Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Traviss Willcox from the UK now claims annual Marathon record!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Traviss Willcox from the UK now claims annual Marathon record!

On Tuesday, I put up a post about Larry Macon from the USA running 113 Marathons in one annual year and claiming a new world record. This was reported by some of the American running websites and was even picked up the by the online Huffington Post.

Well, now it seems that Traviss Willcox from the UK was busy racking up the Marathons quietly in 2011 and now claims to have run 114, one more than Larry Macon! His 114th and last Marathon of 2011 was in Pensacola, Florida. After 51 weeks of often painful effort, he was forced to run eight marathons in the final eight days of 2011.

Marathon Records of Traviss Willcox (as of January 2, 2012)
Most marathon events completed in a year: 114 (World Record)
Most marathon events completed in a 365 day period: 115 (World Record)
Fastest to first 100 marathon completions: 688 days (World Record)
Fastest to first 100 different marathon events: 720 days (World Record)
Fastest completion of 100 marathon events - 284 Days (World Record)
Fastest completion of 50 marathon events - 114 Days (World Record)
Most UK&I marathon events in a calendar year - 79 (British Record)

Excerpts from an interview with Traviss Willcox on another website........
My initial goal was to do 50, and then the thought struck me, well, if I can do 50 in a year, could I maybe do 67, to reach my 100 marathons? Then by March it was could I do 74, to break the British record for most in a calendar year? By April it was 87, beating the British record for most in a 365 day period, and for a while the target hovered around the 90 mark. It really wasn't until June/July when a couple of events sprung up in Ireland that 100 in the year really became a target. And beyond that didn't happen until October.

How do you manage to fit in 100+ marathons in a year?
Basically that's two most weekends and I think every Bank Holiday - simple as that. One or two are on weekdays but 95% are weekends and holidays.

Now these were all proper 'official' marathon events?
Absolutely. The 100 Marathon Club have a set of rules as to what can be counted a marathon. No running round the park by myself and calling that a marathon as some people count them. Have to have permits, minimum numbers of people, results published, open to everyone and so on.

The logistics of all this must be pretty terrifying. How did you find them all?
Well some were ultras and all involved lots of early morning drives, late night drives, all over the place. That's really the hardest part of the challenge, people often ask me, how on earth do I do it? But half the battle is simply getting to these events. Saturday might be Devon, Sunday Wiltshire. Being in Kent that's three long drives, at odd hours, two of them whilst very stiff and sore! Some of the drives were just horrible, I'd just tend to seize up and they weren't much fun. This is where having an understanding girlfriend helps. Rachel, who did 20 marathons herself in 2011, probably drove me to 20-25 events, that sort of thing just saves a lot of wearing down, dozing in a car is rather more restful than driving! Then a couple of times there have been Monday events in Ireland, so I'd tack that on the end. The Royal Wedding weekend for me was a marathon on the Friday in Berkshire, a 40 mile ultra on Saturday in Oxfordshire, a marathon in Dorset on Sunday, then fly to Belfast, got there at midnight, marathon in the morning and back home again that evening. Running around the local park by myself would have been so much simpler!

What's this circuit you've mentioned?
Well there are a few hardcore runners about, members of the 100 Marathon Club, those aspiring to join that sort of thing. People doing 20, 30, 40 marathons a year sort of area, one or two doing 50 plus. You just meet an awful lot of nice people, generally everyone is supportive, encouraging and knows what you're going through as we all go through the same experiences. Have made a lot of great friends. There are maybe only a hundred people doing this sort of thing in the country, but you soon get to know the faces. The nice thing though is that there is little ego involved, nobody cares if they did better than you, or worse than you, they're just glad you showed up and put the miles in.

People must have suspected your target though?
Yes, by April or May some of the regulars had noticed that I always appeared to be everywhere, and they could add up and put two and two together. I was generally vague and stuck to the line of just trying to do as many as I could in the year, which then went to 100 in the year eventually when that became obvious. Records though I only really ever mentioned later in the year to a few trusted friends. Didn't really want word getting out. But in many ways that didn't really matter anyway, the goal was really just to do as many as I could. The records were just milestones along the way, they weren't the reason, the real reason was pushing till I broke. Or not, as the case may be! I always assumed at some stage I would just get injured, be out for a month or two and then that would be that - I'd tried, and that's as far as I got.

When did the world record really start to enter your thoughts?
Six Mile Bridge in Ireland (photo above), 5 in 5 days, I was last every day, I was in a lot of pain, but the Irish guys were so friendly and supportive, I started to think that if I could do that, then maybe, just maybe... But it really wasn't until October that plans firmed up, I had a very tough end of August and September, 15 in about 30 days or so, survived that and then decided to go all in for everything. The UK season starts winding down about October so knew I'd have to travel if I was to get close to the world record and decided to go all in for everything I could. I was fortunate that several small events sprung up that fitted in well with my schedule and friends found me a couple of obscure events I wouldn't have otherwise found. Finally the Christmas to New Year marathons were confirmed in Florida and my credit card took a hit!

Did you ever have any doubts?
Every single time I lined up! The problem is that 26.2 miles is just so far! There have been times I've gotten 500 yards and thought I cannot possibly do this. By three miles, it's beyond my comprehension how I'm going to manage another 23 of them sometimes. But you just put one foot in front of another, and eventually the end arrives.

What was your quickest time?
Each time was a real surprise, but I actually broke my PB (Personal Best - Ed) five times during the year. The quickest was 4 hours 41 at the Andover Marathon in December, the 103rd of the year. I must have been getting the hang of it by then!

365 in one year.....Just for reference the start of 2011, Stefaan Engels from Belgium claimed a record by running 365 Marathons in one year. What Engels did was to run the marathon distance for 365 days (12 officially organised Marathons and the other 353 were ran by himself around his home town) whereas Larry Macon and Traviss Willcox actually ran official Marathons.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this guy was running in sixmile bridge!! he kept going with agonising shin splints