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A German triathlete’s 40,000 km triathlon around the world

Jonas Deichmann is in the middle of a circumnavigation of the globe that will see thousands of kilometres of swimming, cycling and running

Photo by: Instagram/jonas_deichmann

In July, Jonas Deichmann set off on a 31-day journey in which he swam, biked and ran the equivalent of 16 Ironman triathlons (more than 3,600 km), tracing the border of his home country of Germany. As he noted on his website, this was “primarily a warmup” and test for a project he is currently running that he calls Triathlon 360 — a triathlon that will literally take him around the world. Deichmann left Munich on September 26, and he expects to return about the same time next year. His journey will be 40,000K in total length, and it will feature more than 5,000 km of running from San Fransisco to New York City.

 

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Triathlon 360

After cycling from Munich to Karlobag, Croatia, Deichmann started his 456 km swim in the Adriatic Sea, which he is still working on. He is now more than 50 days into the challenge, and he has about 30 km left in his swim, which he has said will be the toughest leg of his journey. “I’m a cyclist and I’m a pretty decent runner, too, but I’m definitely not a swimmer,” Deichmann said in a video before leaving for his circumnavigation of the globe. “My swimming career will last for 460 kilometres and then it will be over.”

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After arriving in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, near the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, Deichmann will get out of the water for good and hop back on his bike. From there, he will continue east, eventually leaving Europe and entering Asia. Once through China, he will board a sailboat bound for the U.S. (fortunately for him, he doesn’t have to swim across the Pacific Ocean). When he hits land in San Francisco, he will finally begin his 5,000 km run across America.

 

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Behind the dreaded swim, the trans-American leg will likely be the second-hardest part of Deichmann’s challenge. While the run is just a quarter of the total distance he will be cycling in his year-long journey, it will take a long chunk of time to complete. He is by no means aiming for a record-breaking run across the U.S., but for context, the current mark is just over 42 days, which American Pete Kostelnick set in 2016. Kostelnick ran the same route Deichmann is set to run, starting in San Francisco and finishing in New York City. Even after a break from the action while crossing the Pacific Ocean, Deichmann will be running on tired legs, and he can be expected to take much longer than Kostelnick did when he ran his record.

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After he arrives in NYC, Deichmann will start yet another ocean crossing by sailboat before beginning the final leg of his journey and cycling from Lisbon, Portugal, back to Munich. In total, his challenge will be the equivalent of 120 Ironman triathlons, with 456K of swimming, 21,600K of cycling and 5,040K of running.

 

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Deichmann’s normal

This is not Deichmann’s first massive undertaking, and he has completed several other similar endurance challenges in his lifetime. In 2017, he became the first person to cycle across Eurasia, starting in Cabo da Roca, Portugal, and finishing 64 days and more than 14,000 km later in Vladivostok, Russia. A year later, he was back on his bike for yet another trans-continental ride, this time in the Americas. He rode 23,000 km from Alaska‘s coast on the Arctic Ocean all the way to the southernmost point of Argentina — a record he set in 97 days. He has several other enormous cycling accomplishments on his resume, but his triathlons around Germany and the world are his first challenges to feature running components.

To follow along in Deichmann’s journey and track his progress with Triathlon 360, click here.