Guinness Was Right in Refusing To Validate Amy Hughes Treadmill Record

Hughes Failed To Meet The Requirements Set By Guinness and Blasts Runner's World For Reporting On It

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.

Hughes’ Response

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:

Change.org petition

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.

Regards

The Worldwide Running Community

 

Amy also issued multiple responses to her Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/5353-Marathons-188981147892380/videos/?ref=page_internal

 

 

Additional Evidence

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’s Inconsistency

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.

Summary

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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12 Comments on this post.

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  • Emme
    8 August 2017 at 1:16 pm

    I’m in no way defending this runner, but curious if it is stated in the GWR that leaning on the rails disqualifies someone from the record?

    Leave a Reply
    • derek murphy
      8 August 2017 at 10:51 pm

      If it doesn’t, then that furthers my argument that Guinness should not be validating such records.

      Leave a Reply
  • Urban B
    8 August 2017 at 2:33 pm

    I’ve often heard that if you can come up with something obscure enough, and follow Guiness’s guidelines, you can be listed. As far as their validating some kind of athletic achievement, some records are kept by professional organizations, but others are not. In these cases, I have no problem with Guiness providing the standard. I prefer the IAAF keep their focus on their job, and let Guiness handle the ‘fastest 10k run backwards while reciting Exodus’ crowd.

    Leave a Reply
    • Raddison
      8 August 2017 at 3:01 pm

      There is a problem when the stunt runner records start to infringe on legitimate ultra records. I too have no problem with Guinness validating the fastest marathon by someone dressed as Elvis or running with a wine bottle balanced on their head. But ultra and multi-day events, whether it be track, trail, road or treadmill, with no gimmicks are involved, should be handled by a sports body, not Guinness. The IAAF handles various track records and Guinness will only publish them. They do not publish records for the fastest 130 meters or the fastest 990 yards. If it is not an IAAF distance Guinness ignore it.

      I feel the best solution to this infringement by stunt runners would be for the ultra community to establish a world body that defines and oversees records. Guinness would only then publish records ratified by this body. If such a body already exists (I am not an ultra runner) then they should contact Guinness and try to get Guinness to treat their records the way they treat the IAAF records.

      Leave a Reply
  • Opeth
    8 August 2017 at 3:23 pm

    I find the petition to circumvent the rules to be distasteful. To paraphrase Walter Sobchak from the Big Lebowski, ‘Doesn’t anybody give a S#$% about the rules?’.

    Past that, I wish Guinness would subject Parvaneh Moayedi to the same scrutiny that it gave Amy Hughes.

    Donation submitted, Derek- I really enjoy your site and keep up the good work.

    Leave a Reply
  • shawn
    8 August 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Since the guys behind the original Guiness book started off tracking running results (read “The Perfect Mile” for more on their background and involvement with Roger Bannister) I see no reason why they should track and endorse records like the most treadmill miles in a week.

    Agree she should not be petitioning Guiness to get them to change their rules. She should be proud of her accomplishment and consider whether she wants to attempt it again some time while following all of Guiness’ rules. (i have not looked at their rules for treadmill records to see whether any breaks or leaning is allowed; I know their rules for things like treading water have changed over the years.)

    I don’t think some of our community’s comments (on other sites, mostly) are being completely fair to her. Running on a treadmill at 0 incline is certainly easier than doing road miles as we all know, so it isn’t apples-to-apples to compare her feat to the times and distances of other ultra runners in 24-hour races or other trail or road events. For now, I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and wish her all the best!

    Leave a Reply
  • Bryan
    9 August 2017 at 10:01 am

    Shawn,

    As a mid-pack trail runner, with multiple 100 mile finishes (both over and under 24 hours), I think it’s actually tougher to run on a 0% treadmill (which begs the question, did she keep it at 0% the entire time). Of course, I can barely survive 1 hour on the dreadmill under the best of circumstances.

    Whether she actually completed the miles or not isn’t the real issue to me, it’s the fact that she thinks that the rules shouldn’t apply to her. I’ve got friends who have set GWRs, and the first thing that they did (after deciding which record to chase) was to insure that they could follow Guiness’s rules.

    Leave a Reply
    • AndrewFS
      10 August 2017 at 4:31 am

      Exactly, well said. It sounds like a lot of trouble has gone into organising the attempt – it was held in a shopping centre after all, you’d think if you were planning like that you’d make sure you did everything required to satisfy Guinness. I know a few people who have attempted world record challenges (usually fastest marathon dressed as something strange!), and they have all contacted Guinness in advance to ensure they meet the requirements. It’s not difficult.

      I’m also slightly offended that the petition claims to speak for the whole running community when it clearly does not. I’ll be very disappointed if Guinness don’t stand firm on this, their current stance is clearly correct.

      Leave a Reply
    • shawn
      14 August 2017 at 1:03 am

      Bryan: I’m sure we could start quite a debate on the topic of whether the trail or the treadmill is easier, but I’ll stick to my position that if I was forced to log huge miles I could do it easier on a treadmill. I don’t like them either, but I found they are good for interval training (because I can set-and-forget the pace) and for training for the Pikes Peak Ascent (because I can crank the incline to 10 and slog out a few miles easier than driving to Manitou.) Happy Trails!

      Leave a Reply
  • Katzenjammer
    9 August 2017 at 10:33 am

    Not having your boyfriend validate your world record attempt seems like a simple rule to follow, no?

    I am all for people breaking world records and, after the dodginess of the LEJOG attempt last year and the transAmerica run where the guy was in the van for half of it with an intern keeping track, I really want people to get the acknowledgement due.

    Susie Chan and her effort at Kingston University was followed by us all. This one though, I would support more, if not for the reaction of the masses to blindly follow knowing a GWR rule had been violated. Storming GWR head offices with torches and pitchforks because you like/fancy/obsess about Amy is not reason alone for giving her a record. Also, starting a popularity contest in the form of a petition is not how to win friends. It smacks of “you did wrong, but are not trying to force the issue”.

    If the rules were followed Amy should get it. If not then no. GWR should not be swayed by a petition to change their own rules.

    Leave a Reply
  • Jute
    9 August 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Are you saying she (treadmill girl) cheated or attempted to cheat on some way? Or just that Guiness was correct in its application of a rule requiring independent verification. Or both? It is a bit confusing because I don’t know what “rules” Guiness requires.
    Thanks

    Leave a Reply
    • Brian
      17 August 2017 at 10:29 am

      The rule is that the witnesses to the attempt cannot be associated with the person making the attempt and one of hers was.

      Leave a Reply

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