Belgian runner Stefaan Engels has put himself into the record books by completing 365 marathons in 365 days, display not only unbelievable stamina but mental toughness as well. According to this story from the Toronto Sun, Engels actually completed 401 marathons in as many days, but 18 of them were on a hand bike, while the rest were on foot. The 365 in 365 mark is his record stretch on foot.
The 49-year old Engels says that he said out to accomplish the feat as a personal challenge for himself, just to see if it could be done. A year later, he now has a heck of a lot of milage under his belt. The quest actually began on January 1st of last year, when he ran his first 26.2 mile route. He went on like that for 17 more days before a foot injury forced him to take a break. Instead of stopping however, he reverted to the hand bike and used it to continue his workouts until his foot was healed and ready to hit the road once again.
After 36 days of covering the marathon distance, Engels told friends and family that he was starting over from scratch, as he wanted to complete the challenge on foot. Many thought he was crazy for going back to the start, but his perseverance and drive paid off, as he finished his 365th marathon in a row a few days back, burning through 20 pairs of running shoes in the process.
With the challenge now finished, Engels says he’ll take some time off while he works on a book. He says he won’t run again until March, and I’d have to say he’s earned a much deserved break. Oh, and for those interested in challenging the new mark for consecutive marathons, consider this. The previous record holder was Japanese runner Akinori Kusuda, who finished 52 in a row back in 2009. Consider that record smashed.
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