8 Treadmill World Records Fall at the Chaski Challenge Festival of Records

Tayte Pollmann’s articles are supported by American Trail Running Association corporate member Nike Trail Running. You can follow Tayte’s adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you liked this article, read even more of Tayte’s articles on our website.

This past Saturday, June 6, elite trail runners from around the country challenged treadmill world records in the live broadcast Chaski Challenge “Festival of Records.” A total of eight new world records were set and an estimated $1,500 was raised for Feeding America’s COVID-19 relief program. (See our pre-race interviews with the event organizer and athletes.)

For this article, I spoke with event director, participant and Hoka One One-sponsored athlete Tyler Andrews, as well as Michael Wardian, Regina Lopez, Mario Mendoza and Renee Metivier about their race experiences and record-setting performances.

Tyler Andrews set a new 50 kilometer treadmill world record (2:42:51), which is (unofficially) the fastest time ever run for the 50 kilometer distance. Josh Cox owns the official 50 km U.S. record of 2:43:45 set in 2011…….in a road race.

[TAYTE] How did the event go and was it what you were hoping it would be? Do you have plans to do something like this again?
[TYLER] It went 100 times better than we had expected originally. Overall, we got tremendously positive feedback from the athletes and media. We had a huge audience with over 10,000 people on the website and 95 countries represented. We absolutely hope to have something like this again. Next time will be much better because we now have a successful proven concept, which could attract more sponsors and funding for the athletes.

[TAYTE] How did the race go for you?
[TYLER] It went as well as I could have expected, but it certainly felt hard! Sometimes you hear athletes talk about how they feel smooth and in the flow, but this was not effortless. I was exhausted from working 90 hours a week, running 100 miles the week before and handling ten world class athletes for this event. Leading up to races I’m usually very focused, but this time my race took a backseat to my duties of organizing the whole event. It was an incredible feeling to finally break 2:43, a goal I’d aimed for and missed in 2018.

[TAYTE] Had you done a virtual race before and if so, how was this one different?
[TYLER] I had never done anything like this before (I’m not sure if anyone has). In some ways it was much easier for us to organize than a normal race. We didn’t have to worry about permits, police, etc. and that’s how we could put this together in only three weeks. We had a race tracker, live splits, and commentary to make it engaging for fans. All of this was thought through because we wanted the fans to be able to interact with the athletes.

[TAYTE] What are your racing plans this summer?
[TYLER] I was originally supposed to race the Comrades Marathon this past week and I’m still not sure about upcoming fall events. I’m looking at some FKTs (Fastest Known Times) in the West, but right now my running goals are about saying yes to cool opportunities as they come along and finding ways to push myself.

Regina Lopez set a new 50 mile treadmill world record (8:41:37).

[TAYTE] How did the race go for you and was it what you expected?
[REGINA] I had many lows and highs throughout the race that got more intense as the miles added up. Before this race, I had never trained for or run anything longer than a marathon. I had never run longer than six miles on a treadmill either. To date, this race has been the greatest accomplishment of my life.

[TAYTE] What are your racing plans this summer?
[REGINA] I want to experiment by doing more ultras and competing in Spartan races to challenge my mind, body and spirit. I’ll also consider running road races too.

Mario Mendoza set a new 100 kilometer treadmill world record of 6:39:25, beating the previous record by just over a minute.

[TAYTE] How did the race go for you and was it what you expected?
[MARIO] The race went as well as it could have. I felt like I had an outside shot of getting the record and ended up pulling it off. At 50 miles, I was almost a minute slower than I needed to be and it was mentally hard to pick up the pace, but the desire to get this record really kicked.

[TAYTE] Had you raced a virtual race before and if so, how was this one different?
[MARIO] I’ve never done a virtual race. I thought it was pretty fun to be connected to other athletes virtually and to follow runners competing in other distances as well. I think I’d do another one, but probably not pay for one.

[TAYTE] What are your racing plans this summer?
[MARIO] Right now there is nothing on my schedule, but once races start coming back I will focus on something. I may try to set an FKT if there are no races until the fall.

Renee Metivier set world treadmill records in the half marathon (1:19:29), marathon (2:40:53) and 50 kilometers (3:11:38). Sara Hall would go on to set a new half marathon record of 1:09:03 just hours after Metivier.

[TAYTE] How did the race go for you and was it what you expected?
[RENEE] It was more than I expected. The race directors wanted me to go for three records in one race (the half marathon, marathon and 50 kilometers!). I ran easily to a 1:19:29 half marathon, breaking the preexisting record by about one minute. My time for the marathon was 2:40:53, beating the previous record by around two minutes. I clicked off the final five miles feeling nice and relaxed, surprising myself at how I handled the 50 kilometer distance. I was stunned that I just broke the 50 kilometer record by 40 minutes!

[TAYTE] Had you raced a virtual race before and if so, how was this one different?
[RENEE] I haven’t raced in a virtual event but I enjoyed the format. I had all the pre-race jitters, technical meetings, checklists, eating patterns, interviews, and logistics of a normal race. I enjoyed being on a “start line” again. I think we all could use that motivation right now. I would definitely compete in a virtual race again.

[TAYTE] What are your racing plans this summer?
[RENEE] Anything race or event I can find! I’m certain more 50 kilometer races are in my future.

I also asked Michael Wardian how the treadmill challenge went for him. He responded, “I felt pretty terrible the entire time, but it was fun!”

Metivier, Mendoza and fellow elite runner from Bend, Oregon, Max King (pictured below), are also raising money for a youth running camp in Central Oregon to promote diversity and inclusion among youth. Click here to learn more and donate.

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