"Runningman" makes it into record books at last

LONDON Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:49pm BST

In this file picture, Robert Garside runs on a beach in Kochin City, in the southern Indian state of Kerala 20, April, 2003. More than three years after he finished an epic journey across six continents, Garside has been officially recognised as the first person to run around the world. REUTERS/Dipak Kumar

In this file picture, Robert Garside runs on a beach in Kochin City, in the southern Indian state of Kerala 20, April, 2003. More than three years after he finished an epic journey across six continents, Garside has been officially recognised as the first person to run around the world.

Credit: Reuters/Dipak Kumar

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LONDON (Reuters) - More than three years after he finished an epic journey across six continents, Briton Robert Garside has been officially recognised as the first person to run around the world.

Garside, 40, who during his quest called himself the Runningman, on Monday received the approval of Guinness World Records for a 30,000-mile (48,000-km) six-year trek.

"It feels very, very good indeed," Garside told Reuters shortly after hearing the news.

"I'm really happy about this, this run cost me everything," said the former London policeman who was jailed in China, shot at in Russia and chased by armed men in Mexico and Panama during the mega jog which ended in New Delhi in 2003.

The Guinness verdict was a major vindication for Garside, who has been dogged by accusations of cheating by endurance runners sceptical about a man who claimed to have run through jungles and across deserts with no support team.

Others accused him of embellishing his exploits and of skipping whole sections of the run, something Garside denies.

Garside, who is planning a book and a film of his exploits, kept meticulous records, including eyewitness statements and more than 300 hours of video footage which Guinness used to authenticate the run.

"It's been a long process, but it was very well documented and it has now been recognised officially as the first fully authenticated run around the world," said a spokeswoman for Guinness World Records.

Garside, who described the run as "just like going for a jog every day and not going back home" said it took him two years to recover physically and mentally from his exertions.

Garside, who met his future wife while running through Venezuela in 2000, said one of the hardest moments came in the Himalayas. "It was very cold and I was lonely and it's difficult to find motivation at times like that."

"But it all finally paid off and I'll be running over to Guinness tomorrow to collect my certificate," he said.

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