Couple run 6,200 miles across South America ‘pulling a plough’

Backpacks just aren't enough weight for some people

A British couple are celebrating today after finishing their colossal run across the length of South America, the first successful attempt without assistance, by diving into Venezuela’s warm Caribbean waters.

Ecologist couple Katharine and David Lowrie achieved their groundbreaking aim to run the entire length of South America, the equivalent of over 238 marathons, entirely unsupported and dragging their belongings behind them in a trolley.

The husband-and-wife running team crossed the world’s largest rainforest, rugged Andes mountains and bustling Latin American cities during their 5000 Mile Project, which ended up a whopping 6242 miles.

Battling biting insects and tropical diseases, they even ran one-third of the route barefoot or with barefoot shoes. Everything the couple ate on their journey was sourced locally – including tasty and environmentally friendly Roadkill Stew.

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Their 100kg loaded trolley was “like pulling a plough, especially through the mud, sand and pot holes of the 40% of the route on dirt roads”, Katharine admitted. Taking turns dragging their possessions, she says they had a love-hate relationship with the trailer carrying their life support in food and medical supplies.

Conservationists Katharine and David set out from the southernmost tip of the continent on 28 July last year, intending to survey and sample the ecosystems they encountered and to raise money and awareness over the ‘silent massacre’ of endangered species in South America. They even ran around an indigenous reserve in the Amazon, seeing first-hand bulldozers’ destruction of their natural homeland.

In the more remote areas, the ecologists relied on a satellite phone to maintain contact with their supporters and keep up their blog in The Independent.

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Now that they’ve reached the finish line at Venezuela’s Caribbean coast, Katharine and David plan to run to the Houses of Parliament with the book they compiled on their journey. Inside its leather cover they gathered testimonies from across the continent on the varying roles of the natural world, from clean water to natural resources and pharmaceuticals, in the hope that they can show governments the vital importance of South America’s wildlife.