Running around the World – All 40,075 Kilometers

Posted by martin.parnell |

Sometimes you take a leap of faith and you have no idea where it’s going to lead. You make a decision that takes you out of your comfort zone and things are never the same again. 

This happened to me on Friday, December 20th 2002. It was a snowy day in Sudbury, Ontario and in the late afternoon I got a call from my brother Peter. After some small talk he came to the reason he called……… he wanted to challenge me to a marathon. Without hesitation I accepted and hung up. 

Now, the problem was I was 47 years old, over-weight and had never run. However, you never back-down from a challenge from a younger brother. That night I put on my tennis shoes, cotton pants, fleece top, toque and mitts and headed out. I ran one kilometer out and one kilometer back. It was terrible.

The next day I ran 2 kms out and 2 kms back and it was twice as bad. I realised I needed help so I joined the Sudbury Rocks Running club. Under the guidance of Vince Perdue and other members of the club, they taught me about what to wear, hydration, nutrition, electrolytes and pacing. My running journey had begun. 

Fast forward to 6.00pm Monday February 17th 2020 and I have just finished 15 km on the treadmill as part of my Boston 2020 training. Now, that was 17 years 59 days (6,298 days) ago and over that time I’ve covered 40,075 kms which happens to be the circumference of the earth. 

So what happened between that snowy day in Sudbury and yesterday’s treadmill run? Well, here are some of the adventures running took me on with RUNNING THE WORLD BY THE NUMBERS: 

  • 2.0 km           First run on December 20th 2002
  • 3.0 km            The Secret 3k, Global
  • 5.0 km            Footstock 5 km, Cochrane, Alberta
  • 10.0 km          Terry Fox, all over Canada
  • 12.0 km          Grim Challenge, UK
  • 16.0 km          Gorilla run, Calgary
  • 21.1 km          Ottawa Half Marathon
  • 42.2 km          Calgary Marathon
  • 42.2 km          London Marathon
  • 42.2 km          Marathon of Afghanistan
  • 48.0 km          Yukon Arctic Ultra
  • 80.0 km          Fernie Ultra
  • 82.1 km          Golden Ultra
  • 90.0 km          Comrades Marathon, South Africa
  • 100.0 km        Rarotonga Quest, Cook Islands
  • 106.0 km        Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  • 126.6 km        Boston (2004, 2008, 2010)
  • 125.00 km      Canadian Death Race
  • 146.00 km      Sinister Seven Ultra
  • 160.00 km      Lost Souls Ultra
  • 193.00 km      TransRockies Stage Race
  • 1014.0 km      South West Coast of England
  • 10,550 km      Running 250 marathons in one year
  • 40,075 km     Complete Running the World on February 17th 2020 

So the first spin around the earth is done and it’s been a blast. Time to turn around and head back the other way. Who know what challenges and adventures there will be on the return journey.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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