Being physically very tough and resilient, I have run throughout all my summer holidays for twenty years. I often choose to discover a tourist region in six or ten days, on a distance of four and seven hundred kilometres. After a first try from Nantes to Besançon (675 km in 10 days), I crossed French regions over various summers. In 1992, I decided to increase slightly the distance to attend my first Olympics Games in Barcelona (880 km in 15 days).
My main motivation for these challenging holidays is not to carry out a sporting performance but to visit a region or a country with an original means of locomotion. Running allows me to admire nature and makes my contacts with the local population easier. After having experimented these races, for several years I intended to make a more ambitious sporting dream come true: to run from Palaiseau, near Paris, to North Cape, the most northern point in Europe (Norway): 3,200 kilometres in 8 weeks in 1995 summer. The discovery of Scandinavia, together with a sporting challenge, was an unforgettable experience and a wonderful interlude in my life.
After some years with shorter summer races, I decided to run within Europe once more, but towards the South of this continent. In 2004, the Olympic Games took place in Athens. Then, I was given the opportunity to run the 2,400 kilometre route which separates Bures-sur-Yvette (a city near Paris where I live) to Athens. Without looking for a symbolic action in this race, it was, yet, an opportunity to become aware of the peace truce in the Balkans: it was again possible to achieve a quiet jogging in ex-Yugoslavia, only interrupted by meetings with some local inhabitants
After my 2004 Olympic Games race, my lectures always ended with this question: will you go to the next Olympic Games, in Beijing? Beijing, the capital of a large country, so attractive for the foreigners, but so far! Across Europe and Russia… from the Atlantic to the Pacific… more than 8500 kilometres. I am well aware that this race is not a simple summer interlude but a true personal challenge.
Can I do it? My previous European experiences allow me to be confident, if I am allowed the necessary time and financial means. But I also know that a lot of obstacles may transform my challenge into difficult troubles to solve: a muscular injury, the heat in Mongolia, especially in the Gobi desert, or weariness.
Around five months before the beginning of the next Olympic Games 2008, I ran in order to reach this worldwide spectacle. In August 2008, our eyes converged to Beijing for the XXIX Olympic Games. They allowed everybody to see the planetary dimension of this event. Faithful to my two previous races towards the Olympic Games, Barcelona in 1992 and Athens in 2004, I ran to Beijing in order to participate in the Olympic Games. During my trip, my running invited the people met to look forward to the Olympic Games.
Sequence of a running day
A major difficulty in my race is to properly organise the daily strain, without reaching exhaustion at the end of day. I must also be attentive to my body, especially my muscles, to avoid any disabling injury. During my journey to North Cape, the day began very early (at 4 o’clock) to avoid the summer afternoon heat. After a four-five hour run, about a marathon (42 km), I had a break (half an hour) for a big breakfast. Then I ran 10 or 15 kilometres before stopping at about midday. After a siesta to keep away from the hot season, I ran later in the afternoon to complete a daily total of eighty kilometres on average. In general, I fulfilled this distance for three successive days, the fourth day being reserved to rest and to local visits. I ran the 3,200 kilometres in 40 days with 15 rest days. To run to Athens and to avoid the heat, I often ran in the evening and at night, by fulfilling a daily average of seventy five kilometres (32 days of running for 2,400 kilometres with 12 rest days).
The single-handed race imposes me to carry my personal things in a bag (4 - 5 kg). Having already used this mode of transport which is not very demanding and proved successful, the absence of a follower imposes me to ask for help on my way ,for my accommodation and my meals. This means that I have got more human contacts. But the help of followers either by bike or by car also brings good conditions to achieve such challenges. It makes my running easier more comfortable and it is nice to share about the discovery of tourist countries.
My Paris – Beijing route
For obvious reasons, I have chosen the shortest route to run from Paris to Beijing. The geodesic between these two cities flies over the Baltic Sea, Russia and Mongolia. Consequently, I drew my route a little more in the south of the geodesic via Moscow. The geodesic from Paris to Moscow implies a route through Bonn, Berlin and Vilnius.
My route will start with the northeast of France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Byelorussia to attain Russia, vaster state of the world. I will almost run across the whole length of Russia. In the absence of road in the middle of Siberia will impose to run across the south of this region, via Omsk and Novossibirsk. My route will continue by Irkoutsk and the Lake Baikal before attaining Mongolia. In the Mongolia north, weather will be advantageous for the running, but in the south, the crossing of the Gobi desert will be harder.
The end of my running will be very hot before finishing to Beijing. The very hot temperatures will cause me a lot of worries, as well as to the athletes during Olympic Games.
See http://share-vplusr.3ds.com/ of my main sponsor : Dassault Systèmes
Philippe Fuchs >