For any fitness enthusiast, the bucket list of sporting achievements often includes the marathon. You don’t have to be an avid runner to feel the lure of lacing up to run 42km. For some, it’s not so much a question of time as it is the mental toughness required to last the distance. But while the marathon certainly stands as the pinnacle for most cardio enthusiasts, the 50km is another beast entirely. But proving that the limits of human endurance are only constructed in the mind, Ethiopian runner Ketema Negasa has stunned the racing world, breaking the men’s 50km world record with a time of 2:42:07. To put things in perspective, some athletes train their whole lives to break 3 hours in the marathon. Negasa smashes 3 hours and that’s for 50km.
Having previously focused on the marathon distance with a personal best of 2:11:07, it seems Negasa may have overlooked his true calling in the ultra distance events. To achieve the record time, Negasa covered the 50km course in a staggering clip, running 3:15 per kilometre. We’re not even sure we could keep that up for 800m. With such a speed, Negasa beat the previous world record which was held by American runner CJ Albertson, by 23 seconds.
The event, held in South Africa, was a memorable one for the running community which continues to rebuild following the global pandemic as races get underway. In the women’s race, South Africa’s Van Zyl ran the second-fastest time over the distance. She completed the course in a time of 3:04:23, faster than the previous record of 3:07:20 which was set by Great Britain’s Aly Dixon in 2019. Currently, it’s American runner Des Linden who holds the women’s 50km world record with a time of 2:59:54, having become the first woman to ever run the distance in less than three hours.
It’s a memorable moment for running and one that serves as some serious inspiration for fitness enthusiasts around the world.