Top 10 running world records
The most impressive running achievements of all time
Have you hit a running rut? If you’re in need of inspiration to get out there and run, we’ve put together a list of 10 records that have truly pushed the boundaries of running. Here are the top 10 running world records of all time.
Most consecutive marathons
For most people running a marathon is a once in a lifetime achievement that requires months of gruelling physical and mental preparation. Ricardo Abad is not most people. Between October 2010 and May 2012 he ran 607 consecutive marathons in as many days, whilst also juggling his full time factory job which required an eight hour shift every day. Despite seemingly spending all of his time either running or working, he was still able to achieve a PB of 2:46; a time most runners can only dream of.
Most vertical feet run in 24 hours
How many times have you come across a hill on one of your long runs and felt your heart drop? If you are familiar with this feeling, try to imagine 24 hours of it. A team of runners in Ireland spent a full day running up and down the 2,472 foot mountain Croagh Patrick, totalling a jaw dropping 59,337 feet of non-stop vertical running.
Furthest run on a treadmill in one week
Known by many runners as the ‘dreadmill’, treadmills are usually reserved for weather conditions which make running outside unfeasible. However, in what would be most runners’ worst nightmare, the UK’s Sharon Gayter set the world record for furthest distance covered on a treadmill in one week when she racked up 517.3 miles at Teeside University. This meant 18 hours on the treadmill every day, backed up by a team of specialists at the University’s Sports Science department.
Fastest women’s marathon
No matter what we write here, we’ll never be able to truly convey how ground-breaking Paula Radcliffe’s marathon world record is. The record, set at the 2003 London Marathon, stands at 2:15:25 , and nobody has got within two minutes of it in over 10 years. The time was so fast it would have qualified Paula for the men’s World Championships, and people simply couldn’t believe it had happened – but it did, and to this day Paula remains the fastest women’s marathon runner of all time.
Fastest juggling triathlon
Technically this record includes a bit of swimming and cycling as well as running, but it’s too crazy not to include. Juggling is tricky at the best of times, but doing it continuously whilst competing in a triathlon is downright insane. Joe Salter pulled off this challenge in 2012, juggling three balls for the full length of the triathlon without dropping them once. He even managed to finish in under two hours!
First four-minute mile
This is an old and since beaten record, but its impact on the world of running cannot be underestimated. In the decades leading up to this landmark event, running experts and medical professionals alike had repeatedly stated that the human body simply couldn’t run a mile in four minutes. But on one fateful day in 1952 Roger Bannister proved them all wrong, running the mile in 3:59.4 and breaking arguably the most significant running record of all time.
Tallest costume worn running in a marathon
If there’s one thing we never get bored of when it comes to marathons, it’s the fancy dress costumes on show that seem to get more and more elaborate every year. At the 2012 Virgin London Marathon David Lawrenson set the record for tallest costume worn while running a marathon with his 24 foot tall replica of the Blackpool Tower. The costume weighed 17.5kg, and was so tall David had to crawl under the gantry to cross the finish line.
Fastest run from Land’s End to John o’Groats
The famous trip from one end of the UK to the other covers 850 miles – that’s just over 32 marathons. Over the years the distance between Land’s End and John o’Groats has been driven, cycled, walked, and in some brave cases, run. Andi Rivett holds the record for the fastest run between the two points, covering it in only nine days and two hours. To do this he had to complete nearly four marathons each day, with only a few hours of sleep each night.
Fastest mile in swim fins
Ever wondered what a penguin would look like trying to run around a track? Ashrita Furman brought us all a step closer to finding out when he ran a mile wearing swim fins, setting a new world record in the process. He managed to flap his away around the mile in only 7 minutes 56 seconds; an impressive achievement when your feet are more than twice their usual length.
Fastest 100m sprint
No list of running world records would be complete without the fastest man who’s ever lived, Usain Bolt. The stage was set for Bolt at the 2009 World Championships and he did not disappoint, crossing the finish line in a terrifyingly fast 9.58 seconds, reaching a top speed of 27.44 mph in the process. So how did he prepare for this amazing feat? Custom protein shake? Meticulously crafted carb-filled meal? Nope – a plate of chicken nuggets.
For more impressive fitness feats, check out our list of the top 10 health and fitness world records.