For anyone considering our 30-day treadmill challenge, we've found your next role model. Susie Chan, of Farnham, Surrey, in the U.K., has set a new world record in miles ran on a treadmill. Over the course of 12 hours (so, half of an entire trip around the sun), Chan ran 68.54 miles, breaking the previous 12-hour record for women set in 2013 by Kristina Paltén, who clocked a still very impressive 66.79 miles.
More than 10 sport-science and exercise experts from Kingston University in London were in the room with Chan, keeping time (and also just bearing witness to her incredible stamina), while thousands of viewers tuned in to a livestream of her attempt. The most surprising part of Chan's feat? She only started running five years ago, when she first completed a half-marathon. She's since moved on to "ultrarunning," which involves competing in races longer than 26.2 miles, or the length of a regular marathon. It's only for the fiercest runners (and it may even come with some health risks), but this sport-within-a-sport has an intensely devoted following.
Chan, who is 40, had previously participated in a study at Kingston University looking at the physical and psychological effects of these super-long races. One of the researchers who observed Chan's World Record attempt mentioned ongoing studies on the cult appeal of the sport in a university press release: "Using a multidisciplinary approach, we're now looking at the factors that make an ultra-distance runner, how their bodies adapt over time, and what pushes them to do it." When you consider that Chan has already run a couple 100-mile races in her career so far, just over 68 miles on a treadmill pales in comparison. Still, following her success, Chan tweeted that it was "the hardest, the worst & the best day of my life."