Monday, June 27, 2016

Ultrarunner Robert Young Abandons Attempt at Speed Record for U.S. Crossing

It was a busy time while I was away in Utah attending PressCamp last week, with one of the big stories coming from the world of long distance running. Over the past month or so, we've been following British ultrarunner Robert Young as he attempted to set a new speed record for crossing the U.S. on foot. But last week, the grind of that endeavor finally caught up with the endurance athlete, forcing him to withdraw from the attempt 2000 miles (3218 km) into the run.

Young launched his bid at the speed record – which was set back in 1980 and still stands at 46 days, 8 hours, 36 minutes – back on May 14. He set out from Huntington Beach in California with the hope of reaching Times Square in the fastest time possible. In order to break that 36 year old record, Young would need to cover more than 60 miles per day, each and every day, for a month and a half.

Last week, the grind of that challenge finally caught up to him. While heading into Indianapolis, the British runner developed soreness in one of the toes of his right foot. X-rays confirmed that he had developed an infection and a fracture. Young was treated by medical professionals, and attempted to use ice to lessen the pain, but in the end, he decided it was best to pull the plug altogether.

The move comes after Young began to fall off the pace needed to cross the U.S. in record time. The toll of the run seemed to wear on him in recent days, even as some questions arose about whether or not he was actually running all the miles he claimed to be. That question is now moot, as the speed crossing attempt is now over.

Covering 2000 miles on foot is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Young was able to cross California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, and part of Indiana before he was forced to withdraw. That's pretty impressive, even if he did come up a bit short in the speed attempt.

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