After dropping out of his chances to break the record for fastest run across America, Robert Young continues to field accusations of cheating.
The 33-year-old ultrarunner from London was forced to call it quits in his bid to become the fastest person to run across America due to an injury to his foot.
Just outside Indianopolis, after more than 2,000 miles and 36 days into the attempt, a fracture and resulting infection forced him to abandon the effort on June 22.
RELATED: Is This British Ultrarunner Really Running Across America?
His goal to traverse the country from Huntington Beach to New York City, 3,000 miles in 45 days, required a mind-boggling 67-mile per day pace. The record, currently held by Frank Giannino Jr., has stood since 1980.
“The run had gone pretty smoothly up until Indianopolis, Indiana, where I started to experience severe pain in my right foot toe and the side of my foot,” Young wrote on a Facebook post announcing the decision. “An X-Ray confirmed there was a small fracture and, more importantly, an infection which is not allowed me to walk on my foot properly since.”
As Young recuperated from the grueling ordeal, accusations continued to dog the decorated long-distance runner that he and his team had faked the performance. Missing data, the lack of a heart rate monitor and bizarre observations fueled the controversy.
An observer trying to meet up with Rob in the middle of the night in Kansas first raised questions, which seemed reasonably explainable by member of the team. But then there were more. On social media, the controversy continued in the running community, with many issuing nasty comments.
“WHEN are these ridiculous fanboys going to grasp that the data he has released is DOCTORED, with CADENCE removed,” PT Russell wrote. “Meaning that this only shows a watch rode the RV! Not that it was on a PERSON running. Go and find out what cadence means you dum dums.”
An article in Runner’s World garnered passionate reader feedback. A story in the Guardian asked the question “Runner’s lie?” Even Sports Illustrated ran a story about the rumors.
Among the ongoing concerns by critics were Young’s running data, which had large chunks missing. He tried to record his mileage digitally but was admittedly not fully prepared and underestimated the amount of scrutiny it might receive. Some questioned a 6:30-7 minute mile pace after 30 days in.
Rob has responded on Facebook with data from the run, a litany of running accomplishments and a promise to continue proving himself and even another attempt at the run across America record.
“The simplest answer is yes there were mistakes made, not by riding in the RV or doing any form of cheating but by not having everything in place properly,” he wrote.”Everything including the crew were put together within 2 weeks. the only things that was sorted before hand was the route, live tracking and the potential additional crew that were coming out in America.”
He continued in all caps…
“I HAVE IN MY OPINION ACTED TRUEFULLY BUT I DO KNOW THAT MY RELAXED SIMPLE CHILD LIKE APPROCH WAS THE CAUSE OF THIS MESS AND I AM REAL SORRY. THAT IS THE WAY I RUN AND DO THINGS BUT – NOT AFTER THIS MESS.”
Photo credit: Facebook @MarathanManUK