Katie Spotz sets Guinness World Record for most ultramarathons in a row
The American runner completed 11 50K ultramarathons in 11 days
Last month we spoke with ultrarunner Katie Spotz, who was planning to run across the state of Ohio to complete 11 50K ultramarathons in 11 days, breaking the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive ultramarathons. She completed the challenge on July 1, and Canadian Running caught up with her to chat about her experience.
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Spotz is not a stranger to long running challenges. In 2020, she became the first person to cross the state of Maine in one shot, covering 220 kilometres in 33 hours, 46 minutes. This year, her original plan was to run 10 marathons in 10 days, but after accidentally stumbling upon the Guinness World Record for most consecutive ultramarathons by a woman, she decided to add to the challenge. The record she had to break was 10 ultras in 10 days, so she added one more day and planned a route across Ohio. On July 1, she completed the challenge, after running about six or seven hours every day for 11 straight days.
“I always say my pace for ultras is fast enough to get there and slow enough to see it,” she laughs.
The run was very challenging, and the weather didn’t make it easier, with the temperatures reaching 100 F (38 C) some days. Still, Spotz says the hardest part was stopping.
“It’s just such a blast,” she explains. “To have the ability to just eat, sleep, breathe and adventure and see new things every day and have new challenges, we all already miss it.”
We, of course, referring to Spotz’s crew, who came along and supported her throughout the entire journey. When we spoke with her before the challenge, Spotz emphasized how important recovery is to her whenever she completes something to this scale, and true to her word, she took it very seriously throughout the entire 11-day journey. Recovery started the second she finished her run each day, and involved having a recovery drink, making sure she was taking in extra protein, elevating her legs to avoid edema in her ankles, taking ice baths, foam rolling and trying to sleep at least eight hours every night.
Like with all of her ultra projects, Spotz used her world record attempt to raise money and awareness for clean water initiatives. This time around, she partnered with an organization called H2O for Life, a nonprofit that delivers water and sanitation to schools around the world. Her original goal was to raise $34,000 USD ($42,000 CAD) to fund 11 clean water projects in Uganda, but she managed to surpass that and create a stretch goal of $40,000 USD. Currently, she is less than $200 away from that goal, at $38,881.
“People are definitely still welcome to support the charity,” says Spotz. “100 per cent goes to H2O for Life.”
The page will remain open indefinitely, as she switches gears and begins preparing for a cycling challenge later this year. This September Spotz is planning to bike across the coastline of Maine, which will take about five or six days. This challenge is her way of testing the waters for her next big goal, which is to cycle from North America to South America, which she says will total about 12,000 miles and take her a year to finish.
“My hope is always that other people can uncover and discover their own potential,” says Spotz. “I started my journey as a bench-warmer, so I’m all for encouraging others to not just say ‘oh, that’s cool, she can do it” but to say ‘oh that’s cool, maybe I can do more’.”
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Spotz is still waiting for her record to be ratified by Guinness, which could take several weeks. Until then, anyone who wishes to learn more about her initiatives can visit her website here, and if you’d like to support her cause and help her reach her fundraising goal, you can donate here.