A remarkable demonstration of grit and determination at the Goodwood Festival of Speed ended in success on Sunday when a team of athletes supported by Porsche set a new Guinness World Record for the longest distance covered in 48 hours by 12 runners using a single treadmill – smashing the previous record by over 40 miles.
Organised by the sports scientists from the Porsche Human Performance Centre at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone, this gruelling athletic exercise took place live at the Porsche dynamic exhibition area over the Festival weekend. Starting at 12 noon on Friday 3 July, the runners aimed to break the former distance record of 495.76 miles set in April 2008 – which they did in fine style, setting a new record of 539.86 miles (868.64km).
In all, some 480,000 footsteps pounded the belt, each one cushioned by specialist Adidas training shoes. Each runner was continually monitored during their stints for their safety in the heat, and a consequence of this was insight to the physical commitment behind such a record attempt. En route to their incredible record of 539.86 miles, the average heart rate of the team was 170 beats per minute and the energy expended was equivalent to approximately 61,000 calories; or around 250 chocolate bars.
“Thanks to a thorough assessment of the challenge that lay ahead and careful preparation by the team, we were confident of success,” said team manager, Andy Blow, Head of the Porsche Human Performance Centre and regualr 220 contributor. “We recognised that maintaining a high average speed with minimal ‘pit-stops’ would be the key to beating the record, and the guys put in some terrific performances to boost the effort, with peak speeds of 13.6mph (22km/h ) really pushing us forwards.”
“Each runner has covered 45 miles each during the challenge, which would be an impressive feat on its own!” he added. “I am really proud of what we have achieved together, and reckon it will take another very special effort to even match the standard we have set this weekend.”
Due to the soaring temperatures over the weekend, the challenge faced by the athletes was the very epitome of the theme of this year’s Festival; True Grit – Epic Feats of Endurance. The team of 12 runners, who drew on every ounce of their experience gained in contests such as marathon, duathlon, adventure racing and Ironman competitions, set a remarkable pace from the outset. A strategy of each runner doing stints of 20 minutes ensured a critical balance of high average speed and minimal interruption during the handovers; the regulations of the Record challenge demanding that the treadmill come to a complete stop between runners. Overall, the team attained an average speed of over 11.3mph (18.1 km/h) through the 48 hours.