The rules for achieving a successful circumnavigation of the Earth on foot are as follows:

Rule 1 · Start and Finish at the Same Location

The runner must start and finish at the same place.

Rule 2 · Minimum Distance Requirement

The runner must cover a total of at least 26,232 km on foot.

Rule 3 · Longitude Crossing Mandate

All lines of longitude must be crossed during the attempt, either on foot or in a plane, ship or other vehicle. The non running/walking components can not be added to the total distance covered, and must not result in the contravention of any other rules. The purpose of this rule is to ensure the runner/walker continues in the same general direction around the world when travelling between continents. Runners/walkers are strongly encouraged to make their routes as contiguous as possible.

Rule 4 · Coast-to-Coast Continental Crossings

The runner must cross at least four continents from “coast to coast”, covering a minimum of 3,000 km on each continent. The two “coasts” of any given continent must front different oceans1. A tolerance of 1 km from the waters of the ocean is allowed. The four “core” continents must be crossed contiguously (i.e. no gaps) and in the same general direction as the overall world run/walk attempt. In addition, a crossing of North America must entail either starting or finishing in either the US or Canada. In the case of an individual being unable to obtain a visa for both these countries, contact should be made with the WRA to discuss acceptable alternatives.

Rule 5 · Northern Hemisphere Variation

The only variation to Rule 4 is the case of a Northern Hemisphere world run. In this specific case, a runner may cross only three continents, those being Europe and Asia (i.e. the Eurasian landmass) and North America. Such a run, however, must entail running Eurasia from the North Atlantic Ocean to the North Pacific Ocean, finishing the Asian component no further west than the Russian town of Magadan (or commencing no further west than Magadan if a west to east world run direction is preferred by the runner), AND running North America from the North Pacific to the North Atlantic, commencing no further east than Anchorage, Alaska, and concluding no further west than Sydney, Nova Scotia (or the reverse if a west to east world run course is chosen). All other rules and guidelines shall remain the same, with the exception of Rule 6 (see below).

Rule 6 · Longitudinal Consecutiveness

The order of the four continents (and any additional land masses) that the runner takes must be longitudinally consecutive. For example, an acceptable order would be Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, South America. An example of an unacceptable order would be Europe, Australia, South America, Asia, North America.

Rule 7 · Antipodal Point Requirement

The runner must pass through antipodal points, within a tolerance of ten degrees of latitude and longitude. The only exception to this rule is when the runner chooses the Northern Hemisphere option, as defined in Rule 4.

Rule 8 · Running vs Walking Distance

The runner must run more than 50% of the total distance2. (i.e. walk less than 50%).

Rule 9 · Break and Rest Days

The runner may take as many breaks as desired. However, the total cumulative “time off” for a world run or walk must be limited to either six months (in the case of the total time being two years or less) or 25% of the total time (in the case of the total time being more than two years). The definition of “time off” here refers to the accumulation of consecutive periods of four days or more during which no allowable distance is added to a runner’s total distance covered. Periods of three consecutive days or less during which no allowable distance is covered are permitted and will be considered as regulation “rest days” and not added to the runner’s cumulative “time off”.  All time off, whether regulation or not, is included in the runner’s total time for the attempt.

Rule 10 · GPS Documentation Recommendation

The WRA very strongly recommends the use of a modern GPS device to facilitate documentation of a world run/walk attempt, particularly for those expecting to apply for a record.

  1. In the case of the European east coast” and Asian “west coast”, this is defined as either the Bosporus / Sea of Marmara/ Black Sea / Dardanelles waterway, OR the border between Russia and either Georgia, Azerbaijan, or Kazakhstan, OR the edge of the Caspian Sea between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, OR the ridge line along the Ural Mountains in Russia. ↩︎
  2. For world walkers, all the same rules apply except for Rule (8). ↩︎