Briton Robert Garside has been officially recognised as the first person to run around the world.
Garside, 40, yesterday received the approval of Guinness World Records for a 48 000km, six-year trek across six continents.
Garside, then a 29-year-old psychology student, failed in that attempt, and it was only on his fourth try -- beginning at India Gate in New Delhi the following year -- that he succeeded, ending up back in the Indian capital in June 2003.
"I am unbelievably happy that an incredibly long project has finally ended up on a positive note," Garside said.
"I am so happy and relieved and I am so grateful to all those people all over the world who helped me throughout the years I was running."
While traversing the world over five years and eight months, Garside ran across 30 countries on six continents, covering more than 48,000 kilometres.
During that time, he slept in the snow in the Himalayas, and at a monastery in Tibet, and also had to out-run thieves in Mexico and gunmen in Panama. He even spent five nights in a Chinese jail for not having the right travel documents, dnaindia.com reports.
The Guinness verdict was a major vindication for Mr. Garside, who has been dogged by accusations of cheating by endurance runners skeptical 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 Mr. Garside denies.
Mr. 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, theglobeandmail.com reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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