Jonas Deichmann Completes Round-the-World Triathlon

Jonas Deichmann, 34, has completed his round-the-world triathlon. Over 14 months, the German athlete swam 456km, ran 5,000km and cycled 21,000km. He crossed 18 countries and covered the distance of 120 Ironmans. COVID restrictions made his journey even more difficult and forced several route changes.

Deichmann began his triathlon by cycling from Munich to Croatia. Here, he started his swim leg. For 54 days, he swam for eight hours a day along the coast of Croatia, eventually covering the 456km. He admitted that swimming is his least favorite of the triathlon disciplines. As he got out of the water in Dubrovnik, Deichmann commented, “I don’t want to do that again…I am and will remain a cyclist.”

Smiles, but never again. Photo: @jonas_deichmann


“An amazing way to have a miserable time”

He thought that the next stage would be in his comfort zone, although cycling through a Russian winter would not be easy, even for an experienced rider. But COVID restrictions forced him to change his route. His original plan had been to cycle through the Balkans, Turkey, Russia, and China. But when he arrived in Istanbul in mid-December, he discovered that Russia had closed its borders.

After waiting for 13 weeks, he finally got a visa for Russia and made Vladivostok the endpoint of his cycle. He had to cover the Russian section in 60 days, the length of his visa. Battling extreme cold and winds, his speed varied from 18km an hour to 30km an hour. “Cycling across Russia in winter has been an amazing way to have an absolutely miserable time,” he said.

Photo: @jonas_deichmann


On May 18, he reached Vladivostok. Once again, he had to rethink his route. He wanted to hitchhike across the Pacific on a cargo ship, then run across the U.S. But American borders were closed and finding a boat to take him was practically impossible. Eventually, he flew to Mexico just before his visa ran out.

11 pairs of running shoes and 3 flat tires

He began his running leg in Tijuana. He covered 5,000km, pulling a cart with his supplies, and arrived in Cancun on October 5. Deichmann aimed for “consistency, not speed” so that he would make it to the end. He wore out 11 pairs of running shoes and had three flat tires. Everyone from police units to mariachi bands and running groups joined him for sections.

Arriving in Cancun. Photo: @jonas_deichmann


On October 29, Deichmann flew from Cancun to Lisbon to start the final leg of his journey. He cycled 4,000km across Portugal, Spain, France, and Switzerland before crossing the border back into Germany. As a special highlight, he stopped in Aedermansdorf, Switzerland, where his family lives. He hadn’t seen them for 14 months, and they gave him a welcome party.

With fewer daylight hours, he had limited cycling time but tried to cover 160km a day. In Seville, he felt “sicker than I have in years”. He took three days to recover, then upped his daily mileage to 200km to catch up. He arrived back in Munich on November 29.

Photo: @jonas_deichmann


Deichmann already knows his next big challenge, which he hopes to do in 2023. Though he says that it is “strictly secret”, he did admit that it would not include a swimming leg. And after 14 months of pushing himself to the limit, he says “I will also give my body 14 months of recovery.”