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Runner smashes personal best time to win 3100-mile race

Andrea Marcato of Italy poses for a photo while holding a portrait of Indian spiritual personality Sri Chinmoy after winning the 'Self-Transcendence
Winner Andrea Marcato of Italy poses for a photo while holding a portrait of Indian spiritualist Sri Chinmoy (Image credit: Getty)

It took 42 days, 17 hours and 38 minutes for a runner to win the world’s longest footrace. The female winner of the 2021 Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race finished in 50 days, 13 hours, 23 minutes and 14 seconds.

Both Andrea Marcato, of Italy, and Kiwi runner Harita Davies beat their own fastest times set in previous years of the gruelling endurance race, which takes place in New York.

It was Marcato’s second win in the epic  race, which sees runners circuiting the same half-mile block in the Queens area of the American city 5,649 times. Last year in the race, which was moved to Austria due to Covid pandemic restrictions, he finished in 43:12:07:26.

This made him the fastest first-time runner in the race’s history and just the fifth person to finish the race in fewer than 44 days.

Asked how he felt, Marcato told the blog Perfection Journey: “Quite good. I am really happy and satisfied.”

He added that the biggest test of the race was "monotony".

Davies was the only woman in the 2021 field, which comprised seven runners in total. She is one of just eight women to complete the race and in 2017 she finished in 51:12:48, while in 2019, she completed the 3100 miles in 51:09:35.

Davies averaged 100 laps a day and she is the second female runner to complete the race three times.

Last week, she told New Zealand news website Stuff she was not motivated by record-breaking, rather she follows her heart with what she is inspired to do.

female winner Harita Davies

It was the third finish for female winner, Harita Davies, in the 2021 race  (Image credit: Getty)

Lo Wei Ming (C) of Taiwan passes a timekeeper as he completes a lap

A runner from Taiwan, Lo Wei Ming, passes a timekeeper as he completes a lap  (Image credit: Getty)

What is the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race?

Described as the Mount Everest of ultramarathons, the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race was founded in 1996 by Sri Chinmoy, an Indian spiritualist and meditation teacher. The first race was “only”  2700 miles. 

At the award ceremony that year he declared that the 1997 edition would be extended to 3,100 miles.

The runners loop the same half-mile block in Queens, New York, 5649 times. They alternate daily between running clockwise and anti-clockwise.

Runners have 52 days to finish the race, which means an average daily run of 59.6 miles (more than two marathons). The participants run between 6am and midnight, with the other six hours reserved for sleeping and general personal admin. 

This year's race started ion September 5 and it's estimated that each runner eats an estimated 10,000 calories every day.

The record time for the race was set by Ashprihanal Aalto in 40:09:06:21 in 2015. Organisers claim only 49 runners have completed the race.

Race director Sahishnu Szczesiul has said of the ultramarathon: “It’s a test of stamina, strength, inner determination and talent.”

Fiona Russell

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.