Artist runs 90 miles along Roman route in just one day as part of performance project

Dr Tim Brennan, an Associate Dean in the University of Sunderland's Faculty of Arts, Design and Media.

Dr Tim Brennan, an Associate Dean in the University of Sunderland's Faculty of Arts, Design and Media.

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AN ARTIST took a 90-mile epic running challenge as he ran a route which traces the edge of the Roman Empire.

Dr Tim Brennan, an associate dean in the University of Sunderland’s Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, completed the task within just 24 hours as part of his major performance art project.

He had previously completed a solo run of the Roman Antonine Wall, tracing the 50-mile frontier from the west to east coast of Scotland.

He also completed a run from Carlisle to Gateshead Quays along the length of Hadrian’s Wall.

The latest stage at the weekend was across edges of the Roman Empire in Continental Europe, from Katwijk-Aan-Zee, on the edge of the North Sea to Herwen-De-Bijland, near the German border.

Armed with just a head torch, isotonic drinks and some food, the 47-year-old set off at 4am on Saturday and finished the run in the early hours of Sunday morning. Dr Brennan, who lives in Sunderland, only began running two years ago and, as his passion grew for the activity, he started raising money for good causes.

The idea came to him after he successfully completed both the 26.2 mile London Marathon and Sunderland’s new Marathon of the North, last year.

However, as an artist he could not help but ask questions of the journey he was taking while running, he said.

He has already produced a celebrated body of work through the mediums of performance, photography, sculpture, writing, drawing, curating and teaching since 1987.

His unique way of working involves engaging participants in guided walks through the art of conversation.

Over the last two decades, he has developed more than 40 such critically-acclaimed manoeuvres across the UK and Europe, which have been placed in rural and urban settings, as well as interior spaces from the British Museum, to stately homes and retail interiors.

Running the edges of the Roman Empire in ultra-marathon stages is now his main art practice, and a “manoeuvre” he believes will take him the next 25 years and his working life to complete.

“I have developed the runs as part of my ongoing art practice, taking a journey on the edges of the Roman Empire in ultra marathon stages,” Dr Brennan explained.

The next stage of his journey begins in 2015 when he takes on the Roman Frontier in Germany, the Limes Germanicus, which is well documented and has UNESCO World Heritage Status.

He expects this part of the project will take him three to five days.