Is This British Ultrarunner Actually Running Across America?

Accusations have emerged over the weekend that British ultramarathoner Robert Young might be faking his historic run across America. But the truth could be just a misunderstanding. 

Young is attempting to beat the world record for the fastest run across America on foot in less than 46 days and 8 hours shattering the current record held since 1980. That means he has to keep up a near inhuman pace of covering more than 60 miles per day. After a month, he’s falling a little behind, needing a pace of around 67 miles per day now. 

The storied ultrarunner has garnered headlines for previous record feats, such as completely 370 marathons and ultraruns in a single calendar year (equivalent of 420 marathons). He has been documenting his latest attempt through his website and Facebook page and a GPS tracking device. He has been at it for a month now, having left Huntington Beach on May 13.

But on his way through Kansas, questions have been raised as to the veracity of Young’s attempt. A fan in Kansas following Young through his website attempted to meet up with the star marathoner and run a few miles with him… at 2 am in the morning, mind you. 

So when the fan named Asher Delmott, came out to find him, there was no runner in sight, just the RV moving at a runner’s pace. Delmott documented his discovery with video evidence and a description of what happened on the runner’s forum Let’s Run. 

In response to the claims, one of Young’s crew members explained what happened. The teammate named Michael has been following Young with another friend as support when at 2 in the morning in Kansas they saw a light approaching from behind. Young reportedly got in the RV and the crew kept driving. When the light had turned off the road, they returned to the spot where Young entered the RV and continued on. 

Based on the report from Delmott, this is consistent with what happened. He even reports to having seen the RV return to the intersection where he first spotted them. Delmott confirms to having been running behind the RV and seeing someone get inside before driving away. According to Young’s crew member, this was the bizarre light they saw when Young took safety in the RV. 

After it drove by, I ran into the highway, turned on my headlamp to strobe mode, and started running behind the RV. It was driving running speed, so I was making progress, but they saw my light and stopped. Someone got out of the passenger side of the RV, but when I got closer they got back in, and the RV drove off too fast for me to follow onfoot. I ran back to my car, then drove to the highway. By that time, the RV had returned to the intersection of Fauna road and old highway 50.

One thing still doesn’t quite make sense in that Delmott reports to having viewed the RV along with Young’s ongoing tracking on the site, but not being able to see the runner both before and after the alleged incident. So is he faking it or not? I guess we’ll just have to trust in a little bit of faith. 

According to the Guiness World Record guidelines… ““the route distance [is] equal to or greater than New York City to Los Angeles. Any two coastal cities may be chosen as long as their distance apart exceeds the 2,766 miles from Los Angeles to New York.”

Along with completing the equivalent of 420 marathons in one year, Young also holds the record for most miles run without sleep (373.75 in just over 88 hours). He has also raised $315,000 for charity on his quests and get this: He says he didn’t start running until two years ago!