We have a Winner!! And it might surprise you a little

michael hodson jeannie mark nora dunn in moscow

at the starting line, immediately prior to the trash talking

My original thought behind the Ultimate Train Challenge was to try to set a Guinness World Record for Longest Continuous Train Journey. After dealing with them back and forth a number of times, I gave up on trying to get certified.

They are a pain in the ass to deal with.

There were going to be a number of rules: you couldn’t go back on any rail track you had been on already and you had to spend the night aboard a train every night. I am glad that I did the UTC11, because it became quickly apparent that those rules I had floating around in my head would be incredibly difficult to manage. For one, there really aren’t enough night trains in Europe to pull off every night on a train, without some massive planning.

So we ended up with a simple — whoever did the most miles wins. Not that winning was ever really the goal, but it gave each of us something fun to shoot at and talk about with our followers.

Plus, we kinda are slightly competitive, but I really think the contest we all wanted secretly to win was the Scavenger Hunt

So, with no further ado, here are the results of the First Ultimate Train Challenge. Because I couldn’t figure any better way to calculate miles, I just used Google Maps when I could and did a couple searches for a few of the legs that didn’t show up there. Luckily we were all on the train together from Bejing to the finish, so that was a bit easier to calculate.

michael hodson with bride in hanoi

bridesmaid or winner?

Who did YOU think was going to win?


  • Lisbon to Porto and back — 394 miles
  • Lisbon to Madrid — 389 miles
  • Madrid to Barcelona — 384 miles
  • Barcelona to Narbonne — 157 miles
  • Narbonne to Bordeaux — 244 miles
  • Bordeaux to Monaco — 512 miles
  • Monaco to Paris — 593 miles
  • Paris to Brussels — 193 miles
  • Brussels to Berlin — 478 miles
  • Berlin to Warsaw — 367 miles
  • Warsaw to Vilnuis — 290 miles
  • Vilnuis to Moscow — 489 miles
  • Moscow to Bejing to Shanghai to Guilen to Hanoi to Saigon –10,273

    jeannie mark in funny hat, nomadic chick in hat

    do you have to be this cool to win?


  • Lisbon to Madrid — 389 miles
  • Madrid to Seville — 331 miles
  • Seville to Barcelona — 631 miles
  • Barcelona to Montpellier — 214 miles
  • Monpellier to Paris — 475 miles
  • Paris to Milan — 529 miles
  • Milan to  Verona — 100 miles
  • Verona to Graz — 331 miles
  • Graz to Budapest — 246 miles
  • Budapest to Kiev — 689 miles
  • Kiev to Moscow — 757 miles
  • Moscow to Bejing to Shanghai to Guilen to Hanoi to Saigon –10,273

    nora dunn professional hobo

    the sly look of a winner?


  • Lisbon to Madrid — 389 miles
  • Madrid to Granada — 267 miles
  • Granada to Barcelona — 560 miles
  • Barcelona to Zurich — 642 miles
  • Zurich to Linz — 361 miles
  • Linz to Prague — 154 miles
  • Prague to Budapest — 328 miles
  • Budapest to Lviv — 360 miles
  • Lviv to Ivano-Frankivsk — 83 miles
  • Ivano-Frankivsk to Kiev — 362 miles
  • Kiev to Moscow — 757 miles
  • Moscow to Bejing to Shanghai to Guilen to Hanoi to Saigon –10,273

Drum roll please…….

Take this with a slight grain of salt — or more importantly with the knowledge that I did the math and that is not my forte….


Michael — 14,763 miles

Nora — 14,536 miles

and our winner!!

Jeannie 14,965


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About Michael Hodson

overland adventure traveler


18 Responses to We have a Winner!! And it might surprise you a little

  1. Deb November 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Congrats on such an accomplishment guys and Congrats to Jeannie for winning the first Ultimate Train Challenge.
    Deb recently posted..ThePlanetD Joins The Travel And Escape Family

  2. Sophie November 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    I just loved following the three on this awesome challenge! Jeannie sure snuck up on Nora & Micheal! Never would of guessed she would of won. But congrats to you Jeannie! Well done:)
    Sophie recently posted..Buy Christmas Presents Here. Most Popular Gifts of 2011.

  3. Dustin Main - Skinny Backpacker November 4, 2011 at 5:04 am #

    Over 44000 miles combined. That’s the pretty serious ground you covered. Congrats to all three of you :)
    Dustin Main – Skinny Backpacker recently posted..Meadow of the Rings

  4. Fidel November 6, 2011 at 1:59 am #

    Congrats to everyone! I enjoyed following this. I like how each person took a different route, experiencing some great places along the way. Because I am keen on going to Ukraine next year, Nora’s route is the one I liked the best.
    Great job all of you!
    Fidel recently posted..Travel Bluesday Photo Memory

  5. Keith Louttit November 6, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Obviously NORA won because she did it in fewer miles than the others… I’m not talking Rosie Ruiz miles, but smart miles… ecofriendly miles… that’s the 3rd millenium way to do it…

    Great job Nora!!!

  6. Randy November 6, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Amazing! In my book you are all winners. :) Congrats guys!
    Randy recently posted..Living Like A Local With @Roomorama: Prague Edition

  7. Keith Louttit November 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I got $500.00 U.S. and six months of health care that says Nora won… as long as she don’t eat no more of them ugly looking lobsters…

  8. Roy Marvelous November 20, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    Congrats Jeannie!

  9. Angie Orth of Angie Away November 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Congrats to all three of you! What an amazing accomplishment and a great story to add to your long list of stories!
    Angie Orth of Angie Away recently posted..Adios, Espana!

  10. Fida November 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    Congratulations all three of you! You must have been exhausted! How long did you sleep upon arrival in Saigon :)
    Fida recently posted..Nov 2, Onion Market (Zibelemrit) in Bern

  11. Abi November 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Congratulations for the imagination, action and tenacity to pull this off. All of you. Bravo!
    Abi recently posted..P-P-Pizza Ideas: The World’s Most Creative Pizzeria

  12. Candice November 23, 2011 at 5:09 am #

    What a freaking unreal journey, congrats to ALL of you!
    Candice recently posted..The Hilarious Road Signs of Northern Bay, Newfoundland

  13. Alex Berger November 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Talk about some major mileage coverage. Well done guys!

  14. Christy @ Technosyncratic November 24, 2011 at 6:40 am #

    Those final numbers are really close to each other – looks like it was a tight race! Just out of curiosity, how many nights did y’all end up spending on a train?
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Another Digital Nomad Goes to Chiang Mai

  15. Cailin November 30, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    Congrats Jeannie, you bet Michael at his own game! 😉
    Cailin recently posted..Wales was a pleasant surprise

  16. Theodora January 4, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Jesus. You guys must have nightmares about being on trains… An impressive tally, though. For all of you.
    Theodora recently posted..9 Life Lessons Children Learn From Travel

  17. Nomadic Samuel February 27, 2012 at 4:53 am #

    Close race. It seems like just yesterday that you were doing this.
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Man Smiling | Characters of Egypt Festival | Travel Photo

  18. Mary @ Green Global Travel March 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Wow, that’s a lot of miles! I’m guessing you had “train legs” for quite some time.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..GO GREEN TIP #67: Save Green On Gas!