- Alyssa Clark
- 95 day(s)
- Italy (Naples)
The most consecutive days to run a marathon distance (female) is 95, achieved by Alyssa Clark (USA), from 31 March to 3 July 2020.
Alyssa lives with her husband, who works for the US Navy and was stationed in Naples, Italy, in early 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a competitive runner, she was unable to compete in any races due to lockdown measures which banned people from going outside in order to stop the spread of the virus, and so decided to set herself a new challenge of completing a marathon on a treadmill every day until the lockdown ended. Her initial plan was to run 14 marathons, however lockdown was extended and she decided to continue until it was ended. On day 25 she realised she could challenge for a record title after seeing the record to beat was 60, and so decided to continue with her daily marathon runs until she had broken the record. The runs would eventually become such an important part of her daily life as she navigated the effects of the pandemic that she decided to try for 100 consecutive days, and came so close to achieving her goal! Sadly on day 95 she became ill and could no longer complete the required distance. Her plan was always to stop at 100 as she had races and adventures planned for the fall and needed time for her body to recover.
Alyssa has been a runner for most of her life. Growing up in Bennington, Vermont, she loved sports and would do runs and hikes in in Glacier National Park with her family. She had no idea it was not normal to go out on long adventures at a young age and challenge your limits. “My parents never pushed us to be athletes, but it became a huge focus of our lives”, she told GWR. In high school she began long-distance trail running and cross-country skiing and continued through college. One of her fondest memories from college was her annual “run to school” with her mom. By way of the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail in Vermont, they would run 20 miles from her hometown and ending at her dorm room at Williams. She had vowed to one day complete a marathon after graduating, but ended up skipping that stage and went straight to ultra-marathons, competing in official races as young as 22 years of age! Her brother and sister are also accomplished athletes in cross-country skiing and rowing respectively.
For the record attempt, she followed a strict schedule. Each run would start around 7:30 AM (or 6:00 AM once she was back in Florida), which allowed her to finish around mid-day and take a shower, eat lunch and rest if needed. She always made sure to have everything prepared the night before so she could get up and go each morning. Sleep was also a very important element of recovery and getting a good night’s rest on each day was crucial to success. She says the “biggest key is to enjoy what you are doing. If you don’t fundamentally love what you are doing, it will become a chore rather than a gift. I genuinely enjoyed I would say 95% of the time I spent running marathons.” During her runs she would listen to audiobooks and podcasts, and during the runs she was forced to complete on the treadmill she would watch “silly TV shows and movies” to keep herself entertained. She also completed a number of runs alongside friends.
The most challenging day for Alyssa was undoubtedly the day in which she and her husband returned to the US via military cargo plane. She ran a marathon in the morning before getting on the plane in Italy, however they were delayed and did not arrive at the Air Force Base in Germany until 9:30 PM. Their flight to the US was scheduled for 9:00 AM the next day, so to make sure nothing went wrong she decided to wake up at 00:30 AM and complete her daily marathon in the early hours. After finishing around 5:20 AM she immediately showered, ate and fell asleep for a few hours, before taking the flight back to the US.
Out of the 95 runs she completed, she believes her fastest was around 4 hours and her slowest around 4:45, on a very hot and dusty day in Italy. As of completing her attempt, the male record for this challenge was 59 consecutive runs.
On competing the attempt, she said “I am so incredibly thankful for the experience of running these marathons and sharing a bit of my journey with others. It truly changed my life in the most unexpected ways and I am deeply humbled by the chance I was given to complete these marathons. I also will say it is impossible to run 95 marathons without the undying support and love of a massive community. I could not have achieved this goal without all of the people along the way who believed in me and my dream…
Achieving a Guinness World Records title would be a tremendous honor and opportunity to show how the boundaries of what we believe are possible are much farther away then we think. It would be incredible to see this record provide the challenge to another woman to push the record even further. The greatest gift I could receive is inspiring a young woman out there to read about this record and believe she can do more than her wildest imagination.”