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Runner breaks world treadmill record thanks to KU support

By Ida Akerstedt Feb 17, 2016
Photo credit: Kingston University

An ultra marathon runner has set a new world record for the 12-hour treadmill run at Kingston University.

Long distance runner, Susie Chan, 40, ran 68.54 miles (110.3 km) in a timespan of 12 hours with the support of KU sport science and exercise experts, defeating the previous women’s world record of 66.79 miles.

Chan, from Farnham, Surrey, said: “I felt very unwell at the end, but so happy to break the record. The support I received was overwhelming. It’s only just beginning to sink in. “Kingston had the perfect treadmill. Everyone together acted as a team, and I have them to thank. Without them I would not have made it!”

Dr Hannah Moir, senior lecturer in health, exercise and physiology, and technician Chris Howe supervised the attempt, alongside a team of 10 sport science and nutrition students.

Dr Moir said: “Susie’s achievement showcases the importance of top athletes having access to research expertise and state-of-the-art facilities, like those we have on offer at Kingston University.

“It’s also a tremendous way for our students to enhance their learning by being involved in such a high-profile activity.”

Marthe Solberg, a final year sport science student, and Josh Carter, a second year sport analysis and coaching student, worked as timekeepers and noted down whenever Chan went to the toilet, ate or drank something.

Solberg said: “I had lots of fun supporting Susie; hosting the event atKingston was an amazing idea. It gave me and other students the chance to gain relevant experience and simultaneously witness a world record being broken.”

Carter said: “It was fantastic to see it happen in the labs that we use, and hopefully there will be more events like this at Kingston.”

During the successful attempt on January 30, a live stream from Kingston University’s YouTube channel had more than 3,000 views.

Chan said: “As part of the rules we have to film the event – so we thought we may as well broadcast it too. It turned out to be surprisingly popular! Thousands of people tuned in!”

To keep Chan’s spirits high, tweets using the hashtag #susieWRun were shown on a screen in front of the treadmill.

British marathon world record holder, Paula Radcliffe, was one of the first to congratulate Chan on twitter, writing: “I’ve never watched someone run on a treadmill on my computer until now – @Susie__Chan you got me! Congrats on your world record!”

Chan took part in a research study at Kingston University investigating the effects of endurance running, classified as any distance over the traditional marathon, and has used the facilities when training for long distance races.

Chan said: “When I decided to go for the world record, Kingston was the first place I thought of.”

Chris Howe, physiology technician and PhD researcher, conducted the research study with Chan last year.

Howe said: “It has been a real coup that she has gone on to choose Kingston University to host her successful world record attempt.”

Chan beat the previous unofficial 12-hour record of 66.79 miles (107.49 km), set by Kristina Paltén on February 7 2013 and the current world record of 60.26 miles (96.98 km), set by Dee Boland in October last year.

The record will be unofficial until Chan receives verification from Guinness World Records. Chan has been practising ultra endurance running since 2010 when her brother “cajoled” her into running a half marathon.

Chan said: “It was so very painful, but once I had gone over the line I wanted more and that’s when my running journey started. I just fell into running.”

Her favourite races are multi-stage ultras, which stretch for days and miles.

She has done two Marathon des Sables races, a race where the participants run six marathons over six days in the Sahara Desert. Chan set off with the elites in 2015.

Other highlights include the Boston Marathon.

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