The Marathon Man

Tristan Miller is running 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise money for UNICEF. This week he takes on Dubai’s marathon

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The challenge

52 marathons in 52 weeks. A year of marathon running, across continents and climates, back and forth over the globe in an order that makes no sense at all (see map). Is Aussie Tristan Miller crazy? ‘I’ve always been up for an adventure,’ he tells Time Out. ‘Look, the only reason you’re talking to me is because it’s a bit out there and it’s a bit crazy and that’s what’s capturing people’s interest. If I can raise the profile of what I’m doing and raise money for UNICEF in doing that, then I reckon I’ve done something really positive.’

The catalyst

Miller was made redundant last year, which he says was the catalyst for this once-in-a-lifetime endeavour. ‘I said if I’m ever going to do it, now’s the time,’ he says. He sold his apartment and all of his belongings to fund the project, appropriately branded ‘Run Like Crazy’.

The beginning

Miller kicked off 2010 with the New Year’s marathon in Zurich, Switzerland. The race starts on the stroke of midnight, exactly at the point New Year’s Day begins, setting the tone for Miller’s year ahead. It didn’t prove to be the best start, though. ‘I got a bit of a cold as I was leaving Australia,’ he tells us. ‘So you can imagine that running on New Year’s Eve at midnight didn’t really help that. Or going from 36°C in Melbourne to -6°C in Switzerland.’

The risks

Okay, it’s to be expected that all this globe-trotting is going to take its toll, evidenced by the fact that Miller is, after his first marathon, already ill. Has he checked out the health risks? ‘I spoke to a couple of doctors and none of them recommended it,’ he laughs. But he maintains he likes a challenge.

The training

Miller has actually only run five regular marathons in the past – that’s one fewer than what he’s attempting in January alone. But he did run the Comrades Marathon in South Africa last year, which is 90km (more than 55 miles) over tough terrain. ‘Before that I’d been running a marathon every weekend leading up to it, for about 10 weeks, just to get my legs used to that kind of distance,’ he says. So he’s not exactly an amateur.

The Dubai Marathon

Miller’s in town this week to run one of six marathons on his list for January. He’ll be fresh (or not so) from the Mumbai marathon, and jets off straight after the Dubai run for another in the Canary Islands on January 24. ‘I’ve never been to Dubai except for the airport,’ he admits. Considering he’s not sticking around for long, hopefully he can sight-see and run at the same time.

The big one

Miller is most looking forward to Lake Hovsgol Marathon in Mongolia, which he’s tackling in July. It’s 100km. ‘I don’t really know how that’s going to turn out, to be honest,’ Miller admits. Speaking about the 90km race he ran in South Africa, he says, ‘You can’t walk for a few days after that. So I’m really intrigued to see how [the Mongolian marathon] will impact the weeks after it. It’s called Run Like Crazy for a reason.’ Yes, you read it right. Intrigued.

The cause

There’s a method to Miller’s madness, and that’s to raise money for a good cause. The idea is to raise at least US$100,000 (Dhs367,000) for UNICEF.
Donate at, where Miller will also be blogging about his experiences.

Here’s a typical month for Tristan Miller in 2010. Running wherever the marathons are means there’s little opportunity to stick to a sensible route around the world.


Feb 7 Bad Fussing, Germany
Feb 12 Luxor, Egypt
Feb 21 Verona, Italy
Feb 28 Tokyo, Japan

Miller will be running some particularly interesting marathons over the next year. These are a couple of our favourites.

1 May 15 Great Wall, China
2 May 23 Kigali, Rwanda
3 June 7 Easter Island, Chile
4 Aug 7 Omsk, Russia/Siberia
5 Aug 21 Reykjavik, Iceland
6 Dec 4 Reggae Marathon, Negril, Jamaica

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