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Two-time Badwater champ Pete Kostelnick has shattered the record for running across the USA. Crossing from Pennsylvania into New York state on 24 October, he finished at New York City Hall a massive four days ahead of the previous world record – which stood since 1980. In order to run an average of 72+ miles a day, Kostelnick rose between 3:00-3:30am for 42 days. Key to the journey’s success was making sure that every step of Kostelnick’s cross-country run was appropriately documented for the Guinness World Records’ consideration. So, each morning, Kostelnick strapped on two identical GPS watches (in case one broke). In the afternoon, he replaced those with two more, while the support team gathered witness signatures, took videos and photos, and assembled media reports. But enough about running: arguably Kostelnick’s most impressive achievement was the 13,000 calories he consumed each day! Flying in the face of nutrition naysayers, his diet consisted of McDonald’s, fizzy drinks, Subway sandwiches, massive steaks and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

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We all think we’re giving 100% in races. But watching some elite athletes, their faces contorted in late-race agony, I can’t help but ask myself: how hard am I really trying? In Matt Fitzgerald’s How Bad Do You Want It? – a brilliant book with a toe-curlingly bad title – he writes about our ‘unreachable physical limit’. That’s not to say we are all super-athletes of unlimited potential. Quite the opposite: we are all wimps unwilling to break free from our mind-forged manacles. It is not the body that slows us down, but the brain. The bravest athletes – the Prefontaines, Radcliffes and Brownlees – get closer to their physical limit than most. The rest of us? My guess is that we rarely realise more than 80% of our physical potential. Yet we can, with consistent training and iron-willed determination, walk a little further along those hot coals. Perhaps not as far as Radcliffe or Brownlee, but further than we’ve ever gone before. It’s a theme that David Smyth explores further in the month’s ‘Suffer club’ article on page 60, speaking with some of these athletes about how they’re able to push themselves to their very limits. So next time you find yourself in a race, telling yourself the same old lie that you’re trying your hardest, be brave and ask yourself honestly: can I give more? The answer is, inevitably, yes.

Single Digital Issue Jan-17
This issue and other back issues are not included in a new Men's Running subscription. Subscriptions include the latest regular issue and new issues released during your subscription.

Other Articles in this Issue

Editor’s Letter
We all think we’re giving 100% in races. But watching
In January 2014, I began life as a primary school
Pictures from the pain cave: a gallery of your grizzliest
Ultrarunner Florian Neuschwander makes light work of the mountainous terrain
More than 52,000 runners headed to Statten Island for the
Conscientiousness hasn’t always been a word synonymous with the shoe
Q “In April I will run my first every marathon,
A 1:18 half marathon is a great time by any
Hokas at the ready! Our monthly field guide begins with the wacky world of ultrarunning
Elite insights from former ‘fat bloke’ turned Olympic marathon man Steve Way
Got a guaranteed place and a huge goal for a spring marathon? Looking for free training advice and top-to-toe kit to help you have the best possible experience? Then join Men’s Running’s Big Marathon Challenge team for 2017
Take a trip down memory lane with our selection of
Fight fatigue and reduce your risk of injury with a daily dose of avocado
For Mark Read, the past four years have been far from easy – losing his first wife in 2012 and being diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism this year. Running, though, continues to offer salvation
You may have already registered for your next running challenge
With festive fun around the corner, Renee McGregor looks at how to cure a hangover
Johnson may have been blessed with an awesome natural physique,
Our monthly guide to running etiquette explores how to keep fit during the festivities
Rick Pearson takes to the water in an attempt to find out why, when it comes to full-body fitness, the only way is SUP
Smiling for the camera doesn’t just benefit your running photos; keeping your face relaxed also reduces stress and delays fatigue
All runners can do more to combat misogynistic heckling, says Laura Fountain
Push it real good: all you need to know about the wonderful world of buggy running
Balance is as important as leg strength when it comes to running economy. This circuit uses single-leg exercises, as well as moves that target muscles often neglected by runners, to improve proprioception, power and efficiency
If money is no object, keep track of your progress
When training and racing, how hard are you really trying? David Smyth meets the athletes and experts who argue you can always give more
As an industry, running is booming. So why are so many running clubs in decline? Michael Donlevy investigates
Are your work shoes ruining your feet? Rick Pearson looks at the importance of wearing well designed lifestyle footwear
The Project Trail team begin the countdown to the Wendover 50. Are they prepared or petrified?
Stop fretting about your splits and chasing PBs. Embrace the trail and start thinking like an off-road runner, says Ceri Rees
International ultrarunner Robbie Britton has some lessons from the frontline
Suunto already makes the best GPS sportswatches. But after tech
Andrew Simms navigates the cobbled streets of Amsterdam for a marathon debut to remember
David Castle reports from Portsmouth’s iconic 10-miler, the Great South Run
Full speed a-sled: brace yourself for the coldest, windiest ultra on the planet
Jim Old, fresh from a speedy outing, relishes the excitement of ‘finding the flow’