Rob Young’s USA record attempt ends after injury

Photo by Michael Speicher/Skins

Rob Young, who was attempting to break the record for fastest crossing of the U.S. on foot, has ended his effort because of an injury. 

The 33-year-old ultrarunner from London sustained a broken right fifth toe and cellulitis last week, according to a crew member who was supporting Young on his run.

Michael Speicher, a digital marketer with Skins, which is a sponsor of Young’s, told Runner’s World by phone that Young “threw in the towel” just outside of Indianapolis on Saturday. He was 36 days and more than 2,000 miles into the attempt.

On 14th May, Young left Huntington Beach, California, planning to run the 3,000 miles to New York City by 29th June. The record stands at 46 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes, and was set by Frank Giannino Jr. in 1980.

According to Speicher, Young struggled with foot pain for a few days and saw two doctors. He was prescribed antibiotics for the infection, and he took Friday off from running. When he tried to resume his quest on Saturday, walking was still too painful.

“Obviously Rob was bummed out, but he was the same old Rob. Still smiling,” Speicher said. “I told him our entire team is amazed at what he did by running more than 2,000 miles.”

Young’s quest had come under scrutiny over the last two weeks. Skeptical runners analysing GPS data derived from a live tracker with Young raised suspicions about his pace at points during the journey, and a video posted to the forums on the running website LetsRun.com - showing his support RV driving slowly without Young in view - led to questions about whether Young was running the entire distance.

Along with his crew, Young vehemently denied any cheating when he spoke to Runner’s World via FaceTime on 10th June. Young could not be reached for comment today, but Speicher said he was currently in New York visiting a friend. Speicher added that Young and his crew decided to separate for the week and reconnect in New York at the end of the week.

Young posted photos of his medical paperwork to his Facebook page, and the tracker has not moved since Friday at 4:36pm when it stopped just east of Indianapolis.