“The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he’s dead.”
~ Bette Davis
Some people choose to run around the track, some choose to run up some hills, more adventurous of runners might run up a mountain. Kevin Lin runs across deserts, countries, and continents. In fact, unless Kevin decides to go ultra Gump (not just regular Gump), and decides to run continuously around mother earth … forever, he has pretty much overcome every running challenge this planet has to offer. At 38, he has a long running career ahead of him, so he will have to be very creative with his future quests.
In the short history of extreme running, Kevin has already set some some very inventive benchmarks. The most well known and publicized one was his run across the Sahara along with Charlie Engle and Ray Zahab in 2007. That’s a 6,920 kilometer trek across 6 countries: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya, and Egypt. Below is a quick sketch of the route (just for fun there is an overlay of the continental US for a closer to home reference).
And here is a trailer to the movie narrated by Matt Damon:
So if that challenge wasn’t enough, in 2011 Kevin and his support crew took on and succeeded in running the silk road. That run was about 10,000 km through some of the most hazardous running terrain on earth. Here’s another picture for reference.
(So this is a slight exaggeration. Since the Moon’s circumference is actually 10,916km at the equator, you have to imagine the run taking place just above or below the center of the Moon.)
Those are just two of many of Kevin’s triumphs. As a runner, this Taiwan native has been shaping the sport and inspiring runners to go further, longer, and on tougher routes.
But there is more to Kevin’s running than just the need to conquer challenges. He has seen the beauty of our planet and he has also seen the challenges facing millions of people living in places most of us would consider uninhabitable. He notes that one of the biggest problems is access to clean water, and raising awareness of this issue has become his next challenge.
Next week, we’ll take a look at how some healthy competition can make us break through seemingly unbreakable barriers.