Much has been written about Amy Hughes, the woman who claimed to have run 520 miles on a treadmill in a week. She also claims to have run 53 marathons in 53 days.
Her treadmill run would have been an official Guinness record, had she followed the rules:
Why Guinness Didn’t Validate The Record
In a recent Runner’s World Article on this topic, Guinness issued a statement:
“Unfortunately, the witness recording the majority of Amy’s progress was not independent of her, meaning we were unable to ratify the attempt as this is an infringement of a core policy for record validation.
The attempt has not been deemed invalid due to lack of witnesses, rather the lack of impartiality of the witness who took the recording of the distance she covered. We are not disputing that Amy ran for one week—this is absolutely clear to see from her evidence. It is the recording of how far she ran which we cannot accept. It is vital for the integrity of all of our records to ensure the requisite witnesses are completely independent from the person attempting the record.
We know how much time and dedication went into this record attempt and the motivation for Amy’s attempt is hugely admirable. We sincerely hope that this decision will not deter Amy from looking to break a world record in the future.”
Guinness requires two independent witnesses to validate the record. At the heart of the issue is that Hughes’ boyfriend served as a witness. It is clear that a boyfriend would not be an additional witness.
The response was typical. Go to social media and blast those that report the story. Then, have someone create a petition. Hughes ran a long way that week. Exactly how long may be in question, but she should not need Guinness to validate the claim. She would have been better served to accept the decision with grace. Acknowledge her failings, and set out to prove to the community that she is truly capable of such a record – whether through another attempt, or by participating in one of many multi-day or even 24 hour races.
There is a change.org petition, which overstates the opinion of the global running community:
Amy Hughes set out to break the Guiness World Record for the most amount of miles on a Treadmill. The record attempt took place in Manchesters Trafford Centre in front of a crowd each day as well as key milestones filmed and logs kept throughout the challenge. In total she ran 521 mile in 7 days, the previous record* was 517.63 miles (set in 2011).
Amy submitted the evidence to GWR for verification however she was refused as one of the independent witnesses was someone related to her however there were many that were not. The whole running community believes this to be morally wrong after the blood, sweat and tears that went into attempting the GWR.
We call on GWR to ratify this attempt by Amy Hughes and work with her to satisfy the requirements to have her GWR attempt recognised.
The Worldwide Running Community
Amy also issued multiple responses to her Facebook page.
Clearly she didn’t meet the standards set by Guinness. Additionally one sleuth watched some video that was posted on YouTube of the attempts, and notice multiple instances where she appeared to be leaning on the railing. Shortly after the below video starts, she is seen looking off to the right before leaning on the railing. There are multiple instances where she is seen repeating this pattern. Surely taking breaks by leaning on the rails is not or should not be allowable in such a record attempt.
Despite the efforts to throw blame at the critics, and to obtain signatures from the ‘worldwide running community’ it is clear that in this instance Guinness made the correct decision.
She obviously ran many miles over those 7 days. Her blisters were real. But she failed to meet the requirements – not just with her choice of witnesses, but she failed physically when she took rest breaks as shown in the video above.
But this entire situation once again leads me to wonder – why is Guinness validating athletic achievements?
Guinness (correctly) refused to validate this record. Yet, they refuse to correct themselves and remove two of Parvaneh Moayedi’s records.
Parvaneh runs a marathon series (I RAN Marathons), most of her results are in her own races. Witnesses consistently have stated that she never runs the full marathons. I have once again reached out to Guinness. This time asking to see who validated her times.
Most Marathons Run On Consecutive Days – Female – 17 (12-21-2012 through 1-6-2013)
Most Marathons Run in One Year – Female – 168 (11-11-2012 through 11-10-2013)
There are races that took place on the same day in different states. She claimed to run two marathons one day, a 100 miler the next, and a marathon the following day. All of those are included in her bogus most marathons in one year record.
If Guinness wants to continue to be seen at the authority in the validation of such records, they need to remove this farce of a record and admit that they were wrong in validating it.
It is my personal opinion that the same publication that keeps the record for world’s longest toenails (Louise Hollis – consistently maintained at 6 inches) should not be validating true athletic achievements.
As a result of her treadmill record being denied, people have questioned her ability. 520 miles on a treadmill in 7 days would require an ability on par with the elite ultra runners and multi day runners. While she will not be able to have this record validated, there are many sanctioned multi day races – or even 24 hour races where she could at least validate her abilities. To date, none of her official races stand out. She admits that she is not fast, but she can prove her stamina in any # of sanctioned events.
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