Trans North America Run – Richard Donovan
On 19 May 2015 the 49-year old runner from Ireland undertook the epic Trans North America Run, a 3,100 mile run across the US, traveling from San Francisco to New York, to raise funds for fellow runner Alvin Matthews. Alvin is a runner from California who was paralyzed in an accident in 2014. Alvin is a dam builder and suffered a 25ft fall in Lebanon. He had previously completed two races that Richard had organized, the Antarctic Ice Marathon and the North Pole Marathon, and was due to take part in the Volcano Marathon in South America when he had the accident.
The 3,100+ mile across the US route is one of the most difficult but scenic ways of crossing the North American continent, encompassing major challenges such as Nevada’s Highway 50, known as the loneliest road in America, the scorching deserts of Utah and the dizzying heights of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
Richard encountered temperatures of 100+ degrees Fahrenheit and altitude of up to 12,000 ft on his journey from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.
Richard began his adventure in San Francisco. “I wanted to see and experience what I considered to be real America, with some of its epic scenery, and I wanted to do it in the heat of the summer. After the start at the Golden Gate Bridge I ran through the rolling hills of California, ‘wine country’, to Lake Tahoe,” he says.
Richard had to deal with several issues on the go, starting with blisters.
“I was in a bad situation, getting up daily with a lot of pain. My skin had split in places and I had what I can only describe as very bad open wounds to a couple of toes,” he said, adding that he began the race with tendinitis in both knees.
“I could hear the howls of coyotes around me during the evening,” he recalls. There were also shadows that appeared to be racing nearby, but I could never see an animal. It was only when I decided to look up that I noticed it was buzzards circling overhead. Of course I encountered many snakes along the route, and had a close encounter with one in particular.” Richard completed his run in New York on September 6, 2015, after 90 challenging days.
Since then Alvin regained some use of his arms through intensive physiotherapy and got walking again with bionic legs. In April 2016 he completed the Los Angeles Marathon.
Image by Jody Summers