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World Marathon Challenge director starts 5,260 km run across the U.S.

After completing Monday's Boston Marathon, Richard Donovan started his trans-American run the following morning

Race director and ultra runner Richard Donovan of the World Marathon Challenge has started his run across the U.S. The runner started on Monday at the Boston marathon, but instead of putting his feet up after his marathon, he is now headed toward San Francisco on foot. Donovan returned to Copley Square Tuesday morning to begin his 5,260 kilometre run across the country. 

Covering 14 states in the process, Donovan hopes to hit the Pacific Ocean in a little over three months, averaging 64 kilometres per day. He’s running in memory of his friend Alvin Matthews, a California ultrarunner who was forced to stop due to a paralyzing injury sustained at work. Matthews passed away suddenly a year ago. 

While Donovan has already crossed the U.S. once, back in 2015. He told the Irish Times that 2022 will be an entirely new route: “It’s a different route, certainly not linear. I pick places I like. The plan this time is to head north toward Buffalo, Lake Erie, then down through some of the same states, Indiana, Illinois, bits of Missouri and Kansas, towards Monument Valley, Utah and Arizona. I missed that the last time, imagine that would be a great place to run through, classic American landscape. The plan is to head north through Yosemite and toward San Francisco,” he says. 

Donovan is no stranger to covering long distances. The native of Galway, Ireland organizes the World Marathon Challenge every year, which involves a group of runners from various countries completing seven marathons on seven continents in a seven-day period. The WMC has drawn the likes of ultrarunning legend Mike Wardian, who is also planning a trans-American run to begin shortly, running from west to east.

In addition to race directing, Donovan was also the first person ever to run marathons at both the south and north poles

When asked why he does this, he told the Irish Examiner, “You have these zen-like moments that only occur when you put yourself under that physical pressure for a prolonged period. The most significant thoughts come when you’re most insignificant.”

Today, Donovan started his run in Vermont. You can follow his journey here.

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