Americas Greatest Annual Endurance Challenge – The Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race – The Real Beyond

ashprihanal aalto
Ashprihanal Aalto Photo by Utpal Marshall

In the 19 years of the Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race’s existence, five pioneer Americans have taken part in Americas greatest annual endurance challenge.

Suprabha Beckjord 1997-2009
Ed Kelley 1997-99
John Wallis 2000
Arpan DeAngelo 2006 & 2012
Ray Krolewicz 2014

Suprabha Beckjord ran the race 13 times consecutively and Ed Kelley ran the race three times winning twice and setting the course record of 46 days +17:02:06 in the inaugural event in 1997. That record was broken in 2002 when Madhupran Wolfgang Schwerk from Germany took over 4 days off that performance in his second attempt to finish in 42 days+ 13:24:03. Schwerk returned in 2004 and in 2006 broke his own record with 41 days + 08:16:29 and no-one has surpassed that total – yet.

Schwerk’s performance may be lost in time and the sheer scale of the3100 mile race but his 1987 performance at Koln at the 24 hour race saw him run 171 miles(276.209 km) – a performance that has only been surpassed by three people – Yiannis Kouros (GRE), Denis Zhalybin (RUS) and Mike Morton from the USA.

At 6 Days, Schwerk is still the number one in Germany with 1010.080 km set at Erkrath in 2007 and only Boussiquet and Kouros have run further at 6 days in the modern era. That is how they are probably ranked as the best multiday runners of recent times, Kouros, Boussiquet and Schwerk.

This year’s Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race has been led from the start by Finland’s Ashprihanal Pekka Aalto. This is his 13th race and it’s rumoured that this will be his last. After a series of difficult races over the last few years with Ashprihanal taking a year out between races to try some mountain climbing, this looks like being his swansong – setting race records on a daily basis after covering the first 1000 miles in the 8th fastest time – 12:17:19:40.

The live webcam shows the scoreboard with Aalto needing 143 miles (as I write) to finish which, if he maintains his current pace, will be Friday evening – more than half a day inside the old record. His daily average upto and including day 38 has been 76.42 miles a day.

Kouros and Boussiquet have not run the 3100 and their days at the top are waning. Kouros raced against Joe Fejes last year, averaging 91 miles a day while Fejes averaged 96 a day and one wonders how the 3100 format of 6 hours enforced rest would work with these runners who excel with little sleep.
With 48 hours to go and almost 39 days completed, Aalto’s performance so far has elevated him to the upper echelons of multiday running. To run almost three marathons a day for 40 days at about 6 hours a marathon is beyond the experience of all but a handful of runners in the world today.

People, make some noise for Ashprihanal Aalto.Send an email to the runners at: [email protected]

Progress charts

Event webpage:

Daily photos from the race by Prabhakar Street

Perfection-Journey – Interviews, photos and chat with the 3100 runners – Live and direct The home of multiday running news and events.

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