Wednesday is Guinness World Record Day, and while this year has been a strange one with only a few races, that hasn’t stopped people from chasing world records. From joggling runs to basketball miles and more, we have seen plenty of records this year. To celebrate GWR Day, take a look at some of the best and wildest records of 2020. (Note: we’ll be sticking with unorthodox running records, so we won’t be including World Athletics records like the ones Joshua Cheptegei and Letesenbet Gidey set earlier this year).
Joggling is the act of juggling while running, and this year saw a couple of extremely impressive records broken in this discipline. The first was run by Halifax’s Michael-Lucien Bergeron, who set a blazing-fast 5,000m record of 16:50 while juggling three balls. This was Bergeron’s third attempt at breaking this mark, which joined his 10K and half-marathon joggling world records.
More recently, American David Rush set the GWR for the farthest distance traveled on foot while juggling three objects. This was Rush’s first ultramarathon, and he ran a whopping 46K before dropping a ball. To break the record, he had to run at least 25K, but he went above and beyond, nearly doubling this in his five-hour run. The result added to Rush’s list of more than 150 world records.
This year also saw several variations on the classic mile run. Running a mile is hard enough, but these world record-holders decided to make it even more challenging by adding another component to the effort. First off is the handcuff mile world record, which former NCAA Division I runner Jeremy Greenwald set in April. The time to beat for the handcuff mile was 6:37, which Greenwald — a 4:01 miler — beat easily. He ended up running 4:52, crushing the previous record and, perhaps most importantly, not falling flat on his face with no hands to catch himself.
Next up is the blue jean mile. In May, American 3:52 miler Johnny Gregorek took to a school track in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., for a fundraising run in blue jeans. Denim-clad from the waist down, Gregorek hammered out a 4:06.25 mile to smash the blue jean mile world record of 4:11.80. In addition to the incredible feat, he also raised more than $32,000 for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
In September, collegiate running coach Aaron Yoder lined up for the virtual NYRR 5th Avenue Mile. Instead of running a regular mile, though, he decided to tackle the route backward. Yoder is a seasoned backward runner, and he beat his own backward mile world record with an amazing time of 5:30, lowering it by 21 seconds since his previous attempt. That’s an average pace of 3:25 per kilometre while running in reverse. The worst part about racing him is that when he passes you, he gets to look you in the eye and stare you down as he runs away.
Finally, there are the basketball mile world records. So far, 2020 has been the year of the basketball mile, and the record has been lowered many times by both men and women. On the men’s side, the most recent record-holder in the event is 16-year-old Tennessee Tremain of Guelph, Ont. In July, Tremain, an OFSAA gold medallist in the 3,000m, lowered the record to 4:33.9, which works out to an average pace of 2:50 per kilometre. Not long after Tremain’s run, a U.S. junior cross-country national champion named Sydney Masciarelli lowered the women’s record to 5:08.57, which has since been beaten by BYU runner Whittni Orton. In September, Orton ran 4:58.56 to take the world record and become the first woman to break five minutes in the run.