[Article] Pros Set Eight Treadmill World Records During the Chaski Challenge

March 5, 2021

Andrew Dawson of Runner's World (full text copied below) recaps a hugely successful #ChaskiChallenge weekend. Highlighting professional runners Sara Hall, Mario Mendoza, Chaski's own Tyler Andrews and others, these athletes all came out charging and walked away with several new world records.

By Andrew Dawson

June 7, 2020

Eight treadmill world records were taken down on Saturday after pro runners took on the Chaski Challenge.

The virtual event was organized by pro runner Tyler Andrews as a way to bring runners together and to highlight his new coaching company, Chaski Endurance Collective. Like many events taking place right now during the coronavirus pandemic, it came together in just a few weeks.

This one was free for anyone who signed up, offering 5K, 50K, and relay options with up to $6,000 of prizes on the line in the open races. For the pros, their mission was simple: break as many treadmill world records in a day as possible.

Andrews reached out to various athletes, and was able to lock in big names like Michael Wardian, Sara Hall, Mario Mendoza, and Max King to take on distances from the half marathon to 100K.

With a star-studded cast going after the normally obscure records, records dropped like flies. Here are all eight that were broken on Saturday.

were broken on Saturday.

Mario Mendoza Captures the 100K Treadmill Record After Losing 50K Record

Only one runner went beyond 50 miles on the treadmill for the Chaski Challenge—Brooks runner Mario Mendoza. Back in January, he broke the 50K treadmill world record, which has since been broken twice.

Starting hours before the rest of the pros, the Bend, Oregon, resident started to hurt after just 10 miles. After feeling better around the 50K, he started to turn it around. The final challenge came around the 45-mile mark. Still off record pace, he knew he had to push his pace. He did so over the last 15 miles, surpassing the pace and going on to get the record with a 6:39:25, beating the previous mark by 1:10.

“It was awful,” Mendoza kind of joked on the live stream after the run. “I have pretty awful blisters with some blood, and oh gosh, that was awful.”

Mendoza dedicated his run to the Central Oregon Youth Running Camp, the youth program he started in Madras, Oregon. He, Renee Metivier—who ran the women’s 50K—and Max King—who ran the men’s 50K—organized a fundraiser to host a running camp that will bridge the gap between the socio-economic divided communities in central Oregon. You can donate and learn more by clicking here to view the GoFundMe page.

Also of note, Mendoza was wearing the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2, the second version of the carbon-fiber shoe that Des Linden wore at the Olympic Marathon Trials. The shoes will go on the market later this year.

Renee Metivier Breaks Three (!) World Records in One Run

Metivier looked like she was shot out of a cannon at the start of her 50K treadmill record attempt. Her first mile was 6:16, followed up by a 6:08. That blistering pace did not let up in the ensuing miles and she quickly build up a big lead on world record pace.

As it turns out, Metivier had other record plans than just the 50K when she started—she captured both the half marathon record (1:19:29) and the marathon record (2:41:11) as well.

With two records in the bag and four miles ahead of 50K world record pace, she cruised through the final five miles, obliterating her third record of the day with a 3:11:38 for the 50K.

“It got hard at like mile 22, so I just relaxed and stayed the same pace,” Metivier said on the live stream after the race. “I’ve never run that far on a treadmill and that was my 50K debut. But it felt good.”

This was Metivier’s second big race since breaking her leg in 2018 and requiring surgery in ’19. Now recovered, she could call herself a triple record holder ... for about two hours until someone took her half marathon record.

Tyler Andrews Becomes the Fourth Person to Break the 50K Record in 2020

Heading into the run, Andrews planned to not just chase the record of 2:56:35, set back in April by Matthias Kyburz, but to crush it. The overall 50K record was 2:43:38, established in 1988 by South Africa’s South Africa’s Thompson Magawana—and Andrews thought the latter was a better goal.

However, Andrews was also competing against trail running legends Michael Wardian and Max King, also competing in the 50k event.

Andrews took the lead from the start, and while King was hot on his tail for most of it, the 30-year-old never let go, taking the record in 2:42:51. His time destroyed the record set by Swiss orienteer Matthias Kyburz by over 13 minutes and marking the fastest recorded 50K by any human being.

“I was tired at the end,” Andrew said. “It was ugly. The last 10 miles, I really ramped it up and stayed patient. I was on 2:44 pace and I wanted 2:42, and I was able to make up a bit in that last 10K.”

Sara Hall Comes Within Five Seconds of Her Half Marathon PB

One of the biggest names to join the stream was Sara Hall, who we most recently saw at the Olympic Marathon Trials. Weeks before that, she ran a personal best 1:08:58 at the Houston Half Marathon.

Though she ended up dropping out at the Trials, Hall hopped on the treadmill and looked better than ever Saturday. She started at 5:38 pace and got faster with each split, slowly inching up her pace to 5:05 for her final two miles.

This speed carried her to the world record of 1:09:03, about two hours after Metivier got it. It was only five seconds off of her personal best.

“This is only the second time I’ve been on a treadmill this year,” Hall said after the race. “I didn’t know what to expect but felt comfortable. I really surprised myself.”

John Raneri Barely Gets the Half Marathon Record

John Raneri learned what it was like to run for 13.1 miles at the top speed on his treadmill. That’s a 4:48 pace for him, which held onto for the entire half-marathon distance.

Though different from the road racing he’s used to with sharp turns and other impediments that throw off his stride, he was able to keep a consistent rhythm on his way to a world record setting 1:03:08. This bested the previous mark, set by Andrews in 2015, by 29 seconds.

To make this feat more impressive, he did it around 7,000 feet above sea level in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“I felt dialed in,” Raneri said after the run. “I had a few rough moments around 10K and 15K. That happens in a half. But I just stayed dialed in and let myself do my thing. I’ll leave it up to my imagination to wonder how fast I could’ve gone if the treadmill could’ve gone faster.”

Regina Lopez Creates a Female 50-Mile World Record

Though starting with the 50K record in mind and staying on pace for the first 20 miles, Lopez slowed down to a walk before starting to jog again after a break. It is unclear what happened, but she decided to not give up.

Getting beyond reach of the the 50K record, she decided to go for the 50-mile treadmill record, something that doesn’t appear to be recorded—all she had to do was finish.

Long after the stream concluded, Lopez stayed on her treadmill. It ended up being the longest run of the day—even longer than Mendoza’s 100K. Her final time was 8:41:37, good for the eighth record of the day.

— Tyler Andrews

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