You Won’t Believe the Pace (and Patience) Needed to Set the Indoor Marathon World Record

We can’t help but assume that running a marathon on a 200-meter banked indoor track can make the already daunting distance seem even more cruel. But that’s just what seven runners—two women and five men—did this past weekend at Uptown Manhattan’s famed Armory.

The 211 lap ordeal has become a yearly tradition—this was the third running of what is officially called the “Annual Armory NYC Indoor Marathon World Record Challenge Presented by New York Road Runners.” Each of the past two runnings saw both the men’s and women’s indoor marathon world records fall, and this year was no different.

Lindsey Scherf, women’s world record holder for the indoor marathon after her victory. Justin Gaymon

On the women’s side, American Lindsey Scherf took the title in 2:40:55, a time significantly faster than the previously established world record time, 2:42:30, set by Finland’s Laura Manninen at last year’s race. (For reference, the regular, not-on-an-indoor-track women’s marathon world record is Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25.)

RELATED: Our 2016 Armory Indoor Marathon Coverage

Scherf was near metronomic with her pacing—a major perk of the indoor marathon is meticulously recorded 200 meter splits—and rattled off 211 laps all between 44 and 48 seconds. That averages out to 6:08 pace for 26.2 miles. And in addition to one hell of a data set, Scherf, 31, walked away from the race $7,000 richer—$3,000 for winning, and $4,000 more for her world record.

“It’s a rare opportunity to be able to hold a record in anything,” Scherf told the Armory. “It may not be the hardest record there is but any chance you have to get a record it’s something to behold. I’m really proud of it. I had a lot of people here to support me.”

Malcolm Richards

Malcolm Richards reclaimed the indoor marathon world record he had held from March 2016 until March 2017 Justin Gaymon

Scherf’s male counterpart in victory, Malcolm Richards, had an equally impressive day, breaking the tape in 2:19:01—and reasserted himself as the event’s world record holder. Richards won the inaugural Armory Marathon in a then-world record time, only to see that accolade trade hands following Chris Zablocki’s 2:21:48 winning mark in 2017. (Compare these marks to the men’s standard marathon world record: Dennis Kimetto’s 2:02:57.)

RELATED: Why Are Indoor Track Records Slower Than Outdoor Track?

Richards, 35, clocked all of his 211 laps between 36 and 40 seconds en route to his three minute margin of victory. And of course, he was rewarded for his efforts (he averaged 5:18 mile pace) with the same $7,000 prize structure as Scherf.

“I definitely felt strong the whole way, well almost the whole way,” said Richards. “The last two miles were hard and that’s how marathons go. In my mind I felt super, super good after 14 and 15 miles.”

The women’s and men’s second place finishers—Caitriona Jennings and Nick Edinger, respectively—each took home $2,000. There was no third place finisher in the women’s race, but for the men, the battle for third was hotly contested. With $1,000 on the line, Brian Harvey edged out Eric Blake, 2:22:18 to 2:22:35 for the final spot on the podium.

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This past weekend Malcolm Richards and Lindsey Scherf established new indoor marathon world records, in one of running’s most mentally brutal events.

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Source: https://www.runnersworld.com/general-interest/indoor-marathon-world-records-fall

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