A 42-year-old woman has made history by breaking the world record for running consecutive half marathons – and is aiming to run 100 in 100 days.
South African runner and Ei8ht by Avrox brand ambassador, Trish Eksteen, now holds the record for the most consecutive days running an official half marathon, after an incredibly tough few months of non-stop running.
Before her, the record stood at 74 days, she has now completed 75, but is aiming for a century of runs. And, more than that, she completed every half marathon in under two hours.
‘This is physically a huge challenge and task to undertake,’ Trish tells Metro.co.uk. ‘What makes this extremely tough is that it is relentless. No matter how sore and tired you are feeling when you step out of that bed, you have to find a way to get through your run.
‘Your freedom of choice is taken away – you can’t just take a rest day or ease off training because you are tired or sore. You have to “reboot “every day and get out there and get the job done.’
Trish says she started the challenge to create awareness and build hope for those who have lost the will to live, she wants to encourage them to keep fighting.
‘Along with this brings in a whole other emotional aspect which at times can be extremely rewarding, and at the same time hugely exhausting,’ she says. ‘It is a continuous rollercoaster of emotions knowing that people are looking to me for hope and inspiration.’
Trish comes from an elite obstacle course race background, so she was able to use this experience to handle some of the toughest parts of the challenge. But there were mental hurdles to clear as well as physical ones.
‘There have been many difficult times where I really had to dig deep and pick myself up,’ she explains.
‘What I learned very quickly was that I needed to remove myself from this on a personal level and focus on why and for who I am doing this for.
‘Reminding myself that this is not about me and that I am doing this for others gives me the strength and will to carry on when I am struggling and feel that I can’t carry on.’
Trish’s motivation during her 1,300 mile journey was raise awareness about mental health, which she knows has been a huge challenge for many people during lockdown.
The pandemic also altered how Trish was able to train and prepare her body.
‘Covid changed everything, with all the restrictions and the time we were allowed outside to run,’ she says. ‘This essentially forced me to keep a lot of my functional training sessions to maintain my overall fitness and conditioning whilst gradually picking up my running load.
‘When I started my #100halfs challenge I definitely was not in the greatest running condition to tackle just shy of 150km per week for just over 14 weeks.
‘I am fortunate that I have many years of running experience to draw from, so I have a very good understanding of my body and where my limits are.
‘The interesting thing with a challenge like this that is over such an extended period of time is that if you really look after your body you actually “run” yourself into form, and you condition your body to handle the load and stresses placed on it day in and day out.
‘Tackling this kind of challenge has also meant focusing on every element of my recovery and nutrition. I’ve been taking Ei8ht Energy to aid my recovery in conjunction with eating clean, which I’ve found to be invaluable in giving me the boost I need to get through each day. It’s also been about placing great focus on stretching, icing and massage.’
Writing on Instagram just hours after completing the challenge on the 11 September, Trish says that her success belonged to everyone who has supported her.
‘As much as this is a day I’ll never forget in my life, so I hope it feels to every single person who have been following this journey, those who have been by my side all along and those keeping me accountable,’ she wrote.
‘I have no words, this belongs to you too!’
Sharing her journey was a huge part of the challenge for Trish, she wanted to inspire – and she hopes that one day someone will attempt to break her record with the new knowledge that it is possible.
View this post on Instagram
Day 🎉7️⃣5️⃣🎉 Unofficial World Record for a female running consecutive half marathons for 75 days. 🇿🇦 Records will come and records will fall and within that lies the beauty of it all. One day this record will be broken and the biggest personal satisfaction will be a girl that says: "because of her, I gave it a shot"! 💪 They say it takes a village to raise a child, well it also takes a village to run #100halfs. As much as this is a day I'll never forget in my life, so I hope it feels to every single person who have been following this journey, those who have been by my side all along and those keeping me accountable! I have no words, this belongs to you too! ❣ All the Glory to my heavenly Father that somehow selected me to be a vessel to raise awareness to those that see no hope. I am beyond privileged and beyond blessed to make some small difference. 🙏 #runningforthosewhocant #100halfs #breakingrecords #75halfs #bekind #nevergiveup #believe #thereishope #onedayatatime #makeadifference #toGodtheglory #fearlessmotivation #challegeyourlimits #timetoplay #gracecounselling @wfstaffingco @airteamsa @salomon_sa @ketonutritioneveryday @ketonutritionsport @one_mind_body_soul @ei8htbyavrox @ei8htbyavroxsa @summa.foods @30.south.sunglasses @adventureobstacle @gracefamilychurch @muggandbeanhyperbythesea
‘We all know that social media can do incredible harm, but it can also be an amazing tool for creating a platform to share some hope,’ says Trish.
‘With the massive influx of information and news, I needed to do something extreme to capture people’s attention for long enough to make an impact and to show people that they can get through this time. One day at a time, one step at a time, one minute at a time.
‘Yes it will hurt, it will be a painful process, but in the end, it will always be worth-it.’
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