The following are maps illustrating where Tom ran during his round the world journey. Click on any map to enlarge it.
New Zealand Leg
South American Leg
Run Around the World – Description of Route
What constitutes a circumnavigation of the world on foot – or, for that matter, on a bicycle, in a car, or via any land-based means? The answer would be simple if the Earth had no oceans. The reality is, there are a myriad of ways to devise a route around the world, and it is unlikely any two runners would agree precisely on such a definition.
For this reason, I chose to follow the precedent set by Jesper Olsen, the first and only person to complete an undisputed and fully documented run around the world. Implicit in the way Jesper conducted his run are a set of criteria. I simply adhered to these criteria.
Jesper, therefore, is the inaugural holder of the world record for the “Fastest Circumnavigation of the Earth on Foot”, a record I beat by 40 days with my world run. Both these world records have been ratified by the international governing authority on journey running, the World Runners Association.
So, what are these “rules” for running around the world? In essence, I obeyed the following:
- * Start and finish at the same place
- * Pass through two antipodal points (any two places that are on the opposite side of the Earth from each other), and
- * Predominantly maintain either an easterly or westerly component in the direction you are heading (i.e. no backtracking across longitudinal lines)
- * Run on at least four continents from “ocean to ocean”, covering a minimum of 1,000 km on each
- * Cover 26,232 km on foot. This is approximately the sum of the maximum widths of the continents of Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and Australia combined.
Besides these requirements, I added my own personal criteria – I ran on every continent other than Antarctica and Africa, I ran in as many countries as I could (which amounted to nineteen) and I spanned as wide a range of latitudes as possible.
I did not define my route to the “nth degree” before leaving, as mapping out my run on every single highway, back road, street and lane throughout the world would have required a phenomenal amount of work. However, I did have a general route planned, which involved the following:
- * A short “prologue” stage on December 31, from the Sydney Opera House to Bondi Beach.
- * Fly to New Zealand and run from Queenstown, via Dunedin, Christchurch, and Wellington, to the north coast of the North Island at Auckland.
- * Fly to San Francisco, working my way initially down the US west coast, across the Rockies and up into Canada, back into the US mid west, and across to the east coast, concluding the North American leg in Boston.
- * Fly to Santiago in Chile (which, although on the western side of South America, is actually at the same longitude as Boston), over the Andes into Argentina, finishing on the east coast of the South American continent.
- * Fly to Lisbon, restarting at the most westerly point in Europe.
- * Run to the most easterly point (Istanbul).
- * Fly to South-East Asia to run the Malay Peninsula, from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.
- * Fly to Perth to cross the Australian continent via the Nullarbor Desert, arriving back in Sydney at the Opera House.
At all times I was predominantly heading east, albeit often with a northerly or southerly component, enabling me to not only traverse longitudes, but also latitudes. This allowed for a greater range of geographic, climatic, and cultural experiences during my run while, at all times, adhering to the criteria described above. Zoom in on the map below to see where I ran.
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