If you’re in need of a little inspiration, we’ve got you covered. From one-legged marathons to races in beyond freezing sub-100ºF below zero weather, these 10 amazing running feats will inspire you to push a little harder the next time you’re out on the road.
In 2017, ultra-distance runner Courtney Dauwalter set the American women’s 24-hour record by running 155 miles at the Riverbank One-Day Classic. While her effort that day was amazing, she’s set some other pretty impressive marks, too. Recently, at the Moab 240, she finished in 2 days, 9 hours and 59 minutes — beating the second-place finisher (men included) by more than 10 hours!
There have been quite a few runners who have attempted to traverse the United States by foot. But no one has done it more quickly than Pete Kostelnick, who broke a 36-year-old record by completing the 3,067-mile journey in 42 days, 6 hours and 30 minutes. That’s an average of 72 miles per day for almost six weeks!
Even for a 20-year-old, completing a marathon can be a big accomplishment. Fauja Singh from London didn’t even run his first marathon until he was 89 years old and he has completed seven marathons since. The latest was his 8-hour effort at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which he ran at 100 years old! In addition to this record, Singh’s final accomplishment was completing a 10K in Hong Kong in 1 hour, 32 minutes at the age of 101.
Spanish ultra-runner Ricardo Abad Martinez has a record that just might beat all the rest. For 607 consecutive days, Martinez ran the 26.2-mile distance. This feat broke the previous mark set by Stefaan Engels, who ran a marathon every day for one year. While still very impressive, Martinez smashed his mark by nearly running a marathon every day for two years!
Larry Chloupek II lost his leg to cancer at the age of 7, but that hasn’t stopped him from challenging himself to extreme levels. Using crutches, Chloupek completed the Washington, D.C. Rock & Roll Marathon in an amazing 5 hours and 37 minutes. His time is the fastest ever recorded by an amputee using crutches without a prosthesis.
While lots of races claim to be the coldest, we’re pretty sure the Oymyakon Marathon is at the top of the list. On New Year’s Day 2014, Siberian jeweler Boris Fyodorov ran this 26.2-miler in minus-96ºF. What’s even more impressive is he completed the race in just 5 hours and 8 minutes in the freezing snow.
Dean Karnazes is known for his incredible running feats. His 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states is quite remarkable, but it probably only makes Karnazes’ top 10. Without a doubt, the top of that list has to be the 350 miles he ran in 80 hours and 44 minutes without taking one single break to sleep. That’s 3 1/2 days of running.
Running across the U.S. is one thing, but tackling the 4,000 miles across the Sahara in 110ºF heat is another. Charlie Engle, Ray Zahab and Kevin Lin did just that, running two marathons a day for 100 days to complete the trek in 111 days. Without a doubt, it is one of the greatest long-distance feats of all time.
The next time you think about taking a day off, consider this: Ron Hill, a three-time Olympian from Great Britain, ran at least one mile every day for more than 52 years. Though he hoped to continue his streak to 100 years of age, his record was snapped at the age of 78 due to heart problems.
The barefoot craze came and went for some, while others have held fast. Wayne Botha fits into the latter category, and has since set the record for the most miles covered without protection on his feet. Botha covered 131 miles in 24 hours in Auckland, New Zealand. He’s also the fastest person to run the 100K distance without shoes, completing that feat in just 8 hours and 49 minutes.