Ultra-runner breaks world record in Charleston

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – In early March, Italy went into a strict COVID-19 related lockdown. Citizens leaving their homes had to carry special papers confirming they were out for “essential activities.” Lockdowns of varying degrees followed around the world. As boredom and “cabin-fever” mounted, people searched for ways to fill the time. Some people deep cleaned, some people took up new hobbies, and most of us watched a lot more Netflix than we care to admit. Alyssa Clark, then stationed at a Navy Base in Naples with her husband Codi, found a different way to entertain herself: running a marathon every single day.

What began as a way to count the days in lockdown was originally only supposed to last around two weeks. As the lockdown extended, Alyssa, an avid Ultra-runner, kept going. She says around a month (30 marathons) in, she realized she was halfway to the world record for running the most consecutive marathons, so she decided to keep going.

She ran on a treadmill in her apartment in Italy until it was time for her and Codi to return to the US. Despite the chaos of an overseas move in the middle of a pandemic, she made it work. She ran before her flight from Italy to Germany, on the base in Germany before her flight to the US, and despite the jet-lag, she ran the day she got to Virginia. As she and Codi made their way from Virginia to Florida, where Codi will attend Navy dive school, Alyssa neared the record: 60 consecutive marathons.

We were lucky enough to document her breaking the world record on Saturday, with marathon number 61 in Charleston.

A Vermont native, Alyssa has lived and run in some of the most beautiful places imaginable, including Hawaii and Italy. She said that the route she took on Saturday, from the Isle of Palms, across Sullivan’s Island, through Old Mount Pleasant, over the Ravenel, down to the Battery, ending at Marion Square, was one of her favorites.

Always in good spirits, she said the humidity made her muscles feel loose. She said that she felt like a baton, being handed off at each leg of the marathon to a new running buddy, and she was so grateful for the support. She finished her run smiling, hardly even out of breath.

We asked Alyssa if and when she will ever stop. She said she wasn’t sure, but she was aiming for around 75 marathons. What she did know for sure, is that she will never upstage the king of running himself, Forrest Gump. She vowed that no matter what, she will not run consecutively for more than three years.

According to Alyssa, the purpose behind her runs was to inspire people and remind them that they can better themselves even in such dark times. A genuinely friendly and compassionate person, Alyssa recognized that her achievement was coming at a time of serious pain for many Americans. She wanted to keep doing what she loves, but acknowledge and honor the struggles we are facing.

Just hours after Alyssa broke the world record, protests and riots over the death of George Floyd broke out in Charleston. The next morning, Alyssa dedicated her marathon to “those who have lost their lives” and to the hope that we can be better.

Alyssa closed out her 63 marathon and 1,650.6 mile on Monday, with a very appropriate message for runners and the world in general right now: “there are still steps to be taken forward and a few more marathons to run. There is still work to be done. One day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time. One step at a time. We keep moving forward. With love to all.”

UPDATE: Alyssa has now completed 75 consecutive marathons as of June 15th. Congrats, Alyssa! Thank you for inspiring us all to be our best selves.

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