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Treadmill Half Marathon World Record Toppled

Weary of icy roads and sub-zero temperatures, runners around the country have been turning to the treadmill this winter. But one man, 23-year-old Tyler Andrews, took his treadmill running a little more seriously.

On Saturday, he set a new world record for the treadmill half marathon, running the 13.1-mile race in 1:07:18, nearly 11 seconds faster than a Scottish long distance runner named Andrew Lemoncello.

The record was set at Boston’s Marathon Sports store in front of a crowd that included running fans, as well as curious shoppers.

Andrews dedicated his run to Strive Trips, an organization he co-owns that brings American students to Peru and Kenya to work on community development.

Here & Now’s Karyn Miller-Medzon was at the record-setting event and brought us this report.

Reporter

  • Karyn Miller-Medzon, avid runner and frequent producer for Here & Now.

Transcript

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

Well, when you think about world records in running, you might think about races on the roads or maybe the track. But world records can also be set on treadmills, which a lot of runners use to train during the winter. HERE AND NOW's Karyn Miller-Medzon has the story.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Runner set, go.

KARYN MILLER-MEDZON, BYLINE: That sound, the whir of a treadmill motor and the rapid-fire thump of feet smacking the belt was also the sound of a world-record run this weekend. That's when 23-year-old Tyler Andrews, a native of Massachusetts who trains year round in the mountains of Ecuador, crushed the current half-marathon treadmill world record by more than 11 seconds, running to raise awareness for STRIVE, an organization that brings student athletes to Peru in South America to train and to take part in community development programs. Surrounded by fans and curious onlookers at Marathon Sports in downtown Boston, the minutes ticked by and so did the miles.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Eight miles in 40.53. That was a 505-mile. He's now 17 seconds under world record pace.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

MILLER-MEDZON: But as in most long distance races, this record was not going to come easily. By mile 12 of the 13.1-mile distance, Tyler was grimacing and his pace has slowed.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: 12 miles, 101.52, six seconds above world record pace.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He needs a five-minute last mile to do it.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

MILLER-MEDZON: In the end, Tyler succeeded, running the last mile in a blazing 458, giving him a finishing time of one hour, seven minutes and 19 seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That beats the listed world record by 12 seconds.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

MILLER-MEDZON: And with that, Tyler collapsed. When he got up a few minutes later, I congratulated him.

TYLER ANDREWS: Thank you. Thank you, guys, for coming here.

MILLER-MEDZON: So what does it feel like? You just set a world record by about 12 seconds, and you looked like you were in pain at the end. How are you feeling now?

ANDREWS: Yeah, that about sums it up. You know, I don't think anybody, you know, except maybe Haile Gebrselassie really looks good while they're finishing a long race. So there's - it feels good. I think it'll sink in later. But right now, I just, you know, like I run really hard for 67 minutes. And I feel I like I just want to sit down for a little while. And I also never really run a real race before on a treadmill, so that was also a new thing that we're adding this time.

MILLER-MEDZON: Your feet at the end kind of looked like you'd never run a race on the treadmill. How painful was that?

ANDREWS: Yeah. I got a kind of nasty blister on my right big toe there that was bleeding through my shoe. But I guess, I've actually - I never lost a race in those shoes, so those are kind of my lucky shoes.

MILLER-MEDZON: Now, you did set a world record, but you had unofficially set a world record in November. Is it true that you had run a world record without really even knowing it?

ANDREWS: Yes. So that's kind of how this all started. Back in November, I was doing a fundraiser for STRIVE, and I ran 66 minutes on a five-minute pace, so I ended up passing the half marathon in about 105.30.

MILLER-MEDZON: So you mentioned STRIVE, which is the company that you co-own. Tell us about what STRIVE is and why you are running for STRIVE.

ANDREWS: We arrange international community trips for high school and college students. And for me, as both an athlete and someone who has been really passionate about service and internationally worked for a long time, that melds really well for me because it kind of balances the selfish nature of athletics versus like the selfless nature of service.

MILLER-MEDZON: And so now, what's next? You have bleeding feet. You're nauseous. You're looking just a little pale. What's next in your running agenda?

ANDREWS: I travel back down to Quito, Ecuador. That's where I've been training, and I come back about the week of the Boston Marathon, so mid-April.

MILLER-MEDZON: Good luck.

ANDREWS: Thank you very much.

HOBSON: That's Tyler Andrews, speaking with HERE AND NOW's Karyn Miller-Medzon. And, Meghna, if I were running a marathon, I would spend the time in Ecuador.

(LAUGHTER)

HOBSON: Forget about the inside and the treadmill. From NPR and WBUR Boston, I'm Jeremy Hobson.

MEGHNA CHAKRABARTI, HOST:

I'm Meghna Chakrabarti. This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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