Calum Neff: World Record Interview

Ten days ago, our gold coach Calum Neff beat the half marathon world record with a stroller finishing the Katy Half Marathon in 1:11:27. Read this exclusive interview with our new in-house hero.

First of all congrats to your amazing performance at the Katy Half Marathon! Can you tell us where you’re coming from and what running means to you?

I have been a running since I was four years old, completing my first race at the 1988 Cajun Cup 1k in Lafayette, Louisiana. I am actually a Canadian born in Aberdeen, Scotland- due to my fathers job we moved around the world to various counties which I really enjoyed. It can be really hard, especially for a kid, to completely uproot and have to start fresh but I always had family and running. The first couple of weeks at a new school were pretty quiet, tough to make friends, but as soon as that first run happened whether it be in gym class or a race, everyone knew who I was and they always helped. The running community is also so welcoming no matter where you go or how fast you are. Running has been my connection to this world.

Rick Frank

© Rick Frank

 

Tell us about your race at the Katy Half Marathon where you beat the world record for running with a stroller.

The Katy Half Marathon is a local race near our house just outside of Houston, Texas where we currently live due to my own line of work. The area is fairly new so the roads are smooth hard concrete and being only an hour north of the Gulf of Mexico it’s about as flat as you can get, I miss those Canadian Rocky Mountains! It’s a great course and time of year to run fast especially with a stroller. I had won the inaugural race last year in 1:09 just three weeks after running 2:22 at the Houston Marathon so I knew running both races again this year was doable. I had frustrating hamstring tightness that turned into cramps during the marathon this year where I ran 2:23, only 20 seconds off my personal best with a bad leg told me I was in the best shape of my life.

Was this record attempt something you had in mind for a long time? If so, did you do any specific training?

Most training was to gear up for the Houston Marathon, this included some really good long runs of up to 24 miles (38.5km) with lots of marathon pace work. Coming off Houston I did not feel as trashed as normal because I was held back by my hamstring I wasn’t able to fully exert myself. So getting recovered, especially the hamstring, was the main preparation for the record attempt. Also ensuring the Thule Glide stroller was completely safe at those speeds and that my daughter would be comfortable meant I did a few more training runs with the stroller. I ran some 400m repeats with her, some trails, and some runs around the neighborhood and park paths. We especially enjoyed Christmas this year pushing the double stroller around to see all the Christmas lights, I’ll usually bring a Bluetooth speaker to play music and in that case it was carols.

cal1

© Aaron Palaian

 

What are your plans for the future? Rumors say that the world record with a stroller for a marathon is not unbeatable either…

Now that we have the half marathon stroller record the only logical next step is the full marathon, currently set at 2:42 by Michael Wardian. Honestly I think the 2:30 barrier is possible for me, just need to find the right race and have a good day. Holland (my almost one year old daughter that was in the stroller), loved the race we did, she was clapping and talking for almost the entire thing. She had a mile or so towards the end where she was getting a little fussy and had that been at the start I would have stopped. For the marathon there will some added requirements due the duration, a bottle, toys, music, and hopefully a long nap! My three year old, Alessandra, is only 10lbs more but obviously has many more stroller miles and able to process what’s going on, she’ll even pass her snacks over the handlebars for me to take right in my mouth!

Thank you Calum and all the best for the future.

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© Aaron Palaian

 

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