MIR’s 30 Years: Overland Expeditions – Running Through Russia and Beyond (VIDEO)

MIR’s 30 Years: Overland Expeditions – Running Through Russia and Beyond (VIDEO)

(Douglas Grimes is co-founder and president of MIR Corporation.)

MIR is well known for creating imaginative overland expeditions by car, motorcycle, and 4x4s. Yet one of the most memorable, complex expeditions our MIR team ever undertook was on foot: working with 79 participants on “Blue Planet Run,” including trainers, our support staff team, and the runners who ran all the way across Russia and beyond for 5,500 miles – a journey of inspiration, dedication and generosity. In all, the runners covered 15,200 miles in 16 countries in 95 days.

Running for WaterIn 2007, the Blue Planet Run was organized as a round-the-world relay with top-notch runners from 13 countries, promoting awareness and raising money for safe drinking water. Clean water is not only a global political issue but a top global health issue as well, with more than 1 billion people lacking access to clean, safe drinking water, according to the World Health Organization.

Often taken for granted, safe drinking water is a global health concern <br>Photo credit: Vlad Ushakov

Often taken for granted, safe drinking water is a global health concern
Photo credit: Vlad Ushakov

This video highlights how our MIR team not only was challenged by the complex layers of logistics, but also inspired by these dedicated teams running through Russia and beyond, promoting their global cause for cleaner, safer water.

Running the NumbersOur MIR Custom Group team handled the logistics for teams of four runners each and support staff, with one runner always running 24 hours a day: from the Polish/Belarus border across Western Russia, Siberia, and Mongolia to eastern China. We started planning MIR’s portion of the run two years in advance, in 2005, measuring the runners’ route from the starting point near Brest, Belarus to the finish line in the port city of Jiangyin, China.

Our MIR team worked with the support crew, ensuring runners had everything they needed  <br>Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

Our MIR team worked with the support crew, ensuring runners had everything they needed
Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

It wasn’t easy, since we had to measure in one-runner increments in about 8-minute miles, or about 10 kilometers for each runner. We knew each participant would run for about 90 minutes at a time and then pass the baton on to the next runner; that meant each runner on each team was on the road for six hours a day. When one runner was finished with his or her running slot, the other runners would be waiting, having gone on ahead – nighttime, daytime, 24/7.

We at MIR had to figure out where the first runner would begin and end his or her segment, then do the same for the next runner, and the next runner. Once we determined that, we also had to figure out the best place for everyone to spend each night so they weren’t too far from the next place. That’s not easy in places like Siberia!

On city pavement and country roads, the Blue Planet runners  covered more than 15,000 miles <br>Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

On city pavement and country roads, the Blue Planet runners covered more than 15,000 miles
Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

Race to the FinishOur research and work were filled with minute details, even as we created mini-itineraries for each of the teams, broken up into where they would stay, where they would eat, and what kinds of meals would be served. Of course we knew these runners definitely would be hungry from burning all those calories, not to mention feeding the support personnel for each team.

We also arranged for 10 mini-vans to travel with the runners, shuttling them each time they were starting and finishing their legs of the journey – a lot of miles. Another layer of tasks involved finding precise locations of gas stations for those vehicles, necessary driving permits, as well as preparing in advance for emergency repairs.

Our 2007 MIR crew truly ran the distance to make the Blue Planet Run a success  (BTW, the sign says 'MIR') <br>Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

Our 2007 MIR crew truly ran the distance to make the Blue Planet Run a success (BTW, the sign says ‘MIR’)
Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

It was a dynamic epic journey for these dedicated international Blue Planet Runners, and for all of us at MIR. With so many complexities and logistical challenges, this multi-country overland expedition on foot was worth it for a most worthy cause: illuminating the global issues of clean water, and offering solutions for bringing safe drinking water to so much of the world’s population.

More on “MIR’s 30 Years”

Learn more about “MIR’s 30 Years” in the stories below, all embedded with videos. They include MIR’s beginnings and the mindset and mission of MIR’s president and co-founder, Douglas Grimes; MIR’s utterly unique travel offerings at the crossroads of Europe and Asia; and Siberia, one of MIR’s favorites specialties.

You can also view the video series of “MIR’s 30 Years” on MIR’s YouTube channel, MIRCorpTravel, specifically under the playlist, “MIR’s 30 Years.”

MIR’s Beginnings

MIR’s One-of-a-Kind Journeys

Siberia, A MIR Specialty

MIR, in a Nutshell

(Top photo credit: Douglas Grimes – A Blue Planet runner strides along a rural road in Belarus.)

PUBLISHED: October 30, 2016

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