A quick beer lifted ultra-runner to success

 

An Irish ultra runner has revealed a bottle of beer helped him become the only man on the planet to run seven marathons on seven continents in less than five days.

Richard Donovan broke his own record by completing his final run in Sydney to make a total time of four days, 22 hours and three minutes.

The 45-year-old admitted sleep deprivation, running, and travelling through different time zones and temperatures took its toll on his body.

"I was absolutely wrecked. I wasn't even able to keep down water," he said.

"We came to desperate measures in Sydney and I chanced a beer.

"I had one bottle of Heineken during the race for some carbs and one at the end of it.

"It was the first time something stayed down in days."

Mr Donovan, a father-of-one, began his epic quest in the extremes of Antarctica last Wednesday, running the first 26-mile leg in -20C at the Russian Novo science base.

He has since ran 183 miles and flown 27,055 miles.

His round-the-world marathon took him from Antarctica to Cape Town, South Africa, to Sao Paulo, Brazil; Orlando, USA; London, UK; Hong Kong and finally Sydney.

His last record stood at five days, 10 hours and eight minutes.

Mr Donovan completed the endurance challenge on a shoestring budget out of his own pocket to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa.

Money raised through online donations at http://www.worldmarathonchallenge.com will go to Irish aid agency Goal.

Travelling alone and flying economy class, he said the hardest part was concentrating in airports and catching flights while fatigued.

But the Galway man, who is an experienced marathon runner at both Poles, commended race organisers and supporters in each city, which included the Brazilian air force, athletics chiefs and former Olympic Games officials.

"I have a lot of training behind me as an ultra marathon runner so I have a certain amount of experience of moving while dead on my feet and that helped the mental and physical and emotional management," he added.

"I never contemplated I was not going to finish."

Mr Donovan, who was inspired to attempt the challenge in 2009 after the failed bid by British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, revealed he has no desire to set himself another record.

"I plan to lie down on a beach tomorrow and the day after and leave here on Thursday so I'll be back in Ireland on Friday," he said, speaking from his bed in Sydney.

PA

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