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AROUND SLOVAKIA

Endurance runner fends off dog-attacks en route to China

IN A bid to reach China under his own power, runner Jozef Rajchl is part-way through his attempt to cover 11,722 kilometres in less than 152 days. So far he’s on course, at least physically, the SITA newswire wrote.

IN A bid to reach China under his own power, runner Jozef Rajchl is part-way through his attempt to cover 11,722 kilometres in less than 152 days. So far he’s on course, at least physically, the SITA newswire wrote.

Rajchl, an ultra-marathon runner from Devínska Nová Ves, set off from Slovakia on March 8 and has now reached Greece. If he completes the route, which passes through twelve countries in Europe and Asia, within the set time he will be included in the Guinness book of records.

“I want to connect the birthplace of Olympics with the site of this year’s Summer Olympics,” the 26-year old, who ran across Europe three years ago, explained.

A major problem for the runner during his expedition – entitled Asia 2008 on My Own Feet - has been stray dogs, for whom the runner has been potential prey since he reached Macedonia, the SITA newswire wrote.

“They move around in packs of six to nineteen, and go for your Achilles tendons,” Rajchl told the SITA newswire by telephone. “They bit me two times. These are not small creatures: they are mainly large sheepdogs.” Apart from the attention of predators he has had to struggle through snow up to his knees.

So far, the most dangerous traffic he has experienced between Bratislava and Athens has been in Hungary, and he’s encountered the most hospitality in Serbia.

On his expedition, which will traverse the Altai mountains, the Mongolian steppe and the Gobi Desert, Rajchl is accompanied by a medic on a bicycle and three drivers piloting a support car.

His aim is to break both Slovak and international records for the longest and fastest run between two Olympic locations, to present Slovakia and its culture abroad, and to make a documentary “Asia 2008 on Own Feet, aka the Ordinary World of Ordinary People”.

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