Over the last couple of months, we’ve been covering a lot of virtual races and running challenges that have been created during the coronavirus outbreak. All of these virtual tests are focused around going as quickly as possible, which makes sense, because that’s something runners are always trying to do. We all want to beat our personal bests, and if we can’t do that, we want to at least go as fast as we can on any given day. Well, that’s all about to change, because American runner David Melly has introduced the Slow Mile Challenge—a virtual challenge where the slowest runner wins.
Everyone is out here trying to run their fastest in time trials and virtual races. But what’s the slowest mile you can run?
— CITIUS MAG (@CitiusMag) May 15, 2020
Slow Mile rules
The rules of the Slow Mile Challenge are simple: run as slowly as you possibly can for a mile (1,609 metres) without stopping or walking. Melly writes for Citius Mag, and he says you must be “running” at all times, which he defines using cadence. He says if your cadence (which can be measured on Strava and other tracking apps) is in the 150 to 180 range, you can be considered running, no matter how slowly you’re moving. This means you’ll have to take some pretty quick steps (as seen in Melly’s video) while keeping your stride length extremely short.
Melly kicked things off in the Slow Mile Challenge, posting a 19:18. According to his World Athletics profile, Melly, who ran for Cornell University, has a personal best time for the mile of 4:08.77.
Molly Seidel—Olympic qualifier and super slow miler
Melly’s Slow Mile Challenge leading time didn’t last long, because just a couple of days after he posted his personal worst (PW) time, Molly Seidel stepped up and ran almost twice as slow. Seidel qualified for the Tokyo Olympics at the U.S. Marathon Trials earlier this year, but she took a break from her serious training to show the world how to really run slowly.
Folks, @ByGollyMolly12 is now queen of the @SlowMileChallenge
— CITIUS MAG (@CitiusMag) May 16, 2020
According to Seidel’s World Athletics profile, her mile PB is 4:46.08. On Saturday, she ran a ridiculously slow PW of 36:56.01. At the U.S. Trials, where she came in second place, she averaged 5:38 per mile over the course of the entire race, and after 37 minutes of running, she had already almost run seven miles, proving she can go quickly when needed and extra slowly when she wants to.
If you decide to give this a try, be sure to track your run and post your results online using the hashtag #SlowMileChallenge.