Stories from Running

This ultramarathoner just broke the 100-mile world record on a treadmill—here’s how he did it

Tehrene Firman

Tehrene FirmanMay 18, 2020

Thumbnail for This ultramarathoner just broke the 100-mile world record on a treadmill—here’s how he did it
Pin It
Photo: Getty Images/Thai Yuan Lim

Imagine running on the treadmill. Five minutes pass, then 10, then 15… and at that point, you’re more than ready to get off the machine and move onto the next part of your workout. Now, imagine running on a treadmill for 12 hours, 9 minutes, and 15 seconds. That’s exactly what ultramarathon runner Zach Bitter did in his home this weekend, allowing him to break the 100-mile treadmill world record.

Bitter’s feat is impressive on multiple levels. Not only does running on a treadmill for so long require serious physical determination and skill, but it also presents a mental challenge, especially for someone like Bitter, who is used to doing his long-distance runs on scenic trails. “There were a few spots in there where physically you feel fine, but mentally you just want to get off that machine so badly,” he tells Runner’s World. “It’s a beautiful machine, but 12 hours of anything is a lot.”

So, how exactly did Bitter do it? Bitter shared a few treadmill running tips that enabled him to cross the finish line his wife, Nicole Bitter, made out of toilet paper. He drank 10 bottles of SFuels‘ endurance drinks (a sponsor of the endeavor) throughout the race. The drink helped him to complete the run with the right amount of hydration and minimal bathroom breaks, he tells AZ Central—something that could affect his time if he was to take too many. He also ate some potato chips around around the mile 87.

Another of Bitter’s treadmill running tips is something anyone can do, whether you’re running 100 miles or five. “I spoke with another runner, and he recommended changing the incline every so often to stretch out the hips and hamstrings,” he said. The change in inline added the perfect amount of variation to help him beat extreme treadmill boredom, all while giving his body some much-needed relief.

In the end, Bitter did something many people could never fathom. Now I’m going to go run a couple miles… and not complain even a little bit about it.

Put world-record treadmill runner Zach Bitter’s tips into practice

First, make sure you’re keeping proper form:

Then, try this endurance run even Bitter himself would be proud of you for:

Loading More Posts...