Tim Franklin, an amateur ultramarathon athlete, is passing through New Mexico in his quest to beat the world record by running around the world in less than 434 days.
Coming into Roswell Friday, Franklin was about a quarter of his way toward breaking the current record held by Serge Girard. To accomplish this, Franklin must run roughly 40 miles, or the equivalent of one and a half marathons, every day.
Franklin’s journey started in South Bank Parklands in his hometown of Brisbane, Australia. From there, he completed his New Zealand run from Queenstown to Auckland and is now tackling the United States. The U.S. route started in San Francisco, Calif., continues through the Southwest, heads to Florida, then he heads north to New York City. The U.S. run will take approximately six months to complete from the start of 2023 until June.
Franklin was active in his youth, but as he grew up, poor choices and health issues slowed him. Around 2004, he made a change, left his corporate job and fell in love with the sport of running. Franklin got the idea of tackling the world record from a man he met in a 2017 ultramarathon through the Simpson Desert in Australia. Since 2017, Franklin and his supporters have been preparing for the trek, despite COVID-related setbacks in 2020.
Besides beating the world record, Franklin says his motivation for starting this run was to simply encourage people to move, as well as raise money for several charities including Inspiring Brighter Futures Foundation, an Australian non-profit founded by Franklin’s seventh-grade teacher that provides support and practical assistance to disadvantaged people.
As a triathlon and track and field coach in Australia, Franklin advocates the benefits of physical activity. “I just want people to move,” Franklin said. “I believe we’ve become extraordinarily sedentary in the last few years, especially with COVID not helping at all. Even before that, we were pretty sedentary. You don’t have to take it to the extreme. I don’t expect everyone to do that but go for a walk, play tennis or golf, or whatever it may be.”
Franklin chronicles his journey through the world by posting on social media platforms, sharing his experiences with his supporters back home and abroad. In his journey, Franklin conquered Arizona and hit the town of Deming on the 69th day of his run. In an Instagram post, Franklin said, “the day chewed me up and spat me out.” Franklin had to run through the freezing New Mexico morning while facing headwinds of 40 miles per hour.
“Brutal. I don’t know how else to describe it,” Franklin said. “One of the most pleasing things about it is that it was a tough day. It would’ve been easy to get into the RV, call it a day, and say, ‘We’ll catch this up later.’ To grind it out. To get it done. To through it. Not every day feels good. I’m proud to have finished. As a good friend of mine said, ‘Are you the hammer or the nail?’ Today, I was emphatically the nail but tomorrow let’s aim for the hammer.”
Damian Robson, Franklin’s friend and amateur adventurer, accompanies him on his journey through the Americas. Robson’s expertise in arctic travel helped Franklin traverse the Ruidoso blizzard. Robson said Franklin also asked him to help because of his past experiences with ultramarathons and mountaineering. “I do a lot of adventuring,” Robson said. “I go mountaineering and going to the pole areas. I’m used to being out and uncomfortable so I understand what he needs.”
On Day 75, Franklin had to run through a snowstorm near the Ruidoso mountains after passing through Las Cruces and El Paso. “It was a whiteout. Seven and a half thousand feet above sea level, couldn’t see 40 meters in front of me, couldn’t trust every step I took thinking I was going to slip on ice or snow,” Franklin said in his Day 75 video. “It just mentally fried me and took it out of me by the end. I wouldn’t have got anywhere near the end without the help of Dame-o pushing me, being there every five or six Ks. I’ve got no words to describe today. We banked it, and got it done. Somehow I eeked out 58Ks. It’s amazing. The body will do what the mind tells it.”
Besides sharing his expertise, Robson drives the RV that serves as Franklin’s base of operation. Robson also helps with meal preparations, logistics and provides moral support for Franklin through this journey around the world. On top of his responsibilities, Robson is also training for an ultramarathon that will take place in Morocco this April.
After his North American leg, Franklin will go to South America to run from Santiago, Chile, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in a month, then off to Europe to run from Lisbon, Portugal, to Istanbul, Turkey.
To follow Tim Franklin’s world record attempt, find his website at timrunstheworld.com or follow his journey through his Instagram account @timmyrfranklin where he posts a reel of his runs almost daily.
Sports reporter Blynn Juliano Beltran can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or email@example.com.
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