Archive for May, 2014

European and Uk routes.

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

My European route.
Istanbul to Bulgaria,Romania,Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, England, Wales and Ireland north and south. Austria will be just the small corner from Slovakia on the road to Brno,Czech Rep. Mainly the Vienna area. This just adds 30 km to my route and I am admitting to ‘ country collecting’ here also for Holland which was not on my revised route.
Exact route for Europe using Google maps in the pedestrian mode:
Istanbul to Craiova,Romania is 700km. To Vienna 832km to Brno 128km To Siegburg,Germany 786km to Breda, Holland 212km to Calais 242km.
UK route. Dover to Holyhead via Ealing in London which is 535km.


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Last week in Asia, well almost.

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Last four days: 55,46,40 and today May 28th 50km.
Today was my 43rd day straight without a rest day and am sure without checking it is a record longest stretch of days of the run. Just about 10km short of 2,000km in this period have been run. I can guarantee you I will never run a fifty day stretch ever again in my life, why should I!
Total now is 44,503km for 1,012 road days. I expect to arrive in Istanbul next Wednesday or Thursday, 4th or 5th June. As you can imagine iI am running shattered at the moment.

I starred running Asia almost a year to the day, 1st June 2013 more than 14,000km ago back in Timor Leste/ East Timor. Nine countries in all and by far the most difficult continent, physical, mentally and logistically with all the visa hassles as you are all aware.

Istanbul is almost 400km away from where I am tonight. Thank Allah for that I say!
Ah yes the end of Asia in sight! The permission for running over the Bosporus bridge is still not forthcoming. It is possible I may arrive at the bridge which is about 15km before Turkey’s largest city before I get my permit. I may have to stop at that point for my couple of much needed rest days before I return to continue for the remainder of Turkey, about 280km to Bulgaria and the European Union :) From there every step to the finish in Merrion Square North will be on EU territory!
I don’t understand why there is so much bureaucracy getting this permit. I know there is a security issue but I have asked to run on the footpath. The bridge is heavily guarded. If necessary I will walk across with one of the guards.
I cannot thank the Irish embassy in Ankara enough for their huge efforts in this regard, in particular Erok. Please see below. I told him he will surely get a mention in the book!

Dear Mr Mangan,

Lots of bureaucracy and procedures are going nearly for a month for this. After lots of departments our letter is at Highways General Directorate of Ministry of Internal in Istanbul. If the permission is given from there, they will write to Security Department Directorate General and they will write to Bosphorous Bridge Security Department. At the same time the same chain will be followed backwards and Protocol Department of Ministry of Foreign affairs will write the official letter of permission to the Embassy. Not to wait all these procedures I will be in touch with Highways DG where the letter is at the moment and will find out if the permission is given and I will let you know before the official letter comes to us. I hope I will get that reply before the weekend.

Kind regards,

Erok Yuksel


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My Proposed Ireland Route

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Friday and Saturday. 46km. Total run is 43,997km for 1,001 road days.

So I just need 3km in the morning for 44,000 :)

Tonight am in Suseheri and thanks to Haji for filling me up with tea in the Total Excellium petrol station where I will sleep.
This is my proposed around Ireland route:

On September 13th after my arrival at the ferry port and also after a big fry up :) I will begin my Ireland  run.

From ferry port to Fitzwilliam place start of Marathon location will be. This will be my official start of run around Ireland
Route from Fitzwilliam Pl to Larne via Belfast to Derry to Malin  Head to Sligo to Galway to Sixmilebridge to Tralee to Mizzen Head to Cork to Waterford to Kilkenny to New Ross to Wexford to Arklow  to Sally Gap to Fitzwilliam place and in place for the DCM start the following day :)
This route and  all places in between :)
Distance 1,565km and almost perfect for my 50,000km finish


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Just One More Big Country To Be Run!

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

May 11 and I am annoyed with myself for stopping at only 40km yesterday just  because I found a decent truck stop. I should have known there was another one ten km further down the road. So I run nice and steady through some picturesque valleys with some small climbs and a mountain pass called Tepebasi Gecidi altitude 2,057 metres. I checked the sign with my smartphone altimeter app which read 2,044 metres, just 13 metres out, I wonder which is correct. Also temperature 12 degrees C. Humidity 66%.

The grass is very green here, obviously from all the rain. I wonder about not seeing many motorcycles and later a man tells me motorcycling is not too popular because of the climate, rain and snow in the winter. Still I am surprised as petrol is almost two euro a litre which is eight times the cost in oil rich Iran. I guess that is one reason Turkey is far more expensive, along with high inflation.
I had many long stops that day but was determined to post a decent distance- so with some nice steady running and lots of time I churned out 54 kilometers
This took me to a village called Caykoy.

I headed for the mosque which was locked.

Some men were sitting in the garden drinking tea. Nobody knew who the key holder was and after a bit of discussion I was invited back to a sort of community house owned by Adam and his brother Bilal.

In all there were seven lads there and I was delighted when they gave me a plate of pasta and mince meat, not to mention about five teas!
Though they were all in their twenties or thirties and farmers, strangely only one was married.
They all left after we had a chat lasting about an hour. One of the  men called Bunok  spoke decent English which is rare in village Turkey. Bunok  wants to study business in some big university in Istanbul. So I had the house to myself that night and had to promise I wouldn’t leave early before breakfast next morning. Not much chance of that I thought as getting up early and spending too long over breakfast are both big problems for me!
I continue my run west through Turkey with my eyes focused on Istanbul. Oh how great it will be to get there when I can at last ease up. This is my last big effort of the run as I feel I am nicely positioned. Technically behind but so too is a sub four minute miler going into the bell lap. And I am running the world in negative splits :)

Before Erzurum I start to see trucks.from Europe, Holland,Hungary and Greece. Surely they are destined for a location near the Iranian border. Are they going to be dropped there and then  a Turkish or Iranian  truck can hook the trailer up and finish the run. Or are they going to one of the so called ‘ Stan ‘ countries.  Are the sanctions against Iran a farce I wondered again. I did not see much depression or hardship in Iran, the contrary Iran could have been a central European country, a country with electric lights in the desert parking rest areas, light years away, sic! from India and even Turkey. In my mind Iran is a first world country.

I took the bypass avoiding running through the big city Erzurum and continued running along these beautiful mountain roads.
Now I am out of the far east I am seeing a different Turkey, a beautiful country with beautiful mountains and rivers. Only shame is they don’t do picnic areas.
On I ran for another three days, loving what I saw, sometimes I was reminded of Colorado, this surely is the prettiest I have seen since I ran through my former home state in the Rockies three years ago.
I enjoyed it so much and got into a wonderful thoughtful zone that it blocked out my tiredness.
and followed up by running another beautiful 49 and a 47. I continue sleeping in mosques and restaurants. Sometimes there is nobody in the mosque and for privacy just go upstairs to the women’s pray area. I never see women. Just men. Like everything else even prayer is male dominated, the women presumably stay at home to pray. Occasionally there is a service at about 4 or 5 am. I am woken up to the wailing sound of Shane McGowan looking for his dentures. I just snuggle up in my sleeping bag.

One day I stopped at a petrol station and the attendant asked me many questions on his laptop Google translate page. So I just opened up this site and clicked on the sites Turkish translate. So he read the last posting, laughing at my description of the Turkish government being a democracy with military rules, just like Myanmar/Burma. I asked him if it was true, Yes he nodded.
I see Turkish Gendarmerie on the road, they drive what look to me like armoured cars. Am not sure if they are military police. I will find out.

It seems shorter to run through Erzincan than take the bypass. The city has a population of 90,000, so I will run through in the morning.
One of these thoughtful zones I got into I wondered about the end of the run, Yes its starring to sink in, soon my baby will be gone, my dream but just a happy memory.
I am running through my last big country of the run, Turkey about 2,000 kilometres long.
We don’t have any big countries in Europe well except for Finland,Sweden and Norway. They must each be just as long from north to south as Turkey is. The three of them together about the same size as Chile.
Yes I want to run another big country…. But where.
I decided I want to run a full lap of Ireland about 1,500 or 1,600 km in six weeks starting from the ferry port in Dublin on September 13th. I plan to run north to Belfast, Larne,  Malin Head Galway, Mizzen Head, Cork, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford, Sally Gap and many places in between. I ran about 365 kilometres in Ireland at the start of this run so this will put Ireland up with the big boys, where we belong, so proud to be Irish the more I travel.
Details are being worked out.

I know one runner has run a lap of Ireland. His name Alan Corcoran from the great running county of Waterford. I hope Alan and other runners around Ireland can come out and push this old plow horse on towards Dublin, the marathon and October 27th my date with the end of the world.

This means I plan to run from Dover to Holyhead a distance of 530 kilometers in the south of England and Wales. I unfortunately will not be running in the north of England or Scotland, sorry :)


Can’t wait! Four  months and I am back running on Irish soil
Today May 14 I ran 51km total 43,853km for 998 road days.
See you soon in my new millennium. Actually two millennium’s in about three days :)


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Into The East Of Turkey.

Saturday, May 10th, 2014


Hi everyone! I keep forgetting to thank you all for the 100,000 plus hits on this website. Thank you so much, I value each and everyone of them :)

Also i am sorry for the lack of pictures on the blog. I now do the blog on my smartphone and it seems my phone is not compatible with picture posting. I hope to upload a lot of photos when i ge my laptop in Istanbul, sorry :(

I crossed from Iran to Turkey my 28th country of the run without too much difficulty. Now I am really on the way to Europe!
The difference was immediately evident as Iran being a strict Shi’ite Muslim country whereas Turkey is a more liberal Sunni Muslim country. Many Shi’ites don’t consider Sunnis to be real Muslims. On the Turkish side many of the  female security guards were not wearing any head scarfs. It was so nice to see long flowing hair, beautiful unrestricted femininity. This was beside a very well stocked duty free shop, this alcohol is only going in one direction!
I tried changing some dollars at the quoted rate of two Turkish lira to the US dollar but a man looking on told me the correct rate is three. His information was incorrect but I didn’t know at the time so left it. Normally I check this out but on this occasion it slipped my mind. Eventually I just changed 50 with an Azerbaijani truck driver, enough till I get sorted. I couldn’t get over the amount of trucks on both sides, mostly Turkish but also Azerbaijani, Georgian, Turkmenistan. Surely Turkey is doing business with the EU and America. I wondered if Turkey’s main trading market is with Iran and if so the international sanctions against Iran would be an economic disaster also for Turkey. Imagine Ireland being told not to trade with the US or he UK -  how would we feel? Perhaps this is the situation Turkey is in. But surely the sanctions against Iran are a bit of a farce if Turkey and other countries can trade with the west and then roll all this merchandise across the border to Iran?
Also Turkey is very much dependent on Iranian gas. When sanctions are imposed on a country they are only successful about 60% of the time.

That day I managed 15 of the 35km from the border to Dogubayazit, first main Turkish city for a soft 40km day.

I could see Mt. Ararat on my right. The mountain, which is the major mountain in this part of the world was clouded towards the summit. There was definitely a chillier climate on this side of the border. Not much shelter or signs of a place to stay however it was a starry night so it was not going to rain, so safe to sleep out. There was not much forestry, not even  a tree I just bedded down behind some big boulders just off the road.
In the morning just as I was packing up my gear a shepherd caught me. He was just a young boy. It was funny as the cows came from all directions, between the boulders and surrounded me. I need to make earlier starts, this is a big problem I have as I am so tired in the mornings. I have decided I will not wind my watch back the hour and a half difference from Iranian time. Hopefully this works!
A big problem for running in Turkey… the dogs :(
Turkey, mostly the east is infamous for wild dogs. That first full day I had a couple of confrontations. As readers know I am armed with my Dazer zapper! But it doesn’t work on all dogs. As the road is pretty good, four lane divided!  I find the best strategy is to just cross over  when there is a serious threat or when I am running towards a cluster of houses. As the shoulder is also a decent two or three metres it is safe to run with traffic to my back. Many vehicles stopped always asking me of I wanted a lift. I always thank them and sometimes ask for water. When I am stuck for water I always run with my back to the traffic as vehicles are more likely to stop. I guess if they are driving towards me they are out of sight when they think about stopping. Whereas if they are coming from behind all they have to do is stop and wait for me and sometimes reverse back a bit. A few times on the run when stuck for water I have done this. Also on a few occasions I have run out of food which is usually due to shops being closed. If you hussle for water with luck some fruit or bread will be offered.

I made my way into Dogubayazit, or dog biscuit as one blogger called it! On my left was a commando training camp. I counted 42 commandos out on a drill. There was much military movement on the road also. Turkey has been described to me as a democracy with military rules, funny so too was Myanmar, I guess we will soon find out.
On my way into the city I couldn’t get over the amount of people welcoming me. I talked to a young couple for a while. She was 23 he 22. They are very much in love, for they told me so as they walked hand in hand. This would not happen in Iran with an unmarried couple. Many women resist even a handshake from a stranger.
I tried go get a data sim but was quoted almost $50 for sim and 2gb data. A bit expensive but figure I will have to get it. However I didn’t as the bank was closed and I want to change my $ cash instead of using an atm .
I had a decent afternoon running almost 30km for a half century that day. For the night. I stopped at a petrol station under construction. I thought it was a restaurant. Two workers were finished working for the day. They sleep in an office and were preparing their dinner so gave me some tea and three omelet sandwiches! I showed them some newspaper clippings to get them interested. I carry the clippings for this reason and soon we were friends. I asked if I could sleep under a foyer and of course it was no problem.

I had a tough morning in the mountains on the way to a summit called Ipok Gocidi, though only 2,025m in altitude it was slow leg sapping stuff for the hills were undulating.
On one of these climbs I was in a bit of a day dream, suddenly I heard a whistle and got the fright of my life when two large dogs were running towards me. They were about five metres behind when they started barking. Silent dogs are a real danger, I have noticed many silent dogs are German Shepard’s. Thankfully dogs are not as smart as cats.
After about 15km I stopped at a petrol station at the cross roads for Diyadin for a tea. To stock up I bought two packets of biscuits and a bar of chocolate. He didn’t charge me for the cold tea but I thought $5 was outrageous. I put it down to Turkey being an expensive country. A Magnum ice cream and a cola are almost the same cost as in Ireland, and in Iran they were about a quarter the price.
Anyway I went to the WC as the toilet is called here ( also in Iran) and later I was to discover 50 Turkish lira which is about $25 missing from my bag. I have no doubt the man working there took it. I am sure he overcharged me too for good measure.
There are some big gaps between places to snack so I usually stop when I come across one which was another five km. This time the nice owner didn’t charge me for the two large cups of tea I had.
Well I didn’t get far when a group of farm workers flagged me down for more chai!
One of them spoke some English so I learnt the words for running around the world. Regular readers know I usually just learn the phonetic and don’t worry about the spelling, I even mispronounce the words to make it easier, that is if they can understand!
Hey Bob Dylan got away with murder mispronouncing his words to make his lyrics work!
People always make allowances for foreigners and are always proud when we make an effort to speak their language.
So this is what I learnt. Running around the world is ” Gassy Your Room Dun Yar ”
And thank you is “Tassie Coors”
So I shout this out and between Tassie and Coors I whisper
‘ drinks ‘
So I was shouting this out for a while and also ‘ I’m GASSING YOUR ROOM DUNYAR ‘ I’m running around the world!
And people always understand.
A man in Texas sent me an email a couple of years ago saying he was worried about me and how I would communicate when I get to the ‘ funny countries ‘ as he put it!
Well I have been to a lot of funny countries and a few more to come! :)
I managed to change a hundred dollars with a nice man having dinner with his family in a restaurant in Taslicay. After a nice meal I ran another 13km and finished with 48 for the day at a petrol station with a restaurant. There is a prayer room or ‘ Mescid ‘ attached and the nice people in the restaurant said I could sleep there that night. They filled my tank with lots of tea and didn’t charge!

Next morning I awoke very late. I had a much needed good sleep as I haven’t been sleeping well lately. There was nobody in the restaurant so I just went in and helped myself to some tea from the burco and a plate of stale bread. I planned to leave a few lira on the table. Just as I was finishing the nice owner returned and made a fresh pot of tea and gave me a cake. He also refused payment.
I enjoyed the 18km run into Agri city and stopped to avail of another tea invitation from a tea shop owner who flagged me down just as I was making my way down the main street.
I managed to get a Turkish sim with data, messaging and calls fairly easy and for once didn’t have to give a photo or passport copy, it was pretty simple here. About 30 euro for 30 days.
Then I spent an hour in a bank just trying to change dollars.
The residents of Agri were pretty friendly, so many greetings and tea invitations. I think the Turks and Iranians are worse than the Irish!
A man grabbed me by my arm and seemed to be trying to get me to go over to a school as a lot of students were cheering. I think he was harmless and didn’t waste his time speaking Turkish to a foreigner! Perhaps he wanted me to give a lecture to the students. I declined. Not now please!
Instead I had a delicious kebab sandwich and regretted not getting one for the road for I had a hungry evening.
The road out of Agri was not great as a lot of roadworks were going on and I had a gravel shoulder to run on. Still I had a nice run of almost 30 km for a total of 47. Towards the end it rained lightly but annoyingly persistent. I came to a petrol station just before a junction to Uzunyazi village. There was a restaurant attached which was unfortunately closed. A man who seems to be a security guard surprisingly said I could sleep inside on the floor.
I thanked him for making me some tea, though about the kebab sandwich I didn’t get for the road.
Just after writing this the security guard called Kanan brings me over some tea. There has been a loaf of bread on the table. I break down and ask him for it, instead he brings me a fresh loaf and cheese :)
I have been running in mountains now for over two weeks. Not too difficult, usually between 1,500 and 2,000 metres. I haven’t had much rain either but here in Turkey I am getting a lot of showers and not too much shelter on the road as the distance between towns is greater. Many villages are off the road which is also a hassle when looking for food.
Turkey is surprising much more expensive than Iran and I am sorry to say in restaurants ( other than the nice ones mentioned here) and some shops they have ripped me off. It happens  too often for my liking. I now ask how much before ordering food.

One day after running 52km I finished at the junction to a small town called Koprukoy. I decided to sleep at the mosque. A police car did a u turn when he saw me taking my shoes off on the steps. He came over and addressed me in Turkish and was a bit taken aback when I said I don’t speak Turkish and was going into the mosque. I think he was a bit confused wondering if I was a Muslim!
Inside there was a service and six men were there. I nodded a greeting, one of the men shook my hand and later when they  were going said I could sleep there. A few minutes later the cop came in and asked to see my passport. Meanwhile an old man got me three cushions to sleep on.
Next morning I decided to have breakfast in the park so I picked some food and juice up in a supermarket. About ten children followed me into the park and tormented me by shouting and throwing stones at me while I sat and ate.
No I am not in love with Turkey.

Far too many children begging. I except things will get better in the west of the country.
I met a Swedish cyclist called Chris and had a long chat with him. He is on his way to Singapore and going to work when he gets there. He said he only got one and a half days rain in Europe and it has rained every day here. He is married and his wife is going to join him when he gets to Singapore… Way to go!
I gave him my Iran sim and he gave me a pepper spray!
A bit further on I stopped at a tarp shack where a poor man was selling onions by the side of the road. I have been carrying a spare pair of ON running shoes as I hadn’t managed to find an address to post them on to. So I was now time for me to change from pair number 43 to pair 44 of the run. I don’t like just discarding the shoes I always try to give them to someone. So I gave the old ones to this man, he was delighted, so I asked him to stick the kettle on for a cup of tea!
This pair will get me to Istanbul 1,300 kilometres away.
Thanks to Oliver from ON running who has sent another three pairs to Istanbul. :)
I love these shoes, comfortable, hard wearing and easy to break in. 40km today. A poor day as I need to be hitting close to 50km  every day for I have asked for permission to run across the non pedestrian Bosporus bridge in Istanbul. Siobhan and Ken in the Irish embassy in Ankara are working on this with the local authorities. First question. What day you want to run across the bridge that separates Europe from Asia. June 7th I have committed to.
Thanks to everyone at the embassy, see you in less than three weeks!

May 10th  and 43,652 kilometers have been run for 994 road days..

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Cops And A Robber

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

A couple of big day at the end of March and I was feeling strong running through the arid Iranian Dasht-e Kavir desert bypassed Yazd a big city.
I put an electrolyte into my waterbottle pink in colour and a man gave me a telling off thinking I was drinking meths spirits!
A bit further on I was a bit surprised to meet two female Iranian cyclists Sheeba and Solma who had all the gear.
They spoke decent English telling me they were cycling to Tehran a few hundred kilometres away. An hour later I caught up with them stopped at the side of the road trying to flag down a vehicle to take them to Naim about 130km away. They said they were concerned about camping out, didn’t know where the nearest mosque was an d were going to stay a a friends house in Naim! Guess they won’t be cycling around the world!
Later I wondered were they undercover government agents checking me out!
A bit later three idiots on a motorcycle followed me for a bit and wouldn’t go away. I threw a rock at the bikes spokes making good contact, best tactic is to act like I am a nutter and shout like one too, it always seems to work. This time I also pulled out my Dazer dog zapper for good measure as they think its a weapon!
I ran a few more km and when it got dark was careful about my location to sleep in the desert that night. I went about 400mts off the road and sat there looking out for about 20 minutes before bedding down. I usually sleep with my Spot tracker on my arm when rough camping also my shoes on when not 100% confident I won’t be disturbed. As mentioned before my passport is in a zip lock bag in a stitched inside pocket in my running top which I sleep in. Also my smart phone and camera in my front pocket while I sleep. I can usually find a comfortable sleeping position. All this is in case I have to make an unexpected run for it, so to speak. This way I have all my essentials.
Next day a great tailwind and I ran with my back to traffic for a change as there was a nice wider than normal shoulder on that side and besides on the other side so strong was the tail wind I would have to be careful not to be blown under a truck, would obviously rather pick myself out of a ditch!
Slept again in a mosque which had small rooms around the courtyard, Just a carpet in the floor and I was happy. The nice people never bothered me.
Other nights I sleep in a kind of a prayer room they often have at the side of petrol stations. The road side signs usually indicate this. It is never a problem sleeping in these places. I just take my shoes off wrapping them in a plastic bag and change my socks!
Often the people talk to me. Sometimes they eat there. There is always a curtain down the center of the room as women pray separately to the men.
Sometimes men sleep in the women’s section as its quieter but never women in the men’s section!
One night a man answered his mobile in the middle of his prayers, then he proceeded to have a ten minute argument as he knelt!
There is usually washing facilities so I can have a body wash and wash clothes.
Next day I ran through some light rain and a man with two ho daughters stopped to give me fruit, tea and water. People are always stopping. That day I stopped early at 36km as there was nothing for a long long way.
It was a place called The Parma Rest Stop which had a great restaurant and a place to sleep in a quiet corner. Well dressed middle class people were the clientele so this runner felt a bit out of sorts but never bothered the people, usually couples for we had a couple of good chats as many spoke pigeon English.
Most of the time the waiter pestered me asking why I had never been to Romania and if I had any Romanian money. He told me he was born there and is a Romany native. Even when I was bedded down he continued to come over and pester me, so much so I though I was back in India! Then I remembered many of my former Romanian workmates in the construction sector back in Ireland told me that the Romany gipsies are descended from India. I know a bit of a stretch of the imagination here but still an interesting thought.
Next day I felt strong for all of my 63 kilometers. Truck drivers, people on family outings or just men on their own looking for a bit of company stop and offer me tea and snacks almost every day. Such kind hearted people.

Then on April 5th a much sought after milestone for I run my 1,000th marathon 42,195km in 962.8 road days. This was run at the junction to the village of Moreh.
I continued my good progress through the 27th country of the run with a 54k next day. The police have been stopping me more times than I was comfortable with. They certainty haven’t figured out like the Latinos have that if tourism is important you don’t hassle the tourists. Iran has a lot to be paranoid about as the CIA allegedly flooded the Iranian market with fake rials in an effort to screw up their economy. As much as conspiracy theorists would love this economics reckon the real damage to the economy was done by the Iranian governments decision to limit deposit interest. This resulted in many people withdrawing huge sums of money and investing in gold.
Another concern to the Iranians was the assignation of some of the countries top nuclear scientists. It is alleged Israel was behind this.

Perhaps for these reasons Americans are not allowed to travel solo in Iran, only on a tour. I have just been informed that UK citizens have recently been  banned from travelling alone. Also women but that is obviously for a.different reason.
I stand up to these cops and next thing they are telling me I have to go to a base for questioning as get this I could be a terrorist I was told. The base was about ten km inland and off my route. Let’s just say I refused. So a seargent comes out. I am not budging I tell him.
Next thing I know some bored heavies come out armed to the teeth. They manhandled me into the back of a pickup. I am handcuffed to a grill fender below the rear window. The speed off towards the base and I am swaying backwards and forwards thinking if they crash all that will be left will be my arms in handcuffs!
At the base all my photos in my camera were deleted by one of the bastards.
Full details reserved for my book. Then I was driven back to the place they picked me up from, at a sign saying 35km to Kashan. I still managed 54 kilometers that day but it was a late night finish. I am more or less at the end of the desert now, some  250km southeast of Tehran. Some houses have two door knockers, one for women so as the occupants should know who should answer.
Then on the way out of Kashan I stopped at a kiosk for a breakfast of tea and cakes. Two cops came over to buy something and asked to see my passport. I showed them it making it very clear I was not pleased. I refused their friendship attempt when  I was handed back my document.
Later when telling my experiences to Iranians I was to discover just how much the police are despised in this country.
They do a lot of speed checking and are at checkpoints at the entry and exit to many cities and  large towns. I just run hard with my head down, ignoring them, I never make eye contact after all they don’t expect me to speak Farsi!
About 35km to the holy city of Qom I stop for a rest break at a truck stop. There was one shady worker there who was giving g me too close attention. I went to wash and when I returned discovered my such glasses were missing. Stupidly I left them on a seat beside my pack. I remembered putting a full bottle of water on them to hold them down for it was a windy day. When I returned the sunglasses were gone and the man suggested they blew away. Oh yes and my empty water bottles didn’t blow away.
Later that night I turned on my mobile phone and discovered my SD card with pictures was also missing for I had left it in the office to charge.
On the way into Qom a journalist stopped me for an interview. Not sure how he planned to conduct it as he had to ask his wife the English word for journalist was. Perhaps she was going to do it.
I refused telling him I don’t do interviews in countries with censored. In Myanmar a cop who escorted me told me later he gave one on my behalf!
In Qom I slept behind a mosque at the edge of a graveyard.
An elderly motorcyclist had pitched his tent there. At first he was surprised to see me and then came over to give me an apple. Later some friends of his came by for a visit. One of them came over to me and asked if I needed any food as he was going out for a takeaway! I told him I was OK!


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Updated Text – What motivates me!

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Here is a hastily written post to answer a question i often am asked. This time John Clarke asks what motivates me.

Thanks John for your support. . As I mentioned in early interviews this world run was a monster idea I got over 25 years ago.  I needed to be put to bed. I guess at this stage I am getting nicely tucked in and the lights will go out soon. Next month l will run into Bulgaria, yes the European Union :)

This is a long overdue blog on the subject. Without blowing my own trumpet this run is just so,so hard and excruciating difficult for me. I have more or less glossed over this in the blog. Fatigue will be a theme in my book.

Nobody easily comprehend just how tough this is. It may not be sexy to say this but that’s the truth. There have been days when I have been about ready to collapse nose onto the shoulder of the road. It is like running a 100km race and hitting the wall with 30km to go. Then struggle to a finish and are told the finish line is another 30 or 40 km. That is the daily finish line being a place to stay. So in a few short hours I have to find shelter, food, sometimes entertain a hist for two or three hours. Also find time to do the logistics and the blog. And just because I manage to find tje time for the blog it may not be done as I am just too tired. Imagine what that was like in India with all he harassment and pestering, believe me the worst of India has still to be told.

I was told in a very insulting email that I am a grade C endurance runner and at the end of the day like a dog running from the rain. Not really sure what motivates people to send such emails, this one was sent cc’d to many other people in a form of an open letter. It was very insulting at the time but now I feel he was right. I have used this also to push myself on and on. Sometimes I feel I am back on the treadmill for my progress is so slow, then I occasionally look at the world map and usually smile at the previous months  progress.

I am very very slow now. Irish people will be shocked to see how slow but I am still running.

A difference of even one kilometre an hour is huge to me with all the hours I spend on the road. So you can imagine stopping for brief chats, short  rest breaks in addition to the long breaks I need. Also photos etc can add an hour or two onto my day.

To be honest I have lost more sleep worrying about running the Dublin Marathon in 5hours than I did about meeting a Taliban mob! I know I have not properly answered your question. Perhaps I am a bit dumb or as 3 Indians called me in a space of two days Insane! I set intermediate goals across USA, North America to Panama across the Andes to Ushuaia across Australia getting to Alice Springs for my birthday. Before Australia another man sent me semi abusive emails about how I would surely die in the Australian outback, So it was nice to set two trans Australian records giving him the finger, so to speak.

Then South East Asia always thinking of the 1,000 Marathon in less than 1,000 days.

Now to Istanbul then to a special place Brno, Czech Republic where I set the world record for 48 hours in an indoor track race in 2007.

Then it will be the end of  mainland Europe in Calais,.France. To Scotland for ferry to Northetn Ireland which is only 5 months away. And finally the DCM!

One thing is for sure with something like this you have to make it the most important thing in your life. Also break it up into smaller manageable segments as outlined above. I did the same with my 48  hour treadmill record attempts. 90 half hour segments and a full three hour eye popping all out effort towards the finish.

My competitive instinct have long since taken over. My body is submissive to my mind which is my engine. I use many mind games mastered during my competitive career and often chant my favourite mantra from that time ” Embrace pain, Embrace pain. ” On a humorous note I got a tattoo at the start of run with my start date and ready to be filled in hopefully at finish line will be the finish date. If I abandon the run I will forever have to answer the questions of why I didn’t finish when I go to a gym or with a future girlfriend, God love her Hoping this answers your question. And why am I doing it My latest answer is because I am a runner and the world is there – I guess mountain climbers say Everest is there!

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Iran Article On Its Nuclear Program

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Courtesy of The New York Times.


Iran Is Providing Information on Its Detonators, Atomic Agency Says
May 23, 2014
WASHINGTON — For six years, international nuclear inspectors have been demanding that Iran turn over evidence of experiments that they suspect could have been part of a secret effort to solve the complex science of detonating a nuclear weapon.

On Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the monitoring arm of the United Nations, said that it was finally beginning to see the information it had long sought — but that Iran insisted that the detonators were for non-nuclear purposes.

The disclosure was buried in a report by the atomic agency that detailed major progress Iran had made in diluting most of its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, nuclear fuel that the West has long feared could be converted relatively quickly into weapons-grade material. Getting Iran to dilute that uranium was perhaps the biggest single accomplishment of the interim deal struck last year, creating room for the current negotiations, which hit their first major roadblock last week.

While there were no details in the report about what data Iran had supplied on what are called “exploding bridge wire detonators,” the disclosure that a substantive discussion had begun with the agency suggested a significant change in tactics in Tehran. For years Iranian officials have refused to answer questions about what the agency blandly calls “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s program. The Iranians have claimed the queries are based on what they call Western fabrications of evidence and lies propagated by the C.I.A.

But inside American and European intelligence agencies, the detonator issue is just one of many questions about a suspected secret weapons-design program buried inside university laboratories and institutes. The suspicions were heightened nearly a decade ago, when evidence emerged from a laptop computer smuggled out of the country by an Iranian scientist recruited by Western intelligence agencies. The data he provided included diagrams, videos and other results that appeared to strongly suggest interest in weapons design.

While much of the work ended in 2003, there are disagreements in the intelligence agencies of different countries about whether, and how intensely, it was resumed. The negotiations over the evidence of weapons work have been taking place on a separate track from the talks between Iran and the major powers about its nuclear enrichment program. While the atomic agency inspectors are permitted to visit fuel production areas daily, the Iranians continue to block access to the scientist that the United States, Israel and others say ran many of the main weapons-research operations, Mohsen Fakrizadeh.

Some other Iranian researchers believed involved in the program have been assassinated in recent years, in operations that have been attributed to Israel. Israeli officials have never confirmed or denied responsibility.

The atomic agency’s report was issued at a moment when negotiators have reached a roadblock with Iran over how much it is willing to dismantle its nuclear fuel-making infrastructure. American officials want Iran to reduce the number of centrifuges — the machines that purify uranium — to around 4,000 from the current 19,000. The Iranians want to expand the number, over time, to roughly 50,000, saying they need such capacity to produce fuel for civilian reactors yet to be built.

In the meantime, though, Iran is complying with all the elements of its interim agreement. The report of the atomic agency, issued from its Vienna headquarters to member states, showed that Iran had “halted nuclear activities in the areas of greatest proliferation concern and rolled back its program in other key areas,” said an analysis from the Arms Control Association, an advocacy group in Washington.

The detonators that Iran began discussing with the atomic agency were invented during the Manhattan Project, the American-led effort to build the first atomic bomb during World War II. The detonators are similar to blasting caps: an electric current fires them off. But they use a much higher voltage and the timing of the explosion can be far more precise, allowing a number to fire more or less simultaneously.

While they are used in nuclear devices, they are also essential in mining and rocketry, as well as explosive welding and metal forming. The atomic agency said that at a May 20 meeting Iran had provided “additional information and explanations,” including documents, to substantiate its claim that it had tested the detonators for “a civilian application.”

The detonators are one of seven different technologies the atomic agency said, in a 2011 report, that Iran was believed to have investigated.

The report said the agency was assessing Iran’s information. “It is important,” the report added, “that Iran continues to engage with the agency to resolve all outstanding issues” related to the nuclear program.

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Iran article on social freedom

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Hi folks

While waiting for the rain to clear I checked out my favourite newspaper.

I will occasionally post articles like this to fill in the gaps I or the people I talk to are unaware of or have no knowledge of. I like to bring you as complete s story of what life is like in the countries I run through but at the end of the day I am a runner, not a journalist!




‘Happy in Tehran’ Video Spurs Harsher Censorship
May 23, 2014


The judicial authorities in Iran appeared to harden their clampdown on expression Friday, moving to block Instagram, imprisoning the director who made the now-famous Iranian version of the Pharrell Williams “Happy” video and warning women to comply with a police campaign on the proper wearing of mandatory headscarves.

Taken together, the developments suggested that the country’s Islamic bureaucracy was alarmed over any perception of permissiveness that may have been partly inspired by the YouTube video in which six young Iranians, including bareheaded women, created a rendition of Mr. Williams’ globally popular dance hit. Their version was viewed hundreds of thousands of times after it was posted last month.

All six were arrested last weekend, forced to apologize on national television and freed on bail for unspecified crimes after three days, treatment that incited an international outpouring of sympathy, including from Mr. Williams. One of the women, Reihane Taravati, used her Instagram account to publicize their entanglement and release, which may have been seen by the judiciary and police as another impudent act.

“Hi I’m back,” Ms. Taravati wrote, thanking Mr. Williams and “everyone who cared about us.”

The semiofficial Mehr News Agency reported on Friday that an Iranian court had ordered Instagram blocked over privacy issues, and that Iran’s Ministry of Telecommunications was taking steps to ban the site, although it appeared that by late Friday, Instagram use had not been stopped. Instagram, which has its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., declined to comment.

Other forms of social media are already heavily regulated or restricted in Iran, including Facebook and Twitter, although some top Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have Twitter accounts. The ayatollah even has an account on Instagram, which he joined a few years ago.

Mr. Rouhani, who has publicly called for Iran to embrace Internet freedoms, was widely perceived to favor leniency toward the “Happy in Tehran” dancers, having shared a message on Twitter on the right of Iranians to happiness, which he had first posted after his 2013 election victory. Yet Mr. Rouhani’s apparent unwillingness, or inability, to take a more assertive position reflected what rights advocates called part of a broader cultural struggle in Iran and the entrenched power of conservative ideologues. Many of them see social media as a path to Western decadence and moral decay.

“Every day the hard-liners are coming up with new ways to go after social networking sites,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based advocacy group.

Rights activists who have been in contact with the families of the six dancers reported on Friday that the video’s director, Sassan Soleimani, had been moved from police detention to a prison outside Tehran and placed in solitary confinement, a strong indication that he would be prosecuted.

They also reported that five of the families were under pressure by prosecutors to file a lawsuit against Mr. Soleimani and Ms. Taravati, apparently to portray them as ringleaders who had deceived the others into making the video.

In another sign of harsher censorship, the Mehr News Agency quoted the deputy commander of the Iranian National Police, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Radan, as saying there would be no suspension of an enforcement policy aimed at ensuring women correctly follow the Islamic dress code, with their hair covered by a hijab, or headscarf.

“The moral security scheme will be implemented as before, and no one can suspend it with an order or instruction,” General Radan was quoted as saying. “The scheme will continue to be implemented so long as this condition has not reached the state that we expect.”

Reverberations over the video came as the United States Treasury, which enforces the American government’s financial sanctions against Iran, announced that it had added a top Iranian security official to its blacklist for “censorship and other activities that limit the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly of Iran’s citizens.”

A Treasury announcement said the official, Morteza Tamaddon, now the head of the Tehran Provincial Public Security Council, was the former governor general of Tehran Province, who was responsible for repressions of the political protests that followed the disputed 2009 presidential election, including the cutoff of mobile telephone communications. Sanctioned individuals cannot have any dealings with Americans, and any assets they may have under United States jurisdiction are frozen.

Mr. Tamaddon is the third Iranian official to be sanctioned by the Treasury for censorship and other violations of free expression in the past few years. In February of last year, the Treasury blacklisted Ezzatollah Zarghami, the director of Iran’s state broadcast service, and in November 2012 it blacklisted Reza Taghipour, the minister of communications and information technology.

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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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