Think the Tour de France sounds hard on a bike? Try running it.
British runner Peter Thompson completed the Tour de France route on foot on July 25th. According to Thompson’s Strava, he ran 3,350.65 kilometres over 68 days to finish his #runthetour project. If the sheer volume of running Thompson did doesn’t shock you, then consider the 9,000 metres of elevation gain he travelled in the last week of June alone.
For even more perspective, the cycling tour winner was Geraint Thomas won in 83 hours 17 minutes 13 seconds. Thompson ran for roughly 342 hours and 40 minutes to finish the 3,350.65 kilometres.
His pace ranged a lot depending on elevation and stage of the run, but he averaged around 6 minutes per kilometre over his nearly 3,500 kilometres of running.
His primary support system through the tour was his partner (and driver) Sally Holdsworth, with cameo appearances by his mother and other runners.
Thompson is no stranger to endurance running, as he has previously run 44 marathons, in 44 countries in 44 days.
Thompson’s run was about more than running–he raised over $33,000 CAD for three mental health charities. He posted on his charity page about why mental health is so important to him. “After crossing the finish line of the 2015 Amsterdam marathon in a time of 2 hours 25 minutes, things quickly changed. A breakdown in a relationship was shortly followed by the uncomfortable realization that my focus and determination to constantly improve as a runner was almost all-consuming. It had turned running from something which had been my life, to something I deeply resented. I didn’t want to do it anymore.”
He continued, “By talking more openly about mental health, engaging within discussions or simply listening to others, we develop understanding and importantly we help to educate. We also learn how to improve or better manage our mental health as individuals, and about the severity and crippling effects that people suffering with mental illness can experience on a daily basis.”
Thompson is not the first to successfully complete the tour on foot, American Zoe Romano did the run in 2013.
Thompson’s efforts have likely switched to recovery for the time being, but stay tuned for his next adventure.