5 Amazingly quirky running records that will leave you in awe
Most runners feel pretty hard core about having completed a marathon or ultra or two. And being part of the relatively small percentage of earthlings who have accomplished such a feat certainly is praiseworthy. But, did you know that there is an even smaller group of people who make it their mission to accomplish the seemingly impossible on the run? With many of them doing it for a good cause? Here are five amazingly quirky running records that will leave you in awe.
Running backwards for bees
The Comrades Marathon, which is held annually in South Africa, is referred to by many as “the ultimate human race”. It covers a hilly 89 km between Durban and Pietermaritzburg and, with an entry cap of 20 000, boasts an atmosphere unlike any other. Completing this ultra within the 12 hour cut-off time is a challenge in itself, but Zimbabwean-born Farai Chinomwe has taken it one step further. He runs it backwards. And by backwards we don’t mean that he runs the route from end to start; no. He actually runs it facing the wrong way.
Farai, a Rastafarian Master Beekeeper, uses his unusual running technique to raise awareness about bees and the environment. To date he has completed two Comrades Marathons running backwards for bees, in times of 11:41:31 and 11:25:21, respectively. And although these are by no means the furthest backwards runs ever completed, Farai is the first person ever to conquer the “ultimate human race” in reverse.
Running for four…
Clocking a half-marathon time of 02:01:19 is pretty commonplace for any active, running mom. But doing so while pushing not one, but three kids in a triple stroller is nothing short of amazing. In October this year Suzy Goodwin did just that by completing the North Carolina Halloween Half Marathon while pushing her 14-month-old triplets in a 100 pound triple stroller. In so doing she set a new category and high mark in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Just like any good stroller run, the Goodwins’ record attempt didn’t go without any hiccups. Suzy had to stop mid-race to change a diaper, and to reprimand her daughter for nabbing her brothers’ snacks.
Suzy is raising money for Cape Fear Valley Health, where her triplets spent the first 10 weeks of their lives in the ICU.
And running for three!
Equally impressive is 38-year-old Chris Solarz’s double stroller half-marathon record of 01:18:08. Chris set this record in October 2016 while pushing his two kids in a double stroller to finish the Suffolk Country Half Marathon in a blistering 5:57 minutes per mile. The performance earned Chris a fourth place overall finish, and is his eighth world record.
Hula hooping away
Betty Shurin, better known as Betty Hoops, currently holds the record for completing the fastest half-marathon while hula hooping. Betty set this record at the Hollywood Half Marathon in 2012, when she crossed the finish line in a respectable 03:03:48. The rules of this record stipulate that the (standard sized) hula hoop must at all times be spinning between shoulder and hip height whenever the competitor takes a step forward. If the hoop stops spinning, the competitor must also stop moving forward until the hoop is spinning again. The competitor may also never touch the hoop with his/her hands during the race, except to get it spinning again while standing still.
Running with a rhino
The Save the Rhino Foundation has come up with a clever way to raise funds to help its cause. Their iconic rhino suits, which weigh a hefty 8 kg each, made its fundraising debut at the 1992 London Marathon. Runners have since donned these suits at races across the globe, including the gruelling Marathon des Sables and Atacama Crossing. Volunteers apply to complete a race in one of the suits while raising funds for the foundation.
The current record for completing a marathon while wearing one of the rhino suits, is 04:17:27. Vinny O’Neill clocked this record in 2012. Vinny also went on to complete the 89 km Comrades Marathon wearing a rhino suit in an incredible 10:38:02. This finishing time placed him in the top 29% of race finishers for the 2013 race. And he did all of this while raising funds to protect one of the planet’s most endangered animals.
So the next time you hit the wall at mile 20 of a marathon, think of these runners. Remember that there might just be someone running backwards, pushing a 100 pound stroller, hoola hooping or carrying a 8 kg rhino costume to the finish line. It’s sure to give you a second wind!