The magnificent seven

Running seven marathons on seven continents in under five days is more than just turning up at a starting line and taking off, as you can see from this pictorial guide to Richard Donovan’s world record in aid of GOAL.

1 February - 0953 Irish time

The challenge to break five days (120 hours ) for seven marathons on seven continents begins. The first marathon in Antarctica is run at a Russian base on the mainland Antarctic continent, 4,200km south of Cape Town. The marathon is run through snow and ice in -10C with some strong wind gusts. Richard then hops on a converted Russian cargo plane for the six-hour return flight to Cape Town to run his African marathon.

1 February - 2200 Irish time

Richard starts to run the Cape Town Marathon route at midnight local time. He is witnessed by the president of Athletics South Africa and accompanied by some local runners. It is a very windy night and temperatures are a maximum +20C, apprroximately a 30 degree turnaround from Antarctica.

2 February - 0500 Irish time

The flight taking Richard to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for his third marathon on his third continent takes off. After 12 hours of flying, as well as a brief stop-off in Johannesburg, Richard is met at the airport by Brazil's top couse measurer as well as members of the Brazilian Air Force. He is taken to an air force base and begins his third marathon within 2 days at approximately 1600 Irish time. The temperature is +24C but begins to cool off.

2 February - 2320 Irish time

Richard's flight to Orlando, USA is due to take off but is delayed by two hours. After completing his 3rd marathon on his third continent in less than 40 hours, there is concern about the time available in the USA if he is delayed any longer. All three marathons to date have been run in about 4:20hrs but there is only eight-10 hours available in each location for Richard to disembark the plane, go through customs, reach the marathon location, run the marathon and then return to the airport to check in for his next economy seated flight.

3 February - 1400 Irish time

After nine hours flying Richard arrives in the USA and is met by the Disney Marathon course measurer who will oversee the North American marathon leg. Temperatures are in the low 20sC with humidity when his fourth marathon is completed by 2000 Irish time on February 3. Richard is now getting sick howver.

3 February - 2305 Irish time

With only three-four hours sleep to date, Richard embarks on an at least eight-hour flight to London for his European leg.

4 February - 0735 Irish time

Richard lands at London Gatwick and is met by the former editor of Runner's World magazine to begin his European marathon. Temperatures are -6C when he begins his 5th marathon on his 5th continent at 1000 Irish time on a measured course in Clapham Common. It takes 4 hrs 32mins to complete the marathon as an inability to keep down food and water begins to take firm effect.

4 February - 1805 Irish time

A 12 hour flight to Hong Kong from London Heathrow departs and Richard does not sleep much despite being weary and feeling ill.

5 February - 0400 Irish time

Richard's Hong Kong Marathon gets under way, supervised by Hong Kong Marathon race director and other officials. He struggles to keep upright on a couple of occassions as all food and hydration is rejected by his body. However he completes the marathon and returns to the airport for a nine-hour flight to Sydney and his final continent. At 1555 Irish time, he leaves Hong Kong for Sydney.

6 February - 0115 Irish time

Richard arrives in Sydney and is brought by the Sydney Olympics Marathon course measurer to a marathon route in Botany Bay. Winds of 40km per hour are blowing and Richard cannot keep down water. A beer helps and he completes his final marathon at 07:56 Irish time.

OVERALL TIME PERIOD Four Days 22 Hours Three Minutes (118 hours Three minutes )

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