Saturday, July 18, 2015

Our most record-breakingest blog post yet

Our June 12 Facebook post focused on James Lawrence, who was preparing to complete 50 Ironman-distance triathlons in 50 states in 50 days. And I know you’re just dying to find out what homeboy’s up to.

Turns out he’s nearly done.

TV station WISH in Muncie, Ind., brings us this story and reports he was on Ironman No. 40, and he’s slated to put No. 50 in his belt in his home state of Utah on July 25. Nicknamed the “Iron Cowboy”, Lawrence is truly doing something unprecedented. The video suggests he doesn’t swim-bike-run consecutively, though. He swims 2.4 miles in the morning, bikes 112 miles later in the day, then runs 26.2 miles later still. It’s still ridiculously impressive, though.

Jurek vs Appalachian Trail
Speaking of record holders, ultra-marathon stud Scott Jurek is no slouch. In fact, he recently broke the Appalachian Trail thru-hike record. In 2011, Jennifer Pharr Davis completed the 2,189-mile trail in 46 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes. Jurek clipped three hours off the mark, which is a .003 percent improvement, equivalent to winning the 100 meters by .03 seconds.

Though their times were amazingly similar, these two hikers took different paths. Jurek hiked south to north, while Pharr David went north to south. Hiking nearly 47 miles a day, Pharr Davis’ pace was enough to push Jurek (a world-class ultra runner) to the brink. They also employed different sleeping strategies.

While these two athletes have the utmost respect for each other, Jurek’s mark is now squarely in the crosshairs, as 47-year-old Karl Meltzer will attempt to break his mark next summer. Meltzer unsuccessfully attempted to hike the Appalachian Trail in 2008 and 2014.

Where were you 22 years ago?
That’s how long the women’s 1500 meter world record had stood—until Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba set a new standard Friday. Dibaba finished in 3 minutes, 50.07 seconds, edging out China’s Qu Yunxia’s previous mark of 3:50:46, set way back in 1993.

Yunxia’s mark was considered nearly invincible, and for good reason. Her finish is equivalent to a 4:08.41 mile, and the women’s world record in the mile is 4:12.56.

American Shannon Rowbury finished third in an American-record 3:56.29 (besting Mary Slaney’s 32-year-old mark of 3:57.12), and fellow countrywoman Jenny Simpson placed fourth in 3:57.30.