Mike Wardian ran the World Marathon Challenge last January, setting another record in completing each of the seven marathons in seven continents in seven days in less than three hours. The American tells Inside Sport how he makes sure all this running doesn’t get monotonous, the 43-year-old has set marathon records on a treadmill, pushing a stroller and dressed as Elvis.
“It’s fun, man. If you don’t keep the running fun, that’s how you see the people who are so good end up burnt out. They’re just not loving it anymore.
“I see these records, and I’m like, that looks awesome. What’s cooler than running as Elvis in Vegas? That was a treat. One of my big goals last year was to set the fastest time for all the World Marathon Majors: Boston, Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York. I’ve run as Spider-Man, because I thought that would be cool, and my kids too. I set a record for pushing my son in a jog stroller, because I thought it would be a cool way to incorporate my family into what I’m doing. It’s been fun to see other people who aren’t accomplished runners take up these challenges.
“It’s always neat to do stuff like this. I just saw a guy set a record in a business suit, which is one I’ve been wanting to do for a while, to go with my job. He ran 1:11 half marathon, so it’s pretty fast for 21km. And there’s Yuki from Japan – he’s the guy who runs sub-2:09 almost every other month, he’s really fast – he ran 1:06 on a non-certified course in a business suit.”
On his marks
“So many people don’t race as much as I do. They take it so serious – they only have two races a year. If I was racing twice a year, it would be different. But because my body allows me to be out there, I can afford to have a lot of fun with what I’m doing.
“My PB is 2:17:49. I definitely felt on that day I could’ve gone faster, but I played it safe because I was trying to qualify for the US Olympic trials. It would be nice to do a build-up where you get to see how fast you can go for a marathon. It would be nice to run a 2:15 or 2:14 time, but the problem is I like to do all this other stuff.
“When I ran the 2:17, a week or so later I ran Badwater, which is 135 miles in Death Valley. So I’ve always toggled back and forth between it. A couple of years ago, I have five stress fractures in my pelvis and five hernias – since then, I’ve been really cautious about doing too much speed work, and if I want to get my marathon times down, I’m going to have to get back on the track and do a lot of those sessions. I want to make sure I’m healthy; it’s been almost five years since I’ve had those injuries, and had really good results. It’s definitely in the cards, going after a quick time. But I don’t think I’ll every do the traditional build-up.”