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 Longest solo run around US perimeter-world record set by Reza Balunchi

[Jan 5]NEW YORK, USA--Reza Baluchi, 36, spent the past six months running around the perimeter of the United States; after a 11,000-mile (17,701kilometer) trip he has set a world record for the longest solo run around the US perimeter.

     "Why you running for?" Baluchi said he had been asked. "Making bridge," he replied.

    Reza Baluchi, who obtained political asylum in the United States five years ago, said the goal of his run was to promote world peace. He dedicated his 50-mile (80-kilometer) a day journey to his father, an Iranian farmer who died in 2006.

    He started his run from Central Park, heading south along the eastern seaboard. He started his current run on Father's Day this year, in honor of his father who died in 2006. He had not seen his father since leaving Iran 11 years ago.

    His run was sponsored by the Iranian-American community. "I want people to know that the Iranians want peace. We are peaceful people," Baluchi said.

   The previous world record for the same course was 10,608 miles (17,071 kilometers) in 280 days, or about nine months. It was set in 1983 by Robert Sweetgall, whose run started and finished in Washington D.C.

   The 36-year-old former member of the Iranian National Cycling Team left Iran a dozen years ago after defying Islamic authorities with nonreligious practices like eating instead of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, for which he reportedly was flogged.  

   On Highway 41 in Florida it was crocodiles. Just outside El Paso, Texas, he was arrested, fingerprinted and detained for seven hours before a tobacco chewing police officer learned that Reza Baluchi, 35, by birth an Iranian, did not represent a threat to border security.

    An American citizen who lives in Denver, where he works as a mechanic, Reza Baluchi has made running a way of life. It started after he received a beating from his mother. Baluchi, age nine at the time, ran for two weeks until he reached Tehran, nearly 200 miles southeast of Rasht, his home village in Iran.

   Asked if he had problems with crocodiles as he ran Highway 41 along Everglades National Park in Florida he said, "Yeah! I had problem. Sixty miles I had problem." In the northern part of the nation he faced bobcats and wolves, facts of life that induced him to carry mace and a flare.

   Readers can track Baluchi's journey by logging onto


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