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SWIM, BIKE, RUN - Around The World

Over the course of 14 months, 34-year-old German adventurer Jonas Deichmann circumnavigated the world in a self-supported Triathlon 360. From battling rough seas in the Adriatic, to cycling through blizzards in Siberia and running long days in the heat of Mexico, he did the equivalent of 120 IRONMAN races in 429 days.

The Swim

460km & 54 days, Karlobag to Dubrovnik, Croatian Coast

Jonas set off from Munich on 26 September 2020 and spent five days cycling to northern Croatia, where he started the swim leg of his Triathlon 360 at Karlobag.

The swim was the toughest part of the challenge says Jonas, who carried basic essential gear with him in a small raft attached to his wetsuit. "Swimpacking is a pretty miserable discipline: tough in the water but also on shore with an almost impossible logistic and extreme exposure to the forces of nature. But the hardest moments are also the best memories," he says.

It was a lonely leg, out in the Adriatic Sea for hours at a time, and he had open chafe wounds and inflammation from the saltwater exposure, as well as from a calorie deficit because he couldn't eat in the water when the sea was rough.

"I usually swam along the shore, but sometimes I had to swim to a peninsula or island, and I'd have to cross 7-8km of open sea. At day five or six in the water, I miscalculated. There was some current, so it took me longer to get where I was going. It got dark and I was still 3km from the shore. For someone who is not a swimmer, out there in the open sea, and it is pitch black, I was feeling that I shouldn't be there."

The Bike

17 000km & 180 days, Dubrovnik to Vladivostok, Russia

The first part of the bike leg took Jonas from Dubrovnik to Istanbul, where his journey ground to a halt in December. With many borders closed due to the pandemic, it seemed he wouldn't be able to get a visa to enter Russia and head east to the Pacific Ocean. Not to be deterred, he spent some weeks bikepacking around southern Turkey until a visa was approved and he could take up his journey again.

Jonas crossed the Ukraine border into a snowy Russia in March 2021, where he started the grueling 10 000km trek that would take him across Siberia to arrive in Vladivostok in mid-May.

"Cycling across Russia in winter and spring was an amazing way to have an absolutely miserable time," he says. He cycled in blizzards across snow and ice, and through plenty of mud and water as spring brought milder temperatures. "Spring was the worst, when the temperature was around 0 degrees C during the day and -15 degrees C at night, because your clothes get wet and you sleep in the wet cold after that. In the morning, your cycling shoes are frozen. I also had massive mechanical problems with my bottom bracket. I had to change it twice and also had to pee on my bike a few times to unfreeze the chain."

The Run

5 060km in 117 days, Tijuana to Cancun, Mexico

From Vladivostok, Jonas flew to Mexico for the run leg that would take him the length of the country. He set off from the US border wall in Tijuana on 10 June 2021 for what would be approximately a marathon a day for 117 days. Along the way he went through 11 pairs of running shoes, lost 8kg and became a national celebrity.

He describes it as the most joyful leg of his journey. "When I ran across Baja California it was pretty lonely, and I was camping every night by myself. When I crossed over to the mainland, there was a dog from the streets who followed me for 130km. I first tried to get rid of the dog, because I was running through cities, but she was sleeping in front of my tent and waiting for me. I gave an interview on TV and I looked for someone to adopt her, and Mexico is such a crazy place that she got adopted and a reception from the mayor of the next city. The next day I was also on the news as the German Forrest Gump. After that I was never alone. The next day there were 20 people running with me, and after that sometimes as many as 100."

The Final Bike Leg

4 000km in 29 days, Lisbon to Munich

After a hero's welcome in Cancun, Jonas flew to Portugal for the final stretch of his circumnavigation around the world. Reunited with his bike, 'Esposa' in Lisbon, he set off at the end of October crossing Spain, France and Switzerland en route to Germany, where he arrived at the end of November.

"After 429 days on the road and a distance of 120 x IRONMAN accross 18 countires I am back in Munich where it all began September last year. It has been an incredible adventure with so many ups and downs but for now I am just very happy to have finished." he said on his arrival.


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