‘I run a quick marathon early in the day, then I run an easy marathon, and after that, I just jog a little until I need to rest….’ That’s the formula Brit runner Robert Young is employing in an attempt to run across North America this month.
Currently in Kansas, Young is coming from Huntington Beach, Calif., and he’s heading toward Times Square in New York to go for the world record time. So far he’s on pace.
To beat the record, Young, a.k.a. Marathon Man UK, needs to reach the Atlantic Ocean in less than 46 days, 8 hours, and 36 minutes. That is the 36-year-old record held by American runner Frank Giannino Jr.
Marathon Man has pounded his way into the Heartland of the U.S., nearly halfway through his agonizing mega-run, in just 18 days. But despite his pace, Young is not out of the woods yet.
“I’m really starting to feel the breakdown in my body,” he told us on a phone call this afternoon, after his most recent 76-mile run. “Other runners have said that it takes about 15 days for the body and mind to adjust to the miles, and that’s playing out for me – I’m just starting to get used to the rhythm. But what you see on the outside is very different from what I’m feeling on the inside.”
Record Requires 60-Mile Days
Young is working on an insane schedule of five-hour rest periods shot through with 60-mile-per-day running goals. And though he’s passed through the grueling elevation changes of the Rockies, there are any number of potential pitfalls that could waylay his effort: dogs, snakes, weather, and injury are some of the obstacles he has and will encounter.
But those are not his greatest hurdles.
“If there was one thing that could keep me from achieving the record, I think it would be losing control of my mind,” he said. “I am one of the strongest people mentally there is, I know that. But once the mind lets go, that’s when the record will go.”
Attempts at the 2,800-mile running record are certainly not unheard of: we reported on Adam Kimble’s attempt in April. But Young has a laundry list of running records to his credit and a seemingly insatiable appetite for excruciating feats of endurance.
The 33-year-old has 96 marathon and ultra-marathon wins to his credit, one of which was the 2015 Trans America Foot Race. He ran the equivalent of 476 marathons in 420 days (370 marathons and ultras in one year), and he holds the record for most miles run without sleep – 373.75 in just over 88 hours.
Though he says he had no sponsors, support, or even flight lined up two weeks before his departure, Young has now corralled Skins compression-wear for gear and promotion. He’s using his record-setting potential to raise awareness and money for the Dreams Come True charity and the 100 Mile Club.
According to Guinness World Record guidelines, Young’s route – which he can select himself – must exceed 2,766 miles. You can track his progress in realtime and support his chosen charities from his website.