FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kelly Gneiting sets record at Honda LA Marathon
American sumo wrestler sets Guinness mark for
'heaviest to complete a marathon'
LOS ANGELES, March 20, 2011 – Despite heavy rains and howling winds over
the last 10 miles, American sumo wrestler Kelly Gneiting completed the
Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss in nine hours, 48 minutes and 52
seconds to set a new Guinness World Record for the "heaviest person to
complete a marathon."
Gneiting, of Ft. Defiance, Arizona, weighed in at Dodger Stadium on Sunday
morning at exactly 400.0 pounds and took off with the main field at 7:43
a.m. in cool, but dry conditions, crossing the start line several minutes
later at the back of the 23,542-runner pack.
Rain began falling soon after he started and he moved through the Stadium
to the Sea course in increasingly rainy and extremely windy conditions.
He said afterward that he lost track of where he was after mile 10 and,
slightly delirious, only figured out that he'd made it to mile 15 when his
friend and fellow sumo wrestler Americus Abesamis met him with fresh socks
and told him how far he had come. At that point, he said, "I was ecstatic."
He walked the final 18-plus miles of the race after jogging through the
first eight miles. Because his pace was much slower than the
13-minutes-per-mile pace used to calculate street re-openings, he did the
last half of the race on the sidewalk, while also obeying all traffic
"The people of Los Angeles are amazing," he said afterwards. "There was
lots of honking and yelling, 'Go, you're almost there' by both marathoners
and spectators. I was really struggling in the last five miles, but I said
to myself, 'if I have to crawl, I will.'"
Gneiting finished at 5:51 p.m. in a driving rain and howling winds. His
post-race weigh-in showed him – without shirt or shoes – at 396.2 pounds,
well ahead of the old Guinness-recognized record of 275 pounds. He was met
by about 20 well-wishers and news media who braved the conditions to see
Even after the ordeal, he showed that he hadn't lost his sense of humor.
Noting that he cut more than two hours off his 2008 L.A. Marathon time of
11:52:11, he joked, "I'd like to see a Kenyan improve his marathon time by