Running Facts

Written by

William Howell

50 of the Craziest Running Facts You’ve Ever Heard

Get ready to become a pub-quiz (and running club) legend with these epic facts...

Woman running along a mountain ridge on a trail run

The world of running is crazy, and we mean crazy. That’s probably because the scope is just so wide. From watching who’ll be crowned the fastest human at the Olympic 100m to multi-day ultramarathons across inhospitable deserts, running through cobbled streets chased by bulls to lining up beneath iconic skyscrapers with 40,000 other runners, the world of running is full of passion, niches, preferences and total madness. That’s what makes it such an epic way of life.

And to prove just how epic and diverse it is, we’re going to take you on a wild ride through the world of running like you've never seen before. That’s right. After weeks trawling the internet, attending pub quizzes and listening to our mad Uncle Bob recite stories that definitely aren’t his, we're ready to unleash a torrent of mind-blowing, heart-pounding, and the craziest facts about running ever compiled (possibly). 

From death-defying races to jaw-dropping records and everything in between, get ready to have your pulse racing and your jaw dropping as we delve into the extraordinary realm of running facts. So buckle up, because the incredible feats accomplished by runners around the globe will leave you in total awe. The question is: which is your favorite fact?

  1. The fastest recorded marathon time is 2 hours, 1 minute and 9 seconds, achieved by Eliud Kipchoge on the 25th September 2022.

  1. The average person takes around 2,000 steps to complete one mile while running.

  1. Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, once stated that he ate 1,000 chicken nuggets during the Beijing Olympics.

  1. The oldest marathon finisher was Fauja Singh, nicknamed the Turbaned Tornado, completed a marathon in toronto at the age of 100 in 2011.

  1. The human body can produce up to 2.5 liters of sweat per hour while running.

  1. The average person will run approximately 42,000 kilometers (26,000 miles) during their lifetime.

  1. The first organized road race took place in 1829, covering a distance of 16.1 kilometers (10 miles).

  1. The Pamplona Bull Run consists of a herd of six fighting bulls and six steers charging through the narrow streets of Pamplona, covering a distance of approximately 825 meters (half-a-mile).

  1. The largest marathon in the world is the New York City Marathon, with over 50,000 finishers each year.

  1. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon, despite attempts to remove her from the race.

  1. The oldest annual marathon is the Boston Marathon, first held in 1897.

  1. The Barkley Marathons, held in Tennessee, USA, is considered one of the toughest ultramarathons, with a completion rate of less than 2%.

  1. The Tarahumara tribe in Mexico, known for their long-distance running ability, can run for hundreds of miles without rest.

  1. The fastest mile ever recorded by a human is 3 minutes and 43.13 seconds, set by Hicham El Guerrouj in 1999.

  1. The Badwater Ultramarathon, held in Death Valley, USA, is known as the world's toughest foot race, with scorching temperatures reaching up to 55°C (131°F).

  1. The "Run for Your Lives" event combines running with a zombie apocalypse-themed obstacle course.

  1. Dean Karnazes, an ultramarathon runner, once ran 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days in all 50 states of the USA.

  1. The oldest recorded footrace in history is the stadion race, which dates back to ancient Greece and was approximately 192 meters long.

  1. In the 1904 Olympic marathon, Thomas Hicks was given a mixture of brandy and strychnine (a poisonous substance) to help him finish the race.

  1. The Hash House Harriers, an international running group, combines running with socializing and drinking beer.

  1. The average person's running stride is about 1.5 times their height.

  1. The fastest 100 meters ever recorded is 9.58 seconds, achieved by Usain Bolt in 2009.

  1. Running can help improve digestion and alleviate constipation. Winning.

  1. "Beer Mile" races involve running four laps around a track while consuming a can of beer before each lap.

  1. In the 2019 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, Jim Walmsley set a new course record with a time of 14 hours, 9 minutes, and 28 seconds.

  1. The Comrades Marathon in South Africa is the world's oldest and largest ultramarathon, covering a distance of approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles).

  1. "Joggling" is a sport that combines juggling while jogging or running.

  1. The Wings for Life World Run is a global race where participants are chased by a "Catcher Car" that gradually increases in speed until it passes them.

  1. The treadmill was originally invented as a form of punishment for prisoners in the early 19th century.

  1. Running barefoot or with minimalist shoes has gained popularity in recent years due to the belief that it promotes better running form and reduces injuries.

  1. The Marathon des Sables in Morocco is a self-sufficiency ultramarathon where participants must carry all their food, clothing, and supplies for the duration of the race.

  1. "Parkrun" is a free, weekly 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) timed run that takes place in various locations around the world.

  1. The Barkley Marathons trail race has no official start time, and participants have a 12-hour window to begin the race once the bugle is blown.

  1. The fastest 10K (6.2 miles) ever recorded is 26 minutes and 17 seconds, achieved by Joshua Cheptegei in 2020.

  1. Each step you run involves you moving over 200 muscles.

  1. The Guinness World Record for the longest run on a treadmill is held by Suresh Joachim, who ran for 517 hours and 37 minutes in 2004.

  1. The "Beer Belly Run" in Belgium requires participants to run while carrying a crate of beer on their belly.

  1. Humans can outrun almost every animal in the world over long distances. The ones that have us are cats, rabbits and kangaroos.

  1. The "Color Run" is a 5-kilometer race where participants are doused with colored powder at various checkpoints.

  1. The "Big Five Marathon" in South Africa takes place in a game reserve, with runners encountering wild animals such as lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalos, and leopards along the route.

  1. The Guinness World Record for the most marathons run in one year is held by Larry Macon, who completed 239 marathons in 2013.

  1. The "Vertical Kilometer" is a type of race that covers 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) of elevation gain within a distance of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).

  1. The "Run Rabbit Run" ultramarathon in Colorado, USA, awards a belt buckle to finishers who complete the 100-mile race within 36 hours.

  1. The International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) is the governing body for ultramarathon races worldwide.

  1. The "Beer Lovers' Marathon" in Belgium offers participants beer instead of water at the aid stations along the course.

  1. The Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon run while dribbling a basketball is 3 hours, 8 minutes, and 16 seconds.

  1. The "Naked Run" in Denmark encourages participants to run a race while completely naked.

  1. The "Pikes Peak Marathon" in Colorado, USA, is known for its challenging ascent to the summit of Pikes Peak, standing at an elevation of 4,302 meters (14,115 feet).

  1. The fastest 50 kilometers (31 miles) ever recorded is 2 hours, 43 minutes, and 38 seconds, achieved by Jim Walmsley in 2019.

  1. The "Man vs. Horse Marathon" in Wales pits runners against horseback riders in a 35-kilometer (22-mile) race and, yeah, the horses tend to prevail.

Thanks for reading our blog about the craziest running facts. For more running insights, inspirations, stories and techniques, follow us on Instagram to take your runs to the next level.

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