A stride by stride account of a 17,000km solo and unsupported running adventure over two continents and through fourteen different countries
Running The Americas is the inspiring story of an everyday guy who decided to drastically change his outlook and approach to life. After realising that an unfulfilling life in London was only going to end in resentment and unhappiness, he hatched a plan to change the trajectory of his life and ensure his passions were his priorities. The adventure that unfolded was a solo and unsupported run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires with no specific training, no major sponsor and very scant logistically planning.
The 17,000km run - equivalent to 403 marathons - consisted of 367 running days each averaging 46km. The route he took followed the Pacific Coast and Pan American highway as it weaved down through North, Central and South America. In Chile, he turned east, and after crossing the Andes set his target on Buenos Aires. He wore through 17 pairs of running shoes, burning over 4500 calories per day.
Pushing everything needed to survive in an unmodified baby stroller, he had to navigate his way over the Sea of Cortez, around the infamous Darien Gap, through the Atacama Desert and across the Andes. Long spells of loneliness, severe dehydration, continuous bouts of food poisoning and contracting an intestinal parasite all added to the daily challenges he had to overcome.
While running was the backbone of this adventure, the book will also share the wonderful experiences he shared with strangers in every country he visited. From the generosity of Clemente, also known as the “Angel of The Desert”, to running with school kids in Mexico, the book will be brought to life through each and every interaction, restoring your faith in humanity.
This is not a book of records or firsts, but a journey purely fueled by passion for running and adventure, giving extraordinary detail into the logistical, physical and mental strength needed to overcome the perceived impossible. This story hopes to awaken the adventurer in us all and show how we can all live out our dreams if we approach them with the right frame of mind and with unquestioning determination.
Today was a big day for me on two fronts. Firstly, there was sheer distance of running from Somotillo to Chinandega, a near 70km stretch of road through varying different landscapes but all equally as hot. And secondly, I was going to be meeting a chap called Nacho, who can best be described as my Spanish counterpart. Nacho had left Spain with the sole intention of walking around the world. Today our pathes were going to cross and I was hell bent on making sure we met somewhere where we could have a proper conversation.
The temperature was set to soar to the high thirties so I made sure I was up as early as possible to capitalize on the cool morning air. After an unexciting breakfast of a peanut butter sandwich and cereal with warm powdered milk I set off south. Today’s run had the benefit of a very prominent target, Volcan Casita, which soared 1400m next to the town. The road meandered through the Nicaraguan country side, including the stunning Reserve de Natural Apacunca.
This was my first day running in Nicaragua and I was amazed at how much the scenery changed and how dramatically. The rolling hills changed to a plane with leafless trees stretching as far as the eye could see. There was very little in the way of people, with some huts appearing along the roadside. While I was in this barren landscape I surrendered to my music and soon found myself singing Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” at the top of my voice only to be surprised by a small van pulling up alongside me and a young, good looking French couple smiling out of the window. I tried to assure them that I did have other music while they asked the normal questions.
Due to the lack of people, water became an issue and whenever I could I would fill up my bottles. Unlike in other countries, water here seemed to be more commonly sold in small 250ml plastic pouches than plastic bottles. Each time I passed a small stall with buckets full of these pouches I would replenish my supplies, painstakingly trying not to lose precious water as I decanted them into my water bottles.
I continued my journey towards the volcano on the horizon, which was growing with every kilometre. The road climbed over a small hill and descended into the nature reserve and the scenery changed once again. The land was greener and with trees shading small farming settlements and horses that seemed to be roaming freely. Each little settlement looked like a mini ranch and farmers sheltered from the oppressive sun as I jogged past.
I was joined by a local chap on a bike for a small section of the run but he was not interested in what I was doing or who I was. He unashamedly wanted to listen to my music and tailed me on his rickety bike at a safe listening distance but not close enough to engage in conversation.
As the sun hung directly above me I pulled over at a small village with a shop of sorts. I was well aware that my water intake had been below what I required so tried to take on as much liquid as possible including water, Coca-Cola and a bright pink Gatorade. A lady selling fruit looked over at me with a look of pity and approached me with a bag of cool watermelon which I devoured. With over 25km still to go and having had all I could drink, I hit the road again.
These people are helping to fund Running The Americas.