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Running by numbers

Records

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22/02/2019
 

Did you know that it took the slowest marathon runner of all time 54 years from starting gun to finish line? That the human foot can produce half a liter of sweat in one day? That one crazy ultramarathoner ran 27,000 kilometers in a single year? No? Then read on!


Fauja Singh of India was 100 years old when he ran the Toronto Marathon in 2011, setting a new record. Singh went down in the history books as the first hundred-year-old to run a marathon – which, of course, made him the oldest marathon runner of all time. He had made his marathon debut just 11 years earlier, running the London Marathon at the age of 89. The “Turbaned Tornado,” as Singh was known, ended his running career in 2013.

 

French ultrarunner Serge Girard covered a distance of 27,011 kilometers in a 365-day period, giving him the world record in endurance running. Between 2009 and 2010, he ran an average of 74 kilometers per day, visiting 25 countries in the process.

 

Studies tell us it’s possible to boost our performance by 15 percent simply by listening to music when running. Songs with 160 beats per minute (bpm) are supposed to be especially good for upping performance – like the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

Running to the rhythm. Photo: Jeff Drongowski

 

1,000,000,000 – that’s one billion – pairs of running shoes are sold by sporting goods manufacturers each year. This means that on average, one out of every eight people on earth buys a new pair of trainers each year.

Running shoes are a popular and highly saleable product. Adidas partners with Continental – the tire manufacturer develops running soles that deliver superior grip. Photo: Continental

 

British ultrarunner Jeremy "Jez" Bragg wore out 12 pairs of shoes running the 3,054-kilometer Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand in 2013. He took just 53 days to complete the run, coming in 12 days under the previous record.

 

When Joe McConaughy ran the Appalachian Trail in the United States in 2017, he saw no fewer than 16 bears. The 26-year-old American, who ran the trail with no support team, completed the 3,524-kilometer route in a record time of 45 days, 12 hours, and 15 minutes. He ran the final leg in 37 hours without sleep. Covering an average of 77 kilometers per day, he crossed 14 states and, as he later reported, saw 16 bears and four rattlesnakes. Normally, hikers need around six months to complete the entire trail, and the previous record holder took all of nine days longer than McConaughy.

America’s legendary Appalachian Trail. Photo: Paul Balegend

 

In 2004, marathon runner Geoff Wightman – whose personal best in a regular marathon was 2:13:17 hours – took 44 minutes and 22 seconds to set a very special “running” record that earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Crawling on his hands and knees, he used his nose to push an orange a distance of 1,600 meters.

 

200 muscles come into play every time the human body takes a single step. Our foot is a complex work of art, containing 26 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments, and a network of tendons, nerves, and arteries – all of which have to be coordinated each time.

 

A single foot can produce 500 milliliters of sweat per day.

 

44.72 km/h is the highest recorded sprinting speed ever reached by a runner, a record held by Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. Bolt clocked the record in 2009 in the 100-meter final of the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, where he won three goal medals and set two world records.

Usain Bolt, the fastest man on earth. Photo: Puma

Mikhail Tyurin made the longest tee-shot in the universe. Photo: NASA

 

A man burns an average of 102 calories per kilometer when running; a woman, only 89. For those who can’t overcome their inner couch potato and go running on cold winter days, there are also plenty of ways to keep fit around the home. A man can burn 300 calories by doing an hour of housework, for example, while a woman will burn 240.

 

When astronaut Mikhail Tyurin teed off from the International Space Station (ISS) in 2006, his golf ball circled the earth 48 times. That’s not just the world record, but the galactic record as well! Astronaut Tim Peake also used the ISS for a world record attempt. During the 2016 London Marathon, he ran his own personal marathon on a treadmill – making him the fastest marathon runner in space. His time? 3:35:51.

Kanaguri Shiso in 1924. Photo: Anon

 

54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 3 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds – how’s that for a record time? It is indeed the slowest marathon of all time. In 1912 Kanaguri Shiso came to Stockholm as Japan’s first Olympic competitor. In Asia he is a star, known as the “Father of the Marathon.” After travelling for 18 days and taking five days to recover from his journey, he finally arrived at the starting line of his first official Olympic race on a hot day, with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius. So when a family of spectators at kilometer 30 offered him a glass of juice and a chance to rest in their garden, he didn’t turn them down. Unfortunately, he dozed off and awoke too late to finish the race. In 1967 Kanaguri, now 75 years old and a university professor, returned to Stockholm and continued his race from exactly the point where he had stopped in 1912. And this time he crossed the finish line. The average speed for this slowest marathon of all time? 8.4 centimeters per hour.


Budhia Singh of India was 4 years old when he set a world record as the youngest long-distance runner. In 2006 he ran from Jagannath temple in Puri to the city of Bhubaneswar, a distance of 65 kilometers, in around seven hours – without a break. Even at that young age, he had already run six half-marathons. After the Human Rights Commission got involved, however, physicians determined that his state of health was critical, and the Indian government ordered him to stop running until 2013. By then, however, he had lost his desire to run and today rarely enters a race.

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