The Se7eners
Not just a blog, it’s a lifestyle

The 7 Ultimate Achievements In Endurance Running

These people are either incredible athletes or incredibly insane. I would venture a guess that they are a little bit of both. Here are 7 endurance running records that are hard to comprehend. 99% of people couldn’t keep the pace or go the entire distance of each of these if they were riding a bike, let alone running.

1. Mark Covert has run at least one mile every day since July 23, 1968

In the decades since he started the streak, Covert has covered more than 136,000 miles. At his competitive peak, he ran more than 150 miles a week and was one of the top road racers in the country, finishing seventh in the 1972 Olympic trials marathon. He still averages eight miles a day. To get a covert.jpggrasp of this, think of all the times you’ve been sick or hurt yourself. Sure, his running may consist of only be 9 or 10 minutes a day but did you read how long? Since 1968.

“I’ve trained through illness and injury, run plenty of times when I shouldn’t have. I ran on the days my parents passed away and I’ve run when every one of my four kids was born. I still look forward to running every day, although the trees go by more slowly now. Covert is now the Cross Country Coach for Antelope Valley College (he knows a little about running) and I guarantee there has never been an excuse by one of his runners of why they can’t make practice.


2. Xu Zhenjun Ran a Marathon in 3:43……….Backwards! runner.jpg

Xu Zhenjun of China – a marathon runner who likes run marathons, backwards. Yes, that’s backwards. In a world where 99% of people never finish a marathon in their lifetime and if the do , 90% of them don’t run sub 4 hours, Zhenjun runs the whole thing in reverse. I thought Zhenjun was one of very few who run backwards for fun but it turns out there are a bunch of people that prefer to run backwards. Timothy “Bud” Badyna ( pictured right) the father of backwards running, has run a sub 4 marathon and the 10K in 45.37 which are not even records

.3. Three men ran 4000 miles across the Sahara desert in 111 days.

sahara.jpgThey ran the equivalent of two marathons a day to become the first modern runners to cross the Sahara Desert’s grueling 4,000 miles. American Charlie Engle , Canadian Ray Zahab, 38, and Kevin Lin, 30, were stricken with tendinitis, severe diarrhea, cramping and knee injuries all while running through the intense heat and wind, often without a paved road in sight. Temperatures varied from over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to below freezing at night. And they did this for 111 days straight. Typical day, up at 4am run until lunch, eat, run until 9:30. Get up and do it again……for 111 days.



4. 7 Days, 7 Continents, 7 Marathons7for7.jpg

Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Dr. Michael Stroud went seven for seven during a grueling week of marathon running and transcontinental travel. The pair ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents from October 26 – November 2, 2003. Fiennes and Stroud’s first marathon was in southern Chile, followed by ones in the Falkland Islands and Sydney Australia. The two men then ran 26-mile races in Singapore, London and Cairo, before finishing their amazing seven-day feat by completing the New York City Marathon. Besides battling the exhaustion that any marathon runner faces, Fiennes and Stround also had to battle jet lag and dramatic changes in temperature and humidity during each race. The feat was even more impressive for Fiennes, who suffered a heart attack just four months earlier. Not too shabby for a guy who lost the role of James Bond because “his hands were too big and he had “a face like a farmer”.

5. Finish Badwater

Plain and simple, Badwater is the toughest endurance run in the word. Each year, approximately 70 people attempt to run 135 mile from Bad Water, Death Valley to the portals of Mt. Whitney. In case you’re not familiar with Badwater or Mt. Whitney, Badwater is the lowest place in the Western Hemisphere and Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the contiguous United States. Basically you’re running from the lowest place in the U.S. to the highest. In addition to the 13,000 feet worth of ascent, there are the 130 degree (55C) temperatures to deal with. Think it’s a dry heat, well think again.badwater.jpg Participants are forced to run the white lines on the side of the road to keep the soles of their shoes from melting and a heat suit(see right) to keep them from burning to a crisp. The winner from the last two years has finished in the 24-25 hour range but the average finish time is in the 35 hour range. My first question was “How in the world does someone train for this type of event?”. Luckily for me they have a training guide on the Badwater homepage. Here are a few examples of training recommendations I picked off the site.

(1) – HEAT is the main nemesis, acclimate your body NOW!! Start using a sauna ……. on your EXPOSED body. Do not wear any protective clothing.

(2) – ENDURANCE is very slow to develop. Set a target of being able to WALK, ONLY, at 20 to 30 minute per mile (LSD) pace, NON STOP (NO SLEEP) for 24-30 hours. Do not exceed this pace, nor train (LSD) more often than once a week.

I can’t even stay awake for 24 hours, I doubt I can run the whole time while in 130 degree heat. Pass

6. Dean Karnazes running 350 Miles Non-Stop

dean.jpgThis may be the most amazing feat on this list. Dean ran 80 hours straight to cover the 350 miles. Like the last achievement, the are very few people that can stay awake for this period of time and he kept a good pace the whole time. For most The Relay , a 199 mile 12 person relay, is one of the greatest moments of their life. But for most, the miles are split with 11 other people. Dean ran those all by himself. To make the run a little more challenging, he ran 151 miles to get to The Relay. 40,000 calories consumed later and Dean does something nobody else has even come close to. Dean has been criticized for being a media hound because of “stunts” like this. He ran 50 marathons in 50 days last year, has finished the Western 100 ten times, and has finished Badwater 4 times and yet he is often criticized for doing it for the notoriety. Two things make me believe otherwise, one, the millions he collected for charity, and two, when you run 350 miles without stopping you deserve some attention.





7. Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie Marathon World Record Time of 2 hours, 4 minutes, and 26 seconds

worldrecord.jpgWe are seeing such fast marathon times we are starting to take them for granted . Marathon winners are constantly throwing down finishing times of 2 hours and 6 minutes. It gotten so common that we have forgotten exactly how fast that is. That is 4 minute 48 second miles. Most likely there is not on reader of this article that can run that pace for a half mile, and certainly not for 26.

I feel comfortable in saying that if I trained for a month I could, make contact with a 98 mile fastball, gain 5 yards on a carry in the NFL, or score 2 points if I was in a NBA game. ( taken quite a bit of heat on this one, I’m just saying that I have a better chance of those 3 than I ever do of running that fast)  What I could never do is run that fast, no matter how I train. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that elite marathon runners are some of the most gifted athletes in the world. They do something that nobody but other elite runners can do. Not one person from any other sport could come in with complete training and come within 10 minutes of them. Haile Gebrselassie is the cream of the crop. There are other incredible marathoners in the world but Haile took down the 4 year old world record by almost 30 seconds. The record had been coming down a second at a time and then Gebrselassie comes and crushes it.

2 Responses to “The 7 Ultimate Achievements In Endurance Running”

  1. […] Here’s another interesting post I read today by The Se7eners […]

  2. There is only three things I do every day, I’m sure none are remotely classed as energetic…

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