Katharine and David Lowrie are a married couple who ran the length of South America, from south to north. They ran 6,504 miles in 15 months (equivalent of 250 marathons), starting on the day that the 2012 Olympics started, and finishing just a few weeks ago.

In a laughter-filled yet informative conversation, we discuss barefoot running, navigating by birdlife, the challenges of running with one’s spouse, and much more besides.

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Paying Our Rent

Running - David-and-Katharine-Lowrie
Dave and Katharine

“We really felt that it was about time that we paid our rent for living on this planet…” (Katharine Lowrie) We think it’s a fantastic place to be, and we have an obligation to pay back.” (Dave Lowrie)

I loved the way that Dave and Katharine described their relationship with our Earth, explaining why they have run 6,504 miles to inspire others to take better care of it.

I too firmly believe that our relationship with nature should be one of give-and-take, not take-take-take, as all too often it seems to be these days.

We don’t own the Earth, as Katharine reminded us. It’s not ours to use up and wear out, and hog all its resources for ourselves.

Nor are we squatters, illegally occupying a place that isn’t ours. We have a right to be here, but we also have a corresponding obligation to take good care of the place.

“Renting” seems by far the most appropriate term for our occupation here. We get to enjoy all the benefits of a remarkable eco-system – water, food, sunshine, and beauty – and in return all we should be doing is to leave the place nice for future inhabitants.

We also have to share it with our fellow tenants, the flora and fauna that are increasingly being squeezed into reserves and sanctuaries, rather than being allowed the space and resources to flourish.

Right now we’re falling down on our side of the bargain. We’re trashing the place. We will need to give the Earth back when we’ve finished with it, and at this rate it will be showing far more than normal wear and tear.

Sweaty in South America
Sweaty in South America

“The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.”
(Chief Seattle, The Chief Seattle’s Speech)

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
(Mahatma Gandhi)

Show Notes

1:45 The joys of a daily 4am start
2:30 Life before running
4:10 Preparing for running South America
5:20 Learning to run again – barefoot
8:20 Blogging from the road
9:15 Paying our rent for living on this planet, one step at a time
10:30 Birdwatching – linking you with Nature, no matter where you are
12:00 Navigating by birdlife
14:20 Environmental challenges in South America
15:40 The importance of buying local to reduce your environmental footprint
19:25 The educational outreach – online and in person
23:10 That awful “ToysRUs” advert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5SXybm6bss
24:50 Is running 6,504 miles good for your marriage? And tropical birds as marriage therapists
27:10 What next?
28:20 The joys of running and wildlife watching
29:20 Staying in touch with the Lowries


Finished! Arriving in the Caribbean
Finished! Arriving in the Caribbean

Expedition website for the 5000 Mile Project – and beyond

Educational outreach – Big Toe Classroom

Blog (recommended!). I especially enjoyed this provocative post about why Avaaz is pants. Signing a petition is not changing the world.

Very good and informative video on a day in the life of a 6,500 mile runner

Check out these great DOing pledges, and the CO2 savings made by lifestyle changes

Conservacion Patagonica

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