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Woman sets Guinness World Record for runnning the most consecutive marathons

Alyssa Clark of Vermont ran 95 marathons in 95 days, until COVID-19 forced her to stop

Photo by: Alyssa Clark Instagram

When lockdown began in March 2020, Alyssa Clark, an ultrarunner from Burlington, Vt., was living in Italy, where everyone was directed to stay inside. She hopped on her treadmill and decided to run a marathon every day until the lockdown was supposed to end — a period she thought would be only two weeks. Fast-forward more than three months, and the 28-year-old ended up logging a total of 95 consecutive marathons before, ironically, the COVID-19 virus forced her to stop.

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March 31 was Clark’s first marathon of the challenge, and she wasn’t able to move her runs outside until the beginning of May. She had already completed 25 consecutive marathons when she learned the Guinness World Record for women was 60 marathons in 60 days, so she decided she could surpass that mark. She set her sights on 75 marathons in 75 days, which she accomplished on June 13.

Canadian Running caught up with Clark last June, when she was 64 marathons into her journey. At that time, the marathons had begun to take their toll. “This started out being really fun, and it’s getting less fun now,” she said to us.

Despite this, she continued lacing up her shoes every day for another 31 days. Clark completed most of her marathons in about four hours, sometimes faster when she was feeling good, sometimes slower if the weather was bad. During that time, she and her husband moved from Italy to Panama City Beach, Florida.

Eventually, she decided to set her sights on 100 marathons in 100 days. In early July, however, Clark noticed the marathons had gotten significantly more difficult, but she wasn’t sure why. She had begun experiencing tightness in her chest while she was running, and doctors diagnosed her with an upper respiratory infection. Finally, on July 4, after 2,489 miles, 95 marathons and 95 days, Clark decided the best decision for her health was to call it quits. Two weeks later, it was confirmed that she and her husband had contracted the COVID-19 virus.

Being only five marathons away from hitting 100, Clark was disappointed to have to stop, but was thankful she was able to continue as long as she did. “Marathons at 100 degrees. Marathons in the middle of the night. Marathons on treadmills alone. Marathons with the best friends and company of which I could ask. Thousands of messages of love and support. A journey I will remember forever,” she wrote on her Instagram page.

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Finally, more than a year after she completed her last marathon, Clark had her world record ratified by Guinness, and her name is officially in the books as the one to beat. In an interview with CNN, she said she’s not looking to break another world record because of the lengthy, tedious process required to have the first one ratified, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have more goals on the horizon. Up next, she will attempt to set a new FKT on the Pinhoti Trail, which stretches 335 miles from Alabama to Georgia.