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1000 candy bars later, I have once circled the world.

Jonas Deichmann mit Sombrero

He inspires many people with his adventures: Jonas Deichmann cycled, swam and ran once around the world. He was on the road for 429 days. In an interview with ISPO.com, the 34-year-old talks about beautiful experiences with people and magical moments in solitude. He also reveals his secret to mastering not-so-good situations and how candy bars helped him swim 460 kilometers in the Adriatic Sea.


The figures of his new record are impressive: Jonas Deichmann swam 460 kilometers in the Adriatic Sea - accompanied only by his raft, which he pulled behind himself. He covered 21,600 kilometers on his bike, the bare essentials attached to the frame and under the handlebars. And for his 120 marathons (5060 kilometers) across Mexico, his belongings were stowed in a trailer (a so-called Kidrunner), which he also pulled behind him.

His journey started and ended at Odeonsplatz in Munich. It took him around the world in 429 days. Along the Croatian coast via Turkey to Vladivostock, then on foot from Tijuana to Cancun, for the last stage from Portugal to Germany he climbed back on his gravel bike "Esposa".

Jonas Deichmann beim Fahrradfahren
The adventurer feels most comfortable on the bike
Image credit: Markus Weinberg

ISPO.com: How are you doing now health-wise?

Jonas Deichmann: My physiotherapist recently checked me out. He was surprised how flexible I was after the marathons. I don't think this project did me any harm. I also got through it without any major injuries or illnesses. Of course I had a few aches and pains, but nothing bad.

Swam 460 Kilometers in the Adriatic Sea without Experience

And how did you prepare for this adventure in advance? You didn't use such a training method for swimming?

I have set variouslong-distance records over the past four years. Bicycling has always been my showcase discipline, and that's where I got my basic endurance. So I didn't have to train specifically for that. Also, I've always been a decent runner, though not aprofessional runner. In swimming, I have the seahorse. So zero experience. I did a lot of running up front. Swimming I didn't train at all. So without any experience, I threw myself into Lake Constance, with a raft, which worked. Then I thought to myself, if you can swim through Lake Constance, then you can also do it in the Adriatic. But everything is quite different. The wind, the current, the salt water. It's just hell.

Jonas Deichmann schwimmt in der Adria
The bare essentials Deichmann pulls behind him
Image credit: Markus Weinberg

When swimming in the Adriatic Sea, did you have less beautiful moments then?

In Croatia, the water is very, very clear - at least during the day. You can see the ten meters below you on the coast. Mentally, though, it's very boring. As long as I can still see my hands and feet, it's okay. But in the dark, it's uncomfortable. It's a queasy feeling. I know in my head that there are no shark attacks in Croatia, but you still think about what's swimming around there...

Doesn't that cause panic?

I never panic. I focus. And I block things out.

I tell myself: This is no use to me now, don't speed up, stay in rhythm. That's the country over there, that's where we're going now, and that's the only thing that counts now.

Jonas Deichmann schwimmt in der Adria
Kilometer after kilometer alone through the Adriatic Sea
Image credit: Markus Weinberg

But to swim 460 kilometers at a stretch, you have to block out a lot?

I visualize things very strongly. With a project like this, there's no room for doubt. My big secret: I see the finish line long before I get there. In addition, I break down the big goals into smaller goals. If day 1 was hell in the swim, then I don't say, that was just ten kilometers now and there are 450 kilometers to go. That is extremely demotivating. Arriving is my vision. But my goal is the next rock, the next gas station, the next candy bar. I always swim to the next candy bar. 1000 candy bars later, I've circumnavigated the globe once.

Jonas Deichmann beim Essen
The vision: arriving - the destination: the next gas station
Image credit: Markus Weinberg

All of Mexico Celebrates the German Forrest Gump

Eating a candy bar was certainly one of the good moments on your triathlon around the world - what were happy and special moments for you?

Mexico clearly stands out. Not only the dog La Coqueta, who followed me 130 kilometers, but simply the enthusiasm of the people. Because what remains of such a project? Of course, it is fun for me to be on the limit or to work towards a goal. But I often ask myself, what will you remember when you are old? It's not the record, that's a bonus. What remains are experiences and the memories. And I experienced some really bizarre things in Mexico.

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Sporty, with full focus on one topic & to the point: That's the monthly Editorial Letter from ISPO - Perspectives of Sports and Outdoor.

What, for example?

Whole police detachments walked along, their machine guns at hand, singing their marching songs. Or the drug cartel came by and wanted to take a selfie with me. I thought I was in the wrong movie. But the lonely moments in Baja California were also beautiful. I was running through the desert. And you know that behind the next cactus, behind the next bend, there's a beautiful place to camp. You're lying under your mosquito net in the open air, in the middle of the wilderness. Those are nights I will never forget. And of course Lake Baikal is part of it. I have camped on the lake. It's these lonely moments and special encounters with people that stay with me.

Jonas Deichmann vor seinem Zelt
Jonas Deichmann enjoys lonely moments in Mexico
Image credit: Ravir

Some of them were quite a few people who accompanied you? In Mexico, they also called you "El Forrest Gump alemán"?

In Mexico, I was first a local story, and then came La Coqueta. And then she became the most famous dog in Mexico. I was on the front page of every daily newspaper the next day, on every TV station. From one day to the next. A month later, everyone in Mexico really knew me. In the end, it also spilled over to Germany.

Begleiter von Jonas Deichmann beim Marathon
Companion on the marathons through Mexico
Image credit: Markus Weinberg

Script for a Film: “No One Will Believe You”.

Were you surprised by so much attention?

My run through Mexico has made all the attention very unique. If it were a script for a movie - no one would believe you, it's completely exaggerated. That's why the fact that it's going so well has already surprised me.

Die Medien interviewen Jonas Deichmann in Mexiko
"El Forrest Gump alemán" causes a stir
Image credit: Markus Weinberg

Why do you think you inspire so many people with your triathlon around the world?

I see several points. My triathlon around the world is currently unique, I am unrivaled. Because it was the Corona year, and no one did a global project. I have shown: You can dream, and it still goes on somehow. That's a very important point. Yes, I'm a competitive athlete, but that's not my focus. When it comes to how many kilometers I can do in a day, that's what athletes are interested in, but not the masses. It's the experiences, the encounters with people, the stories that inspire. It's simply a project with many facets.

95 Percent Headache: “In the End, the Limit Is Me”

You talk about many facets of your journey in your book "The limit is only me" - what is the essence of the title?

The message "The limit is only me" is addressed to everyone. I'm not the fastest cyclist, I have a good physical condition, but so do others. I'm just always convinced that I can do something. Ninety-five percent is a matter of the head. There are always objections: Yes, but you've been riding a bike all your life - how am I supposed to do that now? Now I can say: Yes, but I've never swum in my entire life, and now I've swum 460 kilometers. I'm not a runner either, but now I've run 120 marathons. So: the limit is me in the end. And if you have a dream, believe strongly in it, and are positive, you can achieve so much more than you think is possible.

Jonas Deichmann liest ein Buch
A travel diary with depth "The limit is only me".
Image credit: Markus Weinberg

That's right - you definitely showed that. Beforehand, you were already worried about whether the technology would be able to cope with everything?

On cycling adventures I always know: I can do it, but will the material hold out? That's the bigger question. There's no help if something breaks. That's why I was in the cold chamber of the Deutsche Bahn with my Gravel bike beforehand.

Why is your bike actually called Esposa (Spanish for wife)?

I spend so much time with her, and she is a beauty, so she must be a woman.

Are you talking to your esposa?

No, I don't do that. But I like to sing very much on the bike and while running.

Schnee Foto von Jonas Deichmann
Snow, ice and cold: Jonas Deichmann experienced extremes - well warmed by his Ryzon jacket
Image credit: Andrej Bavchenkov

Future Project: Once around the World Climate Neutral

Will your Esposa be back for your next project?

In principle, I can imagine getting my butt used to a horse saddle. The days after riding in Kharkiv, Ukraine, were hell because I could hardly sit on my bicycle saddle. But I could imagine riding through Mongolia. I would also find that exciting.

Could this mode of transportation eventually replace bicycling?

I have now also realized once again: Cycling will always be my favorite discipline. I also had a lot of fun running, and even while swimming I saw the world from a completely different perspective. Bicycling is so always the first discovery, there I was now in over 100 countries. Half of it was nice, has been enough, but to the other half I have to go again. With more time.

Jonas Deichmann auf dem Balkan
Preferring to travel by bike - Jonas Deichmann in the Balkans
Image credit: Markus Weinberg

Traveling carbon neutral was very important to you in this project, but you had to fly two routes....

Yes, both in Vladivostok and Cancun I had the problem of not finding a sailboat that could take me. I tried, tried and tried. And at some point I got the message that the likelihood of me finding another carbon-neutral transportation option here was less than five percent. I did my best, but the journey still has to continue. That's what I've learned on my expeditions: I have a plan, but I don't know what to expect. My philosophy: I make the decision with the knowledge I have at the time, and I stand by it. And even if it was wrong, I don't think to myself afterwards: Oh, shouldn't you have done it differently. It's like that, check it off, look ahead. That's why the decision to fly was okay for me. But in any case, I would like to travel around the world again in a CO2-neutral way.

Jonas Deichmann hält sein Fahrrad triumphal in die Luft
The end of the journey around the world at the Odeonsplatz in Munich
Image credit: Pheline Hanke

Interesting insights on Ryzon, Jonas Deichmann's outfitter: Marketing Manager Sven Schröllkamp in an interview.

If you want to see Jonas Deichmann as part of the European Outdoor Film Tour: Here you can find more information and tickets.

You can find out more about Jonas Deichmann on his website.

Jonas Deichmann: "I live on the bike".

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