Galway man sets world mark for GOAL

[caption id="attachment_69669" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Which way next? Donovan in Cape Town, South Africa."]


Irish ultra-marathon runner, Richard Donovan, successfully completed one of the greatest sporting challenges ever undertaken this week.

On Monday, Feb. 6, Donovan became the first person to run seven marathons in seven continents in less than five days.

And he achieved this astonishing record on behalf of the Irish international aid agency, GOAL.

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When the Galway man crossed the finish line in Sydney, he had run marathons in Antarctica, Cape Town (Africa), Sao Paulo (South America), Orlando (North America), London (Europe), Hong Kong (Asia) and Sydney (Australia). He began his runs on Wednesday, February 1st.

Donovan took on the feat to support GOAL's efforts to alleviate the suffering of people who continue to be affected by famine and drought in the Horn of Africa.

The 45-year-old Donovan admitted that sleep deprivation, running and traveling through different time zones and in different temperatures took its toll.

"I was absolutely wrecked. I wasn't even able to keep down water," he said.

"We came to desperate measures in Sydney and I chanced a beer. It was the first time something stayed down in days."

GOAL's Lisa O'Shea, in reaction to Donovan's feat, said that that his globe-trotting exploits had earned the respect of everyone in the organization, all of whom were profoundly appreciative of his efforts.

"Since GOAL was founded 35 years ago, tens of thousands of people have undertaken challenges in an effort to raise money for our programs in the developing world," she said. "However, Richard's achievement this week must stand out as one of the most remarkable," said O'Shea, GOAL's head of marketing.

"We are so proud of his world marathon challenge success, and deeply thankful that he did it in GOAL's name. His efforts will have a hugely positive affect on our work with some of the many people who continue to suffer from the effects of drought across the Horn of Africa."

After traveling alone and flying economy class around the world, Donovan said the hardest part was concentrating in airports and catching flights while constantly fatigued.

However, as an experienced marathon runner at both poles, Donovan was never in any doubt that he would succeed in his mission.

"I have a lot of training behind me as an ultra-marathon runner so I have a certain amount of experience of moving while dead on my feet and that helped the mental and physical and emotional management," he said.

"I never contemplated I was not going to finish."