Globe-trotting sensation Kevin Carr has just broken the world record for running around the entire planet – and he did it for us.
On 9 April, 34-year-old Kevin got a deserved hero’s welcome in Devon – at the exact spot he’d set off from 19 months earlier.
The personal trainer overcame incredible odds to beat the record by one day, running more than 16,000 miles through 26 countries in 621 days. (That’s an average of 31 miles per day.) Here are some of his memories of an unforgettable trip.
I saw the northern lights a few times while camping in the Arctic Circle. I ran on top of the Andes Mountains. But the most amazing thing was the hospitality from strangers – people going out of their way to offer me a bed to sleep in and free meals.
Running through remote parts of Canada, I saw 26 bears in five days – and an injured one stalked and then actively came for me.
I had a bear banger – a flare that lets off a bang twice as loud as a shotgun – but it misfired three times. It finally went off on the fourth attempt, when the bear was less than 100 yards from me. That was really scary.
My biggest achievement was making it across the Nullarbor Plain in Australia – a 1200 kilometre run with just 12 petrol stations. That was a real make or break time, but even then I had some very rare, rare times.
Halfway across, there was a lunar eclipse and I heard a pack of dingos singing at the moon. That was a special moment – I'm sure very few people have heard that while running alone in the middle of nowhere.
There were plenty of hazards – floods, freezing blizzards, heatstroke in India, wild dogs in Romania – and I was run over twice.
Towards the end, especially, I suffered setback after setback. In Argentina, I tore a quad muscle, lost a day in bed, then kept hitting delays and detours on the road. To make my plane, I had to sleep four hours a night and run 16 hours a day for a week.
Running outdoors is just the best therapy – you get to see a lot of the great outdoors. At my peak fitness, I can see in an afternoon what most people see in a full hiking holiday. That’s four days’ worth of beauty in one stretch.
Why I chose the Red Cross
I wanted a global charity because this was a global challenge, and the Red Cross is the only charity that has a presence throughout the world.
Most of the time I slept rough and it was hard – even as a trained athlete – to not know where I’d lay my head each night. That’s what refugees have to endure all the time, plus not knowing what they’re going to eat. I can’t imagine that.
It still hasn't sunk in yet that it’s over. It's so strange to think I'll wake tomorrow and not go running.
As for next steps, I'm a qualified personal trainer, so want to coach long-distance runners. I can help them with everything from writing the plan to doing their physical training. I reckon I'm pretty well qualified now.
Make a donation to support Kevin’s magnificent run.
Raise money for us during Red Cross Week.