Man ‘breaks world record’ for fastest marathon… running backwards!

Frenchman Guillaume de Lustrac, 29, finished the 42-km race in three hours and 25 minutes, remarkably finishing 19th

Many forward-facing runners would be happy with Guillaume de Lustrac’s time
Published Last updated

A runner is hopeful of being the new holder of a rather unusual world record - the fastest man to complete a marathon backwards.

On Sunday (April 23), Guillaume de Lustrac - facing backwards and looking over his shoulder - completed the gruelling 42-kilometre distance near Valence in Drôme, south-east France.

“I am very happy to have shared this moment with my family, fiancé, and friends… [but] now I can’t feel my toes!” said Mr de Lustrac after the race, which he undertook after losing a bet with a friend.

Remarkably, his time of three hours and 25 minutes - which many forward-facing runners would be delighted with - saw him finish 19th.

In doing so, he beat the current world record for the fastest marathon running backwards (male).

According to Guinness World Records (GWR), that is Xu Zhenjun, who registered a time of three hours and 43 minutes.

Mr de Lustrac’s team filmed the entire event on Sunday and he will have to wait to see if his application to GWR is successful.

Incredible achievement

To break the record, Mr de Lustrac - who, running normally, completed a marathon in Spain last year in two hours and 33 minutes - had to pick a race that would not be thronged with runners, giving him the space to use this unique style.

He chose the marathon in Saint-Paul-lès-Romans, which also allowed his friend to follow him – on skates – to record the attempt.

The athlete trained for months to break the record, undergoing a unique training regime.

“It's obviously very physical and you don't use the same muscles [as a normal race]. It wasn't fun every day, especially when there are falls [due to the running style]” he said after the event.

This bizarre - yet incredibly impressive - sporting achievement follows last week’s story about a group of riders who cycled over 1,000 km to draw a giant dinosaur across France.

Related articles

US ultra-trail runner shares fun and pain of winning Mont Blanc race

What sports can the public access for free at the Paris 2024 Olympics?