Like many first-time marathoners, Ross Edgley felt like a car was strapped to his back when he crossed the finish line.
Unlike many first-time marathoners, Edgley actually did have a car strapped to his back at the 26.2-mile mark.
A 228-stone Mini Cooper, to be exact.
Calling it the “World’s Strongest Marathon,” the 30-year-old from Cheshire took 19 hours and 36 minutes to run a full marathon while dragging a car. He completed the feat Friday on a racetrack in rainy and windy conditions.
“The idea started as a bit of a joke with some friends while watching movies,” Edgley told Runner’s World. “Someone went, ‘Oh, you should run a marathon while pulling a car.’”
Edgley took the suggestion seriously because, as a former swimmer and water polo player for Team GB, now a trainer and fitness model, he believed he had the stamina to finish.
He trained for eight months with the Mini, going up to 16 miles in one session. “The whole idea came down to work capacity,” Edgley said. He had to adapt his body to be able to exert himself for up to 16 hours at a time. “That first training session I put the harness on to see how far I could go. After two miles my legs were bit.”
Eight months later, in the rain at the Silverstone, he strapped into the harness with the help of his crew. The car’s speakers blasted Jay Z’s rendition of “It’s a Hard Knock Life” during the first mile.
“My joints, lower back and immune system were all like, ‘What are you doing?’” he said. The hardest part, according to him, wasn’t the physical toll. It was actually staying awake for the entire distance. Music, caffeine and preworkout drinks helped him keep moving, he said.
Before attempting the stunt, Edgley had measured the route so it would end across the track’s traditional finish line. While his crew and friends cheered the accomplishment, he checked his GPS watch and realised he still had 20 meters left. “I was gutted,” he said. “I had to carry on for another 20 more metres and everyone was laughing. Then it was a celebration and utter relief for me.”
He ate several slices of his mum’s lemon blueberry cheesecake, then slept for 14 hours.
Edgley said he hopes one day to run a marathon with just his own body weight. “I think it would be almost pleasurable to just run a marathon,” he said.
But first, he’s already thinking of ways to attempt another World’s Strongest Marathon. At the top of the list? Carrying an oak tree.