After some 16,000 miles, 16 pairs of running shoes, plus encounters with deserts, blizzards, mountain ranges and angry bears, a British barman is poised to break the record for the fastest ‘run around the world.’
If all goes well, Kevin Carr’s running circumnavigation will end tomorrow afternoon at Haytor on Dartmoor, from where he set off on July 28 2013.
He will have run 26,232km (16,300 miles) in 621 days, knocking about 24 hours off the 2013 record set by the Australian Tom Denniss who took 622 days to complete his run.
As Mr Carr, 34, slogged through another 50 miles (80km) towards his overnight stop of Braunton, Devon, today his spokesperson said: “If he beats the record, he will be absolutely over the moon. It is an amazing feat of endurance.”
Mr Carr’s run has taken him through 26 countries, always running east and heading through the continents coast to coast.
Although he is currently working on 50-mile days, he has averaged 31 miles a day throughout his odyssey, thus sticking to a routine of running between a marathon and a half or two marathons a day – for nearly two years.
His achievement is all the more remarkable because unlike Mr Denniss, Mr Carr has not had the benefit of a support team. He has therefore had to carry all his provisions, including food, water and camping equipment himself.
The spokeswoman said: “For most of the way round the world, he was pushing stroller in front of him, containing – amongst other things – a tent and two spare pairs of running shoes. It was twice his bodyweight.
“It wasn’t until he got to Ireland that he was able to strip down his equipment and fit it in a rucksack.”
Before embarking on his circumnavigation, Mr Carr had been working as a personal trainer and as a barman at the Carpenter’s Arms in the Dartmouth village of Ilsington, near his departure point.
In a blog written for the Independent in February 2013, as he prepared for his odyssey, he explained: “I have always wanted to see how far I can go. What’s the limit to our endurance?
“I simply want to hold the record as the fastest man around the world. It’s the purest test of endurance, the natural limit of planet Earth. You simply can’t go further on our world, unless you begin running laps!”
Having also suffered from depression, he is also running to raise money for the mental health charity SANE and to prove that a mind that is sometimes ill, “is not a weak mind”.
Running around the world has certainly allowed him to prove his mental strength to the full. To get from Perth to Sydney, for example, he had to run through Australia’s notorious Nullarbor Desert.
“Hardly anyone has walked across it unsupported,” said the spokeswoman, “Let alone run across it. He would stock up on four or five days of supplies, and hope that would be enough to get him to the next petrol station.”
Months after conquering the desert, the Chile to Argentina leg took him over the Andes, the highest mountain range outside Asia.
Apart from when he was flying between continents, Mr Carr allowed himself no breaks. The tough conditions, however, occasionally forced him to take the occasional rest.
Running between Mumbai and Chennai in 40C temperatures, he came down with heatstroke and had to spend about three days recovering.
He then faced temperatures of minus 30C as massive snowstorms buffeted the US last November.
Running in such extreme cold probably contributed to him catching the flu. The resulting delay left him having to complete his longest day of running, or get into trouble with the US visa authorities.
The spokeswoman said: “He had one more day left his visa. He had to run 105km [65 miles] in a day to get a flight out of Jacksonville Airport, Florida. He did it.”
The spokeswoman added that while unescorted by humans, Mr Carr was occasionally accompanied by animals, not all of them friendly.
She said: “As he was running through Canada’s northwest territories, a black bear started stalking him. Kevin had to let off four ‘bear bangers’ before the bear stopped coming towards him. He didn’t get a very friendly reception from packs of feral dogs in parts of Romania either.”
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