American ultrarunner Taggart VanEtten crushed the 100-mile (160K) treadmill world record on Saturday, running a mind-boggling 11:32:05 at an event in Morton, Ill. VanEtten’s run lowered the previous world record significantly, shaving 37 whole minutes off the 12:09:15 result that Zach Bitter set last May. His result works out to an incredible average pace of 4:18 per kilometre.
It has been a tough couple of weeks for Bitter’s resume, as he has had his name erased from three ultrarunning world records in that time. First, Lithuania’s Aleksandr Sorokin beat Bitter’s 100-mile and 12-hour world records at an event in the U.K., lowering the two results to 11:14:56 and 170.309K, and now VanEtten has beaten Bitter’s 100-mile treadmill best.
When Bitter set the 100-mile treadmill world record last year (beating Canadian Dave Proctor‘s record of 12:32:26), it was hard to imagine anyone running faster. He averaged 4:32 per kilometre over the course of 12 hours, and it seemed unlikely that someone else would come even close to that (or want to spend that long on a treadmill) for a while. Just under one year later, though, VanEtten decided to give the record a shot, and he produced an even more amazing result.
VanEtten announced his plans to run the treadmill 100-miler in January, writing about the record attempt on Instagram. “For years now I have been anti-treadmill,” he wrote. “However, for the sake of longevity in my running career I must utilize one for regular use.” At the time, he said he hoped to run under 12 hours — a goal that he ultimately shattered.
Running on a treadmill in a pub in Morton and keeping track of his progress on Zwift, VanEtten ran an impressively steady pace throughout. For the most part, he hovered between 4:10 and 4:20 per kilometre, and he never ran a kilometre slower than 4:58.
At 116K into the run, he posted one of his slowest kilometres of the day at 4:36, but he immediately made up for it by running 10K at sub-4:10 pace, including three sub-four-minute kilometres. His slowest kilometre of the day came at the 139K mark, but he regained his composure and remained steady in the 4:20s for the rest of the run. For context, his average speed of 4:18 per kilometre works out to a 43-minute 10K. Many people would be happy to run one 10K this quickly, but VanEtten ran 16 in a row at this pace.
To make the feat even more impressive, this record attempt was only VanEtten’s second official ultramarathon event. His first came in November 2020, when he won the Tunnel Hill 100-miler in Illinois. Despite the fact that it was his first ultramarathon ever, VanEtten not only won the race, but he posted the second-fastest result in the event’s history. His 12:19:54 finish was only 11 minutes slower than none other than Bitter, who owns the Tunnel Hill 100 record of 12:08:36.
VanEtten’s still a rookie when it comes to ultrarunning, but based on his two results so far in the sport, it’s safe to say his name is one that fans will get used to hearing in the coming years. To see the stats from his full record run, click here.