This has got to be one of the silliest ideas I have ever come across! It’s bad enough running a marathon forwards… but backwards!
I really hope this does it without picking up some horrible knee injury on the way – this can’t be good for you. Anyhow – here’s the full story thanks to www.runnersworld.com
She has run marathons, 100-milers, and obstacle races, and has done an Ironman. In her next race, Kat Clewley hopes to run around 4:30 for the marathon. The catch? She’ll run it backward and aim to set a Guinness world record.
The challenge came to Clewley, a former professional soccer player, this summer, when she was running with her 4-year-old Giant Schnauzer, Vanilla. The 36-year-old resident of Burlington, Ontario, turned around to check on Vanilla, but then decided to keep running backward. She did so for about 10 minutes, and that got her thinking more about backward running.
Clewley, a 3:10:42 marathoner, said she’s been told by Guinness that she will have to break 5:00 to establish a record. She’s hoping to run around 4:30 at the Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope on November 1. (One of the race’s sponsors is The Hamilton Spectator, which reported on Clewley earlier this month.)
But the main point of all of this, to Clewley, is raising money for a YMCA program called Beyond the Bell, which aims to close the achievement gap among school-age children.
GET MORE RUNNER’S WORLD: Sign up for the RW Daily newsletter
By day, Clewley is a program manager for the YMCA of Hamilton | Burlington | Brantford, where she recently began a free running program for members. She is helping to train about 30 runners (who run forward) for upcoming races.
“My goal, really, is to help others. It really didn’t start this way, to get into the Guinness book and to do a world record,” Clewley told Runner’s World. “My main focus and my goal is to inspire others—to encourage others to try their first run, which may be a 5K. I really value having a goal.”
Clewley said she has cleared her backward running with the marathon’s race director, Gord Pauls, and that he’s been supportive of her efforts.
Clewley said that, on certain routes, she doesn’t need to spend too much time looking where she’s going.
“If I know my route, I don’t necessarily have to look the whole time, I can kind of just check my shoulder every once in a while,” she said. “You don’t have to completely turn your neck and crank your neck the whole way. You can kind of look out of the corner of your eye.”
Clewley said that some people have expressed concern about her safety, but she has run up to two hours backward during training, and hasn’t fallen yet.
“I navigate very well. I’m even surprised at myself,” she said.
Clewley said her backward running skill was probably developed on the soccer field. She was once what she refers to as a “bubble player” for the Canadian national soccer team, and she also played collegiately for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
There’s no manual on how to train for a backward marathon. Clewley said she goes by feel in her training, because she knows her body so well. She does three 30-minute backward runs during the week, and does long runs on both weekend days.
She hopes to get up to four-and-a-half hours of backward running in training before race day. She also does two 30-minute forward runs each week in which she runs on the balls of her feet to strengthen her calves.
On race day, Clewley plans to wear a hydration backpack so that she won’t need to worry about taking fluids while running backward. Her sister will bike near her and take video of Clewley with a GoPro to submit to Guinness as evidence.
For safety, Clewley prefers to do her training on paths away from cars, but she still raises eyebrows on her backward training runs.
“I’ve seen [young children] say, ‘Mommy, or Daddy, look at that girl, she’s running backwards!’” Clewley said. “I usually will stop and I’ll tell them what I’m doing. I try to inspire them to challenge themselves. I’ve also even had one little boy who ran backward with me for [about] a minute.”
original post: http://www.runnersworld.com/general-interest/canadian-woman-targets-backward-marathon-record
Photo by the Hamilton Spectator