As records go, the 36-year old record of 46 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes of Running Across America by Frank Giannini Jr is a classic.
Many a runner has challenged the distance but few have close to the time.
As I write this, two times Badwater 135 winner, Pete Kostelnick, looks set to elevate the record to new level. His possible new record will not come down to minutes… it won’t even come down to hours! In reality, Pete is looking to smash the record by days. Yes, days!
Today as I write this, Pete is 38-days in and current projections are 41 or 42 days. That’s a whole new level!
Imagine it, Pete has been running over 70 miles a day for 36 days. In a recent chat for the next edition of Talk Ultra podcast, co-host Speedgoat Karl Meltzer, who just recently set a new FKT on the Appalachian Trail confirmed that Pete is on a whole new level. “He’s doing it the right way,” said Karl. “He started under the radar and momentum has picked up as the days have passed. He will smell the barn and although he may well be in pain, he will know the end is in sight. For sure he is going to break the record, it will just depend by how much. These next few days will fly by!”
With approximately 5 or 6 days to go the mental boost o knowing the finish line isn’t too far away is really keeping him motivated to keep pushing along!
“The performance by Peter is almost super human,” said Speedgoat. “I am pleased that he is a Hoka One One teammate and I am certainly looking to catch up with him after the challenge is over and found out how it went. What’s interesting is that day off he took after 7 days. The same thing happened to Scott Jurek, Jen Phar Davis and me, albeit a little later. It’s a s though the body says, hold on a minute, what are you doing? One day off or one easy day and then everything comes back. It has certainly gone that way for Pete!”
Running 70+ miles a day is a phenomenal physical and mental challenge, it’s difficult to comprehend that it is possible… but here is Pete proving how remarkable the human body is. At 29-years old maybe Pete is in that prime age target where fitness and the bodies ability to recovery is optimum? It certainly poses man questions.
However, it’s important to note that this has been know easy ride. Pete went out at a relentless pace covering 450 miles in the first week and as Speedgoat has already said, he was forced to take a day off. That day’s rest may well prove to be one of the most crucial days on this long road. Tendonitis, aches, pains, tight muscles, sore hamstrings, swollen knee, tight hips and so many more niggles… “It happens,” says Speedgoat. “But the body is a remarkable thing, one day you feel lousy and then the next day you feel great. The pain travels and moves around and let’s be clear, when you run this type of mileage day-after-day you just become numb.”
Tracie Phan (Team Manager) toldin an interview that Pete seems to be getting stronger with each day. Something that Speedgoat can relate too, “It’s all about getting into a rhythm and routine. One advantage that Pete has is that the terrain is constant and smooth. His crew can support all the time and within reason he can stop, rest, eat and drink when he wants.”
During the last month, Pete has started each day around 0400 and covered in the region of 40-miles and then taken a break before heading back out on the road aiming to finish around 5pm. “This is crucial for a successful attempt,” Speedgoat confirms. “Finishing early evening allows for quality rest, recovery, massage and it also means that eating and drinking is not compromised.”
Watch this space, we are about to witness history being made. Pete Kostelnick will set a new record for Running Across America.