A British couple found a unique way to explore the South American continent, although it is not one that many of are likely to attempt ourselves. Earlier this week, David and Katharine Lowrie became the first people to run the length of South America when they reached the coastline of Venezuela on Monday. The Caribbean Sea served as the finish line for this epic journey that was nearly 15 months in duration and covered 6500+ miles.
The couple set out on their long distance run in July of 2012, calling it their 5000 Mile Project at the time. Starting in Punta Arenas, Chile – the southernmost city on the continent – they had practically nowhere to go but north. Their route took them into Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and eventually Venezuela as they ran along busy highways, deserted roads and simple trails just to keep pushing their expedition forward. Along the way they passed through the spectacularly beautiful Patagonia region, over the snowcapped Andes Mountains and through the legendary Amazon Rainforest.
Traveling alone, and without support of any kind, David and Katharine were forced to pull a small – but often heavy – cart behind them at all times. That cart, routinely weighed in excess of 200 pounds and was filled with the couple’s clothing, communications equipment and assorted other gear. It also contained all of the food and water that they would need to survive out on the road for days at a time while they ran between towns.
Upon reaching the shores of the Caribbean, the couple ran into the water with a mixture of joy and relief. By the time they had finished, their official time for crossing the continent south to north was 14 months, 23 days, 19 hours and 24 minutes. They had also managed to greatly underestimate the distance they would travel as their total mileage came to an astounding 6504, making their original estimate of 5000 seem like child’s play.
As if running across an entire continent wasn’t impressive enough, the couple also managed to dedicate a portion of their website to lesson plans for use in classrooms with students age 7 to 11. The educational resources available there were created to engage young people in the adventure while also teaching them about South America. David and Katharine also used the expedition as a platform to raise funds for several charities that are working diligently to protect the wild habitats that still exist on the continent.
With their journey now complete, the couple intends to head back to the U.K. this week. A reception is planned to welcome them home and raise more funds for their charities.
This is quite an accomplishment. My legs are tired just thinking about it.