Running the Silk Road – Kevin Lin, Bai Bin, Chen Jun, Jodi Bloomer
Kevin Lin, a renowned Taiwanese ultra-marathon runner and three other team mates took off to run the length of the Silk Road, starting in Istanbul, Turkey in April 2011, to finish in Xian, in China’s Shaanxi Province, 150 days later.
The “Running the Silk Road” project aimed to increase public awareness of the shortage of water resources in the region. This was a non-profit event with proceeds going to NGOs that help communities along the old Silk Road.
The team, consisting of Kevin Lin (Taiwan), Bai Bin (China), Chen Jun (China) and Jodi Bloomer (Canada), began in Istanbul on April 20th.
In order to cover the entire 10500+km (6524 mile) Silk Road in the time frame of 150 days, the team had to average 70km (43 miles) per day under a wide variety of weather conditions.
Only Kevin and Bai completed the whole journey through Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and China, with a 13.7-km run around the city wall of Xi’an on Sept. 16.
They had to overcome rough conditions and bitter weather full of temperature fluctuations, hailstones, torrential rains and sandstorms.
As the route travels through the Middle East and desert areas, safety and weather pose great challenges. The Earth Exploration and Conservation Association stated that there would be many logistics teams such as security, medical care, and guides accompanying the trip, to guarantee their safety and health.
The two men suffered from exhaustion, feet injuries and other physical discomfort such as diarrhea during the run.
“The thought of going running when I woke up each day was sometimes fearful during the five-month period,” Kevin confessed. But asked if he had thought about giving up he said, “Many people expressed their support for me so that I did not dare to think about it.”
Andrew Strachan, a British exploration expert who led the team’s operational side, said that their professionalism, discipline and talent were fundamental to the success of the expedition.
The entire run was created and organized by The Home Expedition, an (no longer existing) organization that looked to motivate and inspire more privileged groups of people to work together to create sustainable, long term alternatives for assisting under privileged people and regions. During this expedition, THE has been raising funds to assist other NGO’s who are struggling with the problem of providing clean drinking water in the region that they have been running through. This is the THE’s first expedition, but they have several others planned for the near future, during which they hope to continue to inspire others into action.
This historical project has been made possible and sponsored byr Xinyi Housing, Volkswagen en Harley-Davidson with support of China World Heritage Association, Chunghwa Post, China Trust Commercial Bank, Sinosteel Corporation, World Heritage Magazine, Taiwan CNPC, Taiwan Water Company, Taiwan Beer, Cooperative Bank Commercial Bank, Mega Financial Holdings, MJ Group, First Banks, Yang Ming Shipping, Zuid China Financial Holdings, Changhua Bank, Creative Planet Travel Players Club, Taiwan Enterprise Bank, Guangying Dentsu, Cyber Digital Plaza, CANON Taiwan Canon Information Co., Ltd. (Japan Canon), TNT, True Fitness.
Nevertheless there was still a shortage of funds, so the association encouraged people to become Silk Road ambassadors, to spread the word and join the runners for the last 9 days, or to pledge 10,000 yuan per kilometer.