Ultramarathoners Running 10,000-Kilometer Silk Road Route to Raise Awareness About Water Shortages

turkmenistan running the silk road photo

Photo: The Home Expedition / Running The Silk Road.

Seventy-two days after setting out from Istanbul, champion distance runner Kevin Lin Yi Jie and a small team of other athletes have covered 4,434 kilometers of their 10,00-kilometer goal: Running the full length of the ancient Silk Road trading route to raise money for and awareness about water shortages in the arid Central Asian region.Though many have traveled the historic route, Kevin Lin and his team hope to be the first to complete its entire length on foot. Starting out in Istanbul in late April, they have run across Turkey, into Iran, Turkmenistan, and now Uzbekistan, living in tents when they're not running across the steppe, where temperatures often exceed 40 degrees Celsius. At an average pace of 70 kilometers per day, they hope to pass through Kazakhstan and then finish the 150-day adventure in Xi'an, China, in mid-September.

running the silk road route map image

The team's progress thus far. Image: The Home Expedition / Running The Silk Road.
Running The Sahara For Charity
Kevin Lin previously raced to the North Pole, and ran through the Sahara Desert to support H2O Africa, a Matt Damon-cofounded charity that promotes sanitation and access to clean water. Team member Chen Jun, a Chinese long-distance runner, completed an 18-day solo ultra-run in 2010 to encourage more people in China to adopt low-carbon lifestyles.

Organized by the Taipei-based sustainability institute The Home Expedition, the Running the Silk Road team is raising money for partner NGOs to raise awareness of environmental issues, particularly the chronic water shortages and desertification in the region around the famous trading route.

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