As runners lined up for the Mankato Marathon this past Sunday, they were joined at the starting line by a man who had completed the 26.2-mile run already that morning and decided to do it again.
Ryan Chukuske, 33, is no stranger to running challenges – he's written two books about attempting a 100-mile ultra-marathon – but this proved the first time he had ever run the same marathon course twice in the same day, in both directions, ABC News reports.
He completed his first run – running from the finish line of the marathon to the start line – in 4 hours 10 minutes in the early hours of Sunday morning. He managed to finish just in time for the 8 a.m. start of the official race, which he then completed from start to finish in 4 hours 30 minutes, according to ABC.
"The slogan [for the marathon] is 'Go Bold for Mankato', he told ABC News. "So my friend said: 'Why don't you do something bold this year?' I don't usually say no to any running challenges."
When asked if he'd do it again, he said: "In a heartbeat."
He was helped with his first run by his wife, Megan Giesen, who biked alongside him as he ran his first 26.2 miles after setting out at 3 a.m., WCCO reports.
Needless to say, by the time he got round to starting his second run, he was a little worse for wear, but overcame any doubts he had with help from the crowds and from his mantra as he got closer and closer to the 52.4 mile mark.
"Those thoughts will come no matter what race you're running – 5k, 10k, marathon, half-marathon, whatever. You'll have those moments," he told WCCO.
"Having people out supporting races and having them out in the cheer zones, that is tremendous."
But it wasn't just for himself that he was running, using the opportunity to raise awareness of those who can't run themselves, according to the Mankato Free Press.
Marathon organizers launched a contest this year that asked runners to submit "Bold Story" videos that highlighted why they were running. In his video, Chukuske dedicated his double-marathon to mobility charity I Run For.
"I run every day not because I can but because I get to," he said. "Unfortunately, not everybody gets to run every day. There are those who can't go out, physically, and run every day.
"But there are wonderful organizations such as I Run For, that allow for people who can run to pair up with buddies and then run in honor of them. This is a wonderful organization guys."
Chukuske, who lives in Tracy, Minnesota, turned to running in 2006 in a bid to lose weight, ABC News says, and since then he has slimmed down from 270 pounds to 180 pounds, after competing in races including the New York City and Chicago marathons.
It is the fifth year in a row he has competed in the Mankato Marathon, and organizers told ABC News they believe it is the first time anyone has completed the race twice in the same day.
The marathon went off without a hitch for organizers, despite some controversy in the run-up to the event, when a man was arrested for making a false report of a bomb threat, the Star Tribune reports.
Marathon world records
The current world record for men's marathon running is held by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto, who ran it in 2 hours, 2 minutes and 54 seconds in Berlin last month, IAAF records show, while the women's record is held by Briton Paula Radcliffe, who ran it in 2 hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds in London in 2003.
The record holder for the world's longest foot race – the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race – is German Wolfgang Schwerk, who averaged 75 miles a day. He completed the race in 41 days, 8 hours, 16 minutes and 29 seconds in 2006, the Queensland Courier reports.
More unusual world records include one achieved last year by Kansas man David Babcock, who holds the record for longest scarf knitted while running a marathon, at just over 12 feet, according to FOX4.
And at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, the Toronto Star reports, no fewer than five world records were broken, including fastest run by a female in a firefighter's uniform, fastest half-marathon run while juggling, and fastest half-marathon by a male dressed as a superhero.