Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009

Iron man Richard runs the world

Frozen Antarcticia
Richard Donovan began his series of marathons in Antarctica

An Irish long-distance runner has completed seven gruelling marathons on seven continents in less than six days to help raise cash for Sudan's Darfur region.

Richard Donovan, 42, from Galway, began his challenge in numbing sub-zero temperatures in Antarctica on 31 January and finished in Sydney just five days, nine hours and eight minutes later.

Over 129 hours, Mr Donovan endured extreme temperatures and only slept in the economy class seats of airplanes between continents.

In total he ran 183 miles and flew tens of thousands of miles.

After completing his Antarctic run, Mr Donovan boarded a plane to South Africa and ran a marathon in Cape Town.

He then flew to Dubai and ran another one, completing three marathons in two days.


Braving snow storms that shut down London on Monday, he completed his fourth marathon there before going to Toronto in Canada for a fifth.

He then travelled to Chile for a Santiago marathon before heading to Australia.

John O'Shea, of the Charity Goal, described Mr Donovan's feat as "staggering, quite remarkable".

"It is extraordinary, given the conditions and the time scale involved. I can't believe he managed it. I am in awe of what he achieved to bring attention to the tragedy of Darfur and to alleviate the suffering there," he said.

In 2002, Richard Donovan became the first person to run a marathon at both the North and South Poles.

He has won the South Pole Marathon, the Inca Trail Marathon, the Everest Challenge Marathon, the Antarctic 100km and the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race.

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