Robert Young’s “Fastest Crossing Across America” Attempt is Over

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There has been quite a bit of controversy regarding Rob Young’s attempted fastest crossing across America.

That has been covered on letsrun.com in excruciating detail. In the early days of the run, Rob was posting world class mileage when compared to multi-day runners. He was looking incredibly fresh, and there were some anomalies with the mileage claimed vs information posted on Facebook.

Most of those details were covered in Runner’s World.

Their explanation regarding the incident that started this thread on letsrun.com changed over time.

You can see all of Rob’s postings and explanations on his Facebook page.

Even before the letsrun thread, there was a team of ultra runners that were planning to meet up with Rob to observe his running. This team was led by Gary “Laz” Cantrell. They did meet up with him early last week. During this time of observation, Rob began to struggle.

The last posting by the team on the FB page detailed injuries Rob suffered that resulted in a visit to the Hospital.

It was after this point that Laz stopped observing. For all intents and purposes, the record attempt was over . No matter what happened early on in the run, he was not going to beat the record.

Friday morning was a bit surreal. The letsrun crew was following the tracker intently as it went from an East Indianapolis Wal-Mart to an RV dealer, back to Walmart, to a UPS store, and finally to Golden Corral. At that point it would appear they turned off the tracker.

I had previously contacted Rob’s team with the intention of meeting him somewhere in Ohio. I wanted to speak to Rob myself prior to writing any potential article. On Saturday morning, they claimed that Rob was going to continue on, but that they were conceding that the record was out of reach.

@MarathonMan_UK Rob Young continuing on. record attempt is over. pic.twitter.com/Xc99ugBFzr
— MarathonInvestigator (@MarathnInvestgr) June 18, 2016

 As of last night. there was still no movement on the tracker, so I emailed again last night, and got the response that the run was over. Rob never ran after the visit to the hospital.

@MarathonMan_UK Run has officially been abandoned. pic.twitter.com/nhXomfNFL8
— MarathonInvestigator (@MarathnInvestgr) June 20, 2016

Rob will need to address the controversy at some point if he is to continue to make a life out of these types of runs. His team has said that they will release the GPS data. But most are skeptical that we will ever have access.

Laz’s observations seemed to indicate that Rob was naive and the crew was inexperienced, but that he does have some talent and an impressive ability to recover and run miles after seemingly being exhausted.

Rob’s performance under observation did not show any indication of the ability to run at the level that was logged early on in his attempt.

I will close by posting an open letter that was posted by a member of the ultralist. (Posted with Permission)

Dear Mr. Young,

Now that your USA transcon record attempt is over, I would like to share a

few thoughts with you.

Whether you know it or not, whether you understand it or not, you were given

a great gift. You just received perhaps the best introduction to and

coaching for multiday running that anyone could wish for. I’d venture that

any ultrarunner at all interested in running multidays would give

practically anything to have Gary Cantrell, Ray Kroelwicz and Bill Schultz

spend a week watching them run and giving their help and advice.

By the accounts they have shared, you are an ultrarunner with real ability,

and with real heart and determination. By their accounts, you could be

pretty good at multiday running if you showed up to some races and worked at

it. Also by their accounts though, you are not the ultrarunner you have

claimed to be. Few of us who do these things were surprised to learn that.

Your claims were incredible and they were not believed by those who know

(except for a few of the most accepting, trusting souls among us).

You were given a great gift. You also now have a great opportunity.

I do not know what demons drove you to fabricate these incredible stories of

your life. Ultrarunning is a sport liberally populated by people running

from demons though  – a great collection of misfits of one sort or another.

You have come to one of the most open and accepting communities on this

planet. You may not think so right now, after the blistering you have taken

in the past few weeks. We are tough on those who cut corners, on those who

try to claim the honor without suffering in the trenches with everyone else,

but (even now) if you simply put that behind you and show up at some races

as the regular guy that you are, run with us, suffer with us, and show us

your real heart, you will be accepted among us. Perhaps not by all, but

certainly by many. You will find support and encouragement among us, and you

will earn respect for what you have really done. Though I can only really

speak for myself, I do believe these things to be true.

My hope is that this appeals to you. By all accounts you are an extremely

nice and likeable guy, and I believe I would enjoy meeting you, and perhaps

sharing some time running in endless circles with you somewhere. I hope you

will consider giving us a try.

Yours very sincerely,

Patrick McHenry

Jamesville, NY USA

12 COMMENTS

  1. He is a scamming con man. Go home Rob, and get a job and pay for your kids, instead of scamming the public to fund your lifestyle.
    You are a lying cheat. The fact people still believe you are some kind of hero simply baffles me. You took other peoples money and lied your way across America.
    Every aspect of your life is now being examined, including where the American "charity" money is going.

  2. 'Suffering in the trenches?' You're not a bloody soldier and it's not a war! Although by the amount of time and effort that has gone into disproving his attempt across this 'forgiving' community is astounding! It's just a run. If his data doesn't add up that's it. Simple. Say so and move on. So many people say how accepting the running community is yet I find that hard to swallow when you read the huge amount of comments over the last few weeks on social media. Just a run folks. Just a run.

  3. "Suffering in the trenches" is an idiom. I'm pretty sure that if you take everything written in it's literal sense the English language won't make much sense to you.

  4. It's a poor use of an idiom in my opinion but my point still stands. There seems to be an increasing amount of hostility towards people in our 'forgiving' community. It's just a sport that's all. I hope people keep things in perspective, that's my point I think you missed.

  5. I like the letter and wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments. Only Rob and his support crew know what led them to embark on what, in lieu of hard data to the contrary, appears to be a conspiracy, albeit a failed one, either intended from the outset or emerging during the run, to claim a record falsely. As an isolated incident, I suspect, it would be easier to uphold the humane sentiment described in the open letter; that this run appears to be the culmination of a pattern of behaviour does make it tougher, I think. Tough or not, I believe that the running community I know would accept Rob, as he is, an ordinary bloke who made a few mistakes, however likely that will require some humility on Rob's behalf to acknowledge the mistakes he has made.

  6. Call me jaded if you like but I've seen too many bullshit journey records by 'ultrarunning legends' including trans continental and around the world. As always stat decs signed, witnesses, logs, gps however on any close inspection they've cut corners in some way. It's particularly amusing when two rivals show each others claims false and in my opinion a bit rich for any one ultrarunning group to call out another. MP

  7. How is it just a run if you do half of it in your van.

    Rob should enter an official ultra with timekeepers or not claim to have unsubstanciated records. One check of his PB's on Power of 10 compared to his claimed pb's show you what we are dealing with.

    His claimed PB's were fake and his latest run was a fake as soon as he wa checked he dropped out

    UKA Running Coach Level 2

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