On May 1, Liberty University sophomore Michael Hayden will attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records’ mark for running the most miles on a treadmill in 24 hours.
Hayden’s stationary journey will begin at 4 p.m. Friday at the LaHaye Student Union basketball courts, which will be open to the public for his entire run, as required by Guinness regulations. Auxiliary treadmills will also be set up, allowing fellow harriers to run alongside Hayden for a few miles. Hayden’s friends will serve as referees, keeping track of his time and distance. He will be permitted to take quick breaks and refuel in order to maintain his endurance.
“The biggest challenge will be hydration and staying motivated,” Hayden said. “My goal is just to run a conservative pace. I am planning to go out at around an eight-minute-per-mile pace and try to maintain that pace for as long as I can.”
Hayden, a kinesiology major, is no stranger to long-distance runs. In 2007, he placed second at the Burning River 100 Mile in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, setting the junior national record with a time of 19:13:12. He then followed up his performance by capturing the USATF junior national title at the Mad City 100K in Madison, Wis., clocking in at 10:55:14.
The current 24-hour treadmill record is 160.24 miles, set by Arulanantham Suresh Joachimon of Canada on Nov. 29, 2004. Nearly four and a half years later, Hayden is looking to place his name atop the record books. However, he is not viewing his attempt as a way to glorify himself, but rather an opportunity for worship.
“It’s not the championships, awards or medals that make life fulfilling,” he said. “If I can praise God with my body, mind and soul on May 1, then I will walk away satisfied, no matter what the outcome.”