another stop on a wonderful day

They stopped in their tracks.

Then I got to the next village

And the next village

And the next village.

And then the ‘ changing of the guards’

Often when I am tired and take a break people crowd me out, today I didn’t mind

Lots of fun today, wish every day was like this.

The boys are back in town and it’s back to work :)

And back to the show!

And more!

We tried to talk, with difficulty but laughing is one of the best languages.

Still they came

And smiled.

And wondered

And even ran with me

Ah! Yes the end of an incredible day. This is the restaurant/hotel I stayed at that night. Not an approved hotel but the immigration officer at the end of the line here didn’t seem to mind. There were days when I was commuted for almost two hours each way because they saw fit.

The immigration officer actually sat at my dinner table asking me what my plans were for the next two days as she needed to know.

And finally he asks.

” Mama, What is this? ”

A URO? An Unidentified Running Object! :)


Police escort in Myanmar

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Pakistan Visa Has Been Secured! End Of Visa Nightmare In Sight!

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Aung San Suu Kyi. A woman close to my heart. I will talk about the leader of the Myanmar opposition in my blog update.

Hi everyone, I have been very busy on the research front and am sorry I have neglected the blog. As mentioned earlier the Pakistan visa can sometimes be a bit difficult to acquire but I managed it here in Dublin using a visa agency Visa First.ie  They got this visa for me the following day, so many thanks for a wonderful service.

The only downside was in order to be sure of getting this visa I asked for and got 15 days. In hindsight I would have gotten the 30 days but I wanted to be sure. So this means I got to enter Pakistan before March 9th which leaves around 2,800km to be run in India in about 70 days so as my Pakistan visa doesn’t expire before I even get there! I should be able to cross Pakistan east to west in the 15 days as that distance is in the region of 560km.

On the run! Several of the officers ran with my during my Myanmar escort.

Also my passport is starting to fill up! I have only 6 unstamped pages. Most visa applications require the applicant to have two unused passport pages in order to process their one page visa, just to ensure the traveler can travel on and is not a liability. So effectively I have just four pages. This will suffice as I only need three of these full pages and have plenty of half pages for all the exit and entry stamps. Well after the Ukraine there will not be any stamps till I get to the port of Calais. I also ask immigration officers to not stamp a new page and politely ‘ suggest ‘ a location!

This reminds me of Indonesia when I suggested to a rude immigration officer a place for his stamp. He told me.

” Indonesia we have a rule”

” Whats that? ” I asked..

” You don’t teach me where to stamp the passport ” he said.

Early morning start. The Tourist Police make their calls to get another show on the road.

Ah Yes! I also remember my re entry to Indonesia in Jakarta airport after my ‘ visa run ‘ to Singapore.

I enter immigration. No other traveler there as I am first through because I am not carrying any baggage. I am overwhelmed by cigarette smoke. It’s a bit like the airport in the movie Midnight Express.

The immigration officer asks me to go over to the bank kiosk about 20 metres away to pay my $25 visa on arrival fee. I seem to be too much trouble for the bank teller who is annoyed at me interrupting his smoking session. I hand him $50 bill. He hands me back Indonesian change, I protest so he decides to be an A. H. and opens a drawer full of dollar bills and hands me 4 x $5 and 5 x $1.

These people are the first and last impressions visitors have of a country.

Young people of Myanmar... I love you, I couldn't help repeating those memorable words of pope John Paul!

Press HERE to see  the route I am now considering as my best option for several reasons as outlined below.

Initially I was thinking about running from Iran to Turkey.

Surprisingly EU citizens still need a visa for Turkey but I would imagine would also be easy to obtain.

However I am gone off Turkey for these reasons:

The classrooms emptied in seconds!

1. I cycled through there on my world cycle many years ago and even though I had a wonderful time I don’t want to have my whole Asian route from eastern India to be almost identical!

2. There is a problem running over the Bosporus bridge in Istanbul which does not allow pedestrian traffic (and no other way around it)

I am not getting anywhere with my inquiries  to the relevant government agents for an exception.

3. I really feel a world journey should include the largest country in the world, all be it only 450km of Russia between Georgia and the Ukraine (points E and F on my route map)

It's great fun!

Despite serious visa headaches I am going to try for a Russian visa which can only be applied for three months in advance to my entry date. BTW my Russian entry/exit dates are required when I apply for the visa. I can enter after my estimated entry date (June 6) but not before this date. I already have my LOI Letter Of Invitation which also lists the places I intend to visit.

Of course this also means I will have to maintain a pace of 50km per day from New Delhi to the Russian frontier for reasons outlined below. I tell you, I just cant seem to get a handy 1,000km per month month! :(

Even with the control.

I plan to apply for my Afghan, Iranian and Russian visas in New Delhi. Just like in Bangkok I will not sit around waiting for these visas. I will run on as I did there while applying for my Indian visa and return on an overnight bus to collect before submitting to the next embassy and returning to my route for a few more days and so on.

Iran is now my last remaining key visa. Many people get refused  Iranian visas, mostly the so called allies but not Irish.

It is a wonderful country and despite some problems I had there when I was effectively trapped in the country back in 1979. That was  due to the closed borders at the time of the Iranian revolution. I still have very fond memories of the country and look forward to my return. It is also a safe country which gets some unfair and bad publicity just like Mexico and Colombia. The Irish ambassador in Tehran talks very kindly about travel in Iran.

Near the end of a very tough day over dusty mountain trails, potholes and sand there is a 'handover.

After extensive research I eventually decided AGAINST this route  press HERE to view the route I decided NOT to run.

The reason for this change is I uncovered some unpublicized problems in Uzbekistan. According to a well respected travel agent in Central Asia I would have to stay in government hotels and that camping, home stays and couch surfing were illegal!   Ah yes! Where did we hear that before? was it in Myanmar? No thanks Uzbekistan!

And I am escorted out of another town with my newest friends.

I was then informed that in order to proceed with the required LOI that I would have to obey this rule so as he wouldn’t get into trouble, that I would!!!!

Then I got a much needed break in the Asian visa nightmare! Perhaps I should really withhold this information for a while but as readers know I have always shared and been transparent with my plans. If they don’t work out, okay I will find another, no ego here!

As mentioned before for a Russian visa the applicant has to apply for the visa in their own country of residence. Or a foreigner with more than three months of residency.

Well that breakthrough is… After sending a routine email to the Russian embassy in New Delhi I was directed to their visa outsourcing agency which informed me that my 6 month Indian tourist visa qualifies me for an ‘ Indian residency of sorts. ‘ I emailed a couple of times just to confirm and clarify and yes this has been confirmed. After some more back up research on travel websites it has been confirmed that this little known policy has been in place for at least five years.

Yes I can qualify to apply for my Russian visa in New Delhi :)

To be honest I wont be able to relax till I have it in my hand! What you mean relax Tony? You got to then run an average of 50km per day for three months so as it wont expire!

Believe me that will be the easy part!

And that I will do before my passport fills up! By the way for Irish citizens no visas are required for Armenia and Georgia.

There are other options open to obtaining a hard to get visa on the road for instance sending a passport back by courier to said visa agency in Ireland which would mean having to travel for a couple of weeks without a passport.  Easier said than done. Not sure if I would get away with this in Iran.

Not once did I have to show my passport in five weeks in Thailand to police or a hotel. Ah! Yes Myanmar, probably 5km!

I am reading a book at the moment by Shelby Tucker called “ Among Insurgents: Walking Through Burma, ” the story of his trek from China to India through the Kachin highlands and across what is now Myanmar to Thailand . And you know what he did the Burma/Myanmar part of the walk many years ago undercover and in disguise when the country was still off limits to foreigners! I just can’t imagine how he managed it after what I have just been through. Well done Shelby but I don’t think you would get away with it now! BTW when he tried recruiting a companion he was accused of being deranged!!

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Christmas Break

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Hi All sorry for the delay in posting this as I needed a break from everything for a few days. Myanmar was very difficult both physically and mentally. Though it’s true the police force did help me a lot, it came with a price. I ran myself into the ground over sand and rocky mountain roads with high mileages while all the time amateur doctors monitored my health and wondered why I was so tired as after all I was running around the world for 3 years! Immigration officers sat down at my dinner table and asked me what my plans were for the next couple of days. Or they phoned to ask. Is this democracy I ask?

I rarely had a moment to myself in almost 3 weeks as I was followed even to the bathroom and could only make one internet visit which I was followed to. There is much more including a demand from the Great Wall Hotel in Mandalay for $75 for a 5 hour hotel night after a promised sponsor changed his mind overnight. My passport was held by the new two day old manager who was unable to use any discretion till I paid. It was actually $70 dollars but as I paid in Myanmar kyats and not $US there was a ‘ supplement ‘ Locals pay $50, Ah! Yes, discrimination!

Some readers may have read my brief update in the comments. I was not allowed to run over the Myanmar/Indian border at Tamu/Moreh. So as my 28 day visa was rapidly running out I ended up returning to Mandalay on a bus. The Tamu immigration turned up to see I was on the bus! And yes another one met the bus in Mandalay!

What is all this about you may ask, perhaps they thought I was a spy!! Control, Control, Control and the great excuse to control.. ” We are looking after your safety and security! ”

Yes. They helped me but the level of control was 'over the top' Here you can see the immigration officer going through my file at a breakfast break.

So when I asked why they needed to guard my safety and security and if Myanmar is a dangerous country and if so I will have to write about it. They are usually shocked by this question.

Breakfast is over and ' my team ' are ready to roll! They changed officers a couple of times a day as I progressed along their jurisdiction.

At this stage they, they as in the Myanmar equivalent of the KGB were seriously in my face asking me what I was going to do with a rapidly expiring visa. I told them I was going to the Indian Consulate in the morning to inquire  about permits for the border states in India. I knew there was an embassy in Mandalay but they lied and said no. By that stage I was pretty angry and stressed and knowing I had booked a precautionary flight to Bangkok the following morning , just in case of this kind of hassle… Well having booked that flight was a true moment of inspiration. Because I stood up from the table and told them to get stuffed that I was going to Bangkok and would sort things out from there!

I jumped on a motorcycle taxi went straight to the airport, slept there, caught the flight to Bangkok. I slept a little in a 24 hour internet cafe that night while making contact with some Indian runners and a social worker in the restricted Indian states of Manipur and Nagaland. It seems they can and are helping me smooth the way with the permits, thanks folks!

So I decided to fly to New Delhi with Nirvana my cart which Danny Corrigan has been kindly minding for me in Bangkok. I plan to store it in the Irish embassy in New Delhi till I run through in a couple of months time. Many thanks to the Irish ambassador Gerry Kelly and his assistant Co. Cork woman Katie. I wondered if I could do anything in New Delhi the next day re the elusive permits and then got a brain wave to question the immigration officer who gave me my entry stamp into India. He brought me to see his supervisor who confirmed it was best to inquire in the two state capital cities.

As mentioned I am grateful for the help I am getting from local people in that area. So with all this and the need for a break I decided I would use my frequent flier miles and take a break in Dublin till after Christmas. I booked the flight from the Amor restaurant just around the corner from the embassy. I  just had time for a taxi ride to the airport. I also need some time to obtain some visas as the Pakistan visa is only issued in ones own home country since the US invasion on Bin Laden things have tightened up.

I have been told that with this particular visa there is also a high chance that I may be called for an interview, so this is another reason for the break. I thought about returning to the route and running for a week or 10 days but then wouldn’t have time for the visa and would also waste about 2 days travel each way for where I would likely finish would be pretty remote far away from Delhi or other airports. So all in all after a lot of consideration it made sense to take a (much needed) long break, for it was a tough year around 14,000km in just under 11 months through the Australian Outback in record time, 3 months of ‘ Road Hell ‘ in Indonesia and now a very tough month in Myanmar. I was only in India for 12 hours! Using up one of my precious double entry stamps, so that means Nepal is definitely out of the run as the immigration officer said I would have to get another Indian visa and there is always a chance of a refusal which would totally screw me up, not a chance I want to take.

I return to India on December 27th, it will take me a couple of days to get back to my route in Moreh at the Indian border. Unfortunately when I finished up there on December 1st it was the first time there was a ‘ road gap ‘ on the run after almost 38,700km.  A gap of about 1km between the Myanmar and Indian immigration offices has been declared as a ‘ no mans land ‘

Many people do not consider a ‘ no mans land ‘ to be a breakage but in my mind I do.

Merry Christmas to all the readers, please stay tuned as I want to post some updates and time permitting post a lot of the absolutely amazing Myanmar photographs I took.

Briefly there were two wonderful days when I was running through the sand duned mountain roads where villagers crowded all along the roads of their villages. I stopped many times, sometimes for snacks in restaurants and counted up to 100 gawkers a time!

It was AMAZING!! One of these days I called the most incredible day of the run, so you see even with all the police hassle they did help me, not least carry my stuff and feed me water and my snacks.

I am tired now, I need to rest and recover for the last 10 months of the run but as always still have a lot of work to do.

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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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