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By the numbers: treadmill world record breakdowns

Treadmill record-breakers don't get enough credit for their feats, so here's a breakdown of some of the most impressive records out there

This weekend, American ultrarunner Zach Bitter will take a stab at the 100-mile treadmill world record. Bitter already owns the 100-mile world record (not on a treadmill), which he set in 11:19:13 last year at an indoor track in Wisconsin. To break the record, he will have to run faster than Canadian Dave Proctor‘s time of 12:32:26, which he ran last year in Calgary. Despite incredibly quick paces and results, world best treadmill runs don’t seem to get as much credit as road or track records do. Here are a few of the wildest and most mind-blowing treadmill world records, broken down so everyone can appreciate them for what they really are: blazing fast runs.

Dave Proctor’s treadmill dominance

Proctor currently owns two treadmill world records: the aforementioned 100-mile (161K) record, which Bitter will try to break this weekend, and the 12-hour record (153.8K). Proctor ran both of these on the same day at last year’s Calgary Marathon expo. He used to have a third world record to his name in the 24-hour treadmill run, but his previous record of 260.4K was broken last year by Vito Intini of Italy, who ran 265.2K.

RELATED: Dave Proctor breaks two treadmill records at Calgary Marathon expo

So, how fast are Proctor’s two records? Since they were both set on the same run, they have the same pace of 4:41 per kilometre. Proctor ran 161K under five-minute pace for each. That pace would get him a marathon time of 3:17, and he ran almost four marathons in a row at that pace.

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The eagerly-contested 50K record

So far in 2020, the 50K treadmill world record has been broken three times. Mario Mendoza was the first to break it this year, after running 2:59:03 in Oregon in January. Just over a month later, Germany’s Florian Neuschwander broke Mendoza’s record with a time of 2:57:25. Then, just last month, Swiss orienteering world champion Matthias Kyburz ran 2:56:35 while in quarantine. Kyburz averaged 3:30 per kilometre for 50K, passing through 20K in 1:10:48 and completing the marathon in 2:29:10.

RELATED: Treadmill workouts for every occasion

50-mile world record

Next up is another Canadian resident, Jacob Puzey, who set the 50-mile treadmill world record back in 2016 when he ran 4:57:45. Puzey is director and a coach at Peak Run Performance, a coaching service based out of Canmore, Alta. Over the 50-mile run (80.4K), Puzey averaged 3:42 per kilometre. That’s almost two straight 2:36 marathons, or 16 18:30 5Ks in a row.

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This photo captures my history as an athlete. Basketball was my first love. I started running to get in shape for basketball. Running provided much needed structure & freedom all at once. It led me out of delinquency toward higher education. I trained for my first marathon almost exclusively on a treadmill. I was taking 22 university credits & trying to lose the 25 pounds of fried plantains I gained while on a two year sabbatical from running & school in Panama. I ran for an hour each morning from 5:00 to 6:00 am. If I finished my coursework I would run for another hour in the evening. Next week I will run on a treadmill for six hours at the Running Event in Orlando, Florida. I hope to cover 50 miles faster than anyone ever has on a treadmill. I also hope to run further than anyone has in six hours on a treadmill. Why? Because I love to run. I don't care if it is on a gnarly summit, sick singletrack, a country road, or a cinder track. I love to run & will use that love to fuel my run today & everyday that I am fortunate to do so. #runallsurfaces #runalldistances #peakrunperformance #runlonger #runstronger #zerolimits #liveepic #chaseadventure #fueledbytrailbutter

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30-day run

Quebec resident Pablo Espinosa spent the month of February running on a treadmill to break the 30-day treadmill world record. He averaged 71K each day and finished the month with a grand total of 2,150K, beating the previous record by over 350K.

RELATED: Meet Pablo Espinosa, the Canadian who won a 6-day race in Florida

Since he didn’t run for 30 days nonstop, it’s difficult to break down Espinosa’s run into marathon and other race equivalencies. What we can do, though, is break his record down by specific events. Over the course of the month, Espinosa ran 50 marathons, he covered the equivalent distance of eight and a half Marathon des Sables ultramarathons and about 24 Comrades Marathons (without the elevation gain or loss, of course). That’s a lot of time on a treadmill.