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Dave Proctor to challenge world 100-mile treadmill record in 2019

The Canadian 24-, 48- and 72-hour record-holder will attempt to run 100 miles on a treadmill in less than 12 hours at the Calgary Marathon expo on May 25

Ultrarunner Dave Proctor, whose attempt to run across Canada faster than anyone ever had ended with a painful back injury last year, announced today that he will contest the world 100-mile (161K) treadmill record at the Calgary Marathon expo on May 25, 2019. Proctor holds the Canadian 24-hour road-running record of 257.093K, set on a looped road course in Turin, Italy in April 2015. 

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The time Proctor has to beat is 14:22:49, which is what Serge Arbona of the US ran during his 24-hour record attempt in January 2004, according to www.recordholders.org. (The Guinness World Records site does not currently list a men’s 100-mile treadmill record.) Proctor will attempt to run the distance in under 12 hours, which he says is “very doable,” even though he has never run that distance on a treadmill.

To put it in perspective, it will be like running four 3:07 marathons back-to-back. It’s 4:28 kilometres, or 5K in 22:22, 10K in 44:44, and the half-marathon in 1:34, assuming even splits.

Proctor at the 24-hour treadmill run for Mito Canada at the 2016 Calgary Marathon expo. Photo: Neil Zeller

“In 100-mile racing it’s almost impossible to negative split,” says Proctor. “It’s not like half-marathoning or marathoning. It’s a heck of a long way. So I’m probably going to end up running the first [42.2K] in three hours or sub-3 and typically slow down in the back third of the race.”

Proctor had been thinking of going for the 48-hour record, but decided to go for the 100-miles instead. “I talked myself down,” he says, “because two years ago I ran the 24-hour world record, which mentally buried me for months. The treadmill’s tough. Mentally it’s a real struggle, because you’re kind of stuck.”

He will probably start around 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., in order to finish around that time in the afternoon, when the expo will be filled with people.

Proctor at Point Pleasant Park in Halifax, after ending his cross-Canada speed record attempt in Manitoba. Photo: Sharon Proctor

Like all of Proctor’s running and racing events, the 100-mile treadmill record attempt will also be a fundraiser organized by Outrun Rare to benefit the Rare Disease Foundation. Proctor’s son Sam has RECA (relapsing encephalopathy with cerebellar ataxia), a rare disease characterized by motor and gait abnormalities. Sam’s condition first manifested itself when he was a toddler, and took six years to diagnose.


Dave Proctor. Photo: Kurtis Kristianson

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Proctor will simultaneously be trying to beat the record for distance travelled on a treadmill in a 12-hour period (currently 152.5K, according to www.recordholders.org), which he is confident he can surpass. 

In addition, Proctor is planning a last-person-standing race along the lines of Big’s Backyard Ultra (which he also plans to race in 2019), to be called Outrun Backyard Ultra. It will take place in Bragg Creek (near Calgary) on June 21, the summer solstice.