July 27, 2006 If you figured that Greg Kolodziejzyk’s 24 hour Human Powered Vehicle record was about as exhausting as it gets, you’ll need to have to lie down after this article. There are more dangerous events, but surely none tougher than the New York Megamarathon of 3100 miles (4989 kilometres) which has just been run and won for a second time by German Wolfgang Schwerk. Schwerk set out on June 11 with 14 other runners aiming to win the race and break his own world record of 42 days and 13 hours for the distance. Leaving his nearest competitor more than 100 miles behind him, he ran the distance in 41 days, 8 hours, 16 minutes and 29 seconds, breaking the record by 29 hours. Just to put all that in perspective, Wolfgang ran an average three marathons every day without a rest day, and averaged only three hours sleep each night. If it had not have been for the permanent heatwave in New York during the event, Schwerk believes he would have run a further 600 miles inside the race time.
Running, eating, drinking, sleeping are four words that characterize the rhythm of life of the running adventure that spanned 41 consecutive days, 75 miles per day. Since June 11, Schwerk’s day began after rising from a three hour sleep at 5 a.m. and running continually until midnight on the hard concrete, with no days off. Schwerk, who likes to sing opera while he runs to bide the time, subsisted on a diet primarily comprising non-wheat noodles and toast, natural rice, sweet potatoes, rice and coconut milk, electrolyte-infused water (3 gallons a day) and honeydew melon.
Schwerk was sponsored in his attempt by LANXESS, the chemical company produced when the Bayer Group combined most of its chemical businesses and large segments of its polymer activitiesin mid-2004. The soles of the Schwerk’s Adidas Adistar Competition and Control from are based on the special-purpose LANXESS rubber Krynac and his clothing contained a special LANXESS additive called Tastex Cool-Ex, which gives the running vest a cooling effect. This is ideal in extreme conditions (such as a New York summer). LANXESS looked to nature for inspiration for the cool T-shirt. When the material becomes damp, the cooling effect is triggered by plant extracts in the material.