Tony Mangan let his emotions flow freely on Saturday, September 13, and shed tears of joy after disembarking from the Stena Line ferry at Dublin to be greeted by family and friends who were there to welcome him home from his amazing four-year Jog the World odyssey.
It seemed only a few months had elapsed since the Dublin globe-trotter featured on the cover of Irish Runner magazine and we gave him a big send-off on his world tour with a six-page special feature. At that time, Tony's emotions oscillated between exhilaration and apprehension, occasionally bordering on terror.
As Ronnie Bellew wrote: "Tony is experiencing exhilaration because he's about to embark on an ambition that has held him captive for two decades and apprehension because of all that could go wrong on an adventure that could become the stuff of legend."
The finishing line of the 2010 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon was the starting point for Tony's journey and when he completes this year's Dublin Marathon, Mangan will have completed a total of 50,000km in four years on the road.
The day after the 2010 Dublin Marathon Tony ran across Ireland as far as Dunquin, Dingle; the most westerly point in Ireland.
He then set off to Jog the World on a trip that would take him across North America, South America, Australasia and Asia, before returning to run through Europe last June.
It was a gruelling journey by any standards for the 57-year-old Liberties native, who said in his Irish Runner interview of four years ago: "The World Jog is not something thought up overnight over a few pints. It has been incubating in my mind for 20 years and has grown into an absolute monster. I feel like I am a prisoner of this idea and ambition."
Even before he set off, Mangan was no stranger to adventure. Long before he became a runner, he set off around the world on a bicycle at the age of 21, inspired by Dervla Murphy's travel classic, Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle.
Mangan ran his first marathon in Dublin in 1986, finishing in 3:09 after just five weeks' training. He pared that marathon best time down to 2:38, but it was only after emigrating to Colorado in 1994 that he discovered ultra-running and realised that the longer the distance was, the more competitive he became. His ultra-running CV is hugely impressive.
He set world-best distances for 24 and 48-hour treadmill running at the 2003 Dublin Marathon and reached an ultra-running pinnacle four years later when breaking the world indoor 48-hour running record in the Czech city of Brno.
He completed 426.179 km in that race, running for 47 hours and walking just 750 metres.
Mangan, who runs with Metropolitan St Brigid's Athletic Club in Islandbridge, is currently traversing the country on a solo run that is also a fundraiser for the AWARE charity. His route today takes him from Derry to Malin. He is receiving a rousing reception along his 1,600km route and hopes to complete his running odyssey in Dublin on Bank Holiday Monday, October 27.
You can find this extraordinary runner's route around Ireland at www.worldjog.com. Get out there and log a few miles with the world traveller.