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Sports Dave Proctor back chasing running records after cross-Canada speed attempt

Dave Proctor will run as fast as he can on a treadmill for 12 hours Saturday in Calgary.

CHAD HIPOLITO/The Canadian Press

Dave Proctor’s attempted speed record across Canada in the summer of 2018 was foiled by a bad back, so the ultramarathoner’s comeback plan is chasing a pair of quirkier running benchmarks.

The 38 year old from Okotoks, Alta., will run as fast as he can on a treadmill for 12 hours on Saturday in Calgary.

Proctor’s goal is not only to cover more distance than anyone else has on a treadmill in 12 hours, and set a world record, but also to run 100 miles (approximately 160 kilometres) in that time frame, which no one else has done.

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He’ll start running at 4 a.m. local time in a convention centre at the Calgary Marathon Expo.

Guinness World Records says the farthest distance run by a male on a treadmill in 12 hours is 147.3 km by Australian Matthew Eckford on May 11, 2018.

Guinness doesn’t list a record for the fastest 100 miles run by a male on a treadmill.

Proctor hopes he’ll inspire runners coming to pick up their packages for Sunday’s races, but also feel inspired by their excitement and energy to sustain an average pace of 4 minutes 26 seconds a km.

“I’m going to have to run just short of four marathons, but all Boston Marathon standard qualifying times,” he said.

Proctor has previous success setting treadmill records.

In May, 2016, Proctor set a world record for the longest distance run on a stationary treadmill over a 24-hour period when he covered 260.40 km at the same Calgary Marathon Expo.

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But Australia’s Luca Turrini broke the mark a year later with a distance of 261.18 km and Norway’s Bjorn Tore Kronen Taranger then extended it to 264.52 km in October, 2018.

Proctor is Canadian record-holder in the 24-hour road race at 257.093 km, which he set in a sixth-place finish at the 2015 world championship in Italy.

Proctor attempted to run from Victoria to St. John’s in 66 days in the summer of 2018.

Averaging 108 km a day, he would have beaten the 1991 record of 72 days and 10 hours set by Al Howie.

Proctor was also raising money for the Rare Disease Foundation. His 10-year-old son Sam has a rare disease that affects his mobility.

But the pain of a herniated disc not only hampered Proctor’s gait as he headed east, but deprived him of crucial recovery sleep. Proctor began to spiral mentally and physically.

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A month after dipping a white cowboy hat into the Victoria Harbour, Proctor halted his run east of Winnipeg where a sign marks the longitudinal centre of the country.

“I was failing on the highway last year running across Canada and I was really quite disappointed in myself,” Proctor said.

“The number one thing I do best at when it comes to running is the mental side of things.

“I would have ups, but I would have really big downs and I would be dragging in my downs. I really couldn’t lift myself quickly out of those downs because I was mentally failing out there.”

Proctor’s cross-Canada attempt raised $320,000 for the Rare Disease Foundation.

He didn’t require surgery on his back, but did undergo hours of daily physiotherapy before he could start running again.

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The website www.recordholders.org states the 100-mile men’s treadmill record is 14 hours 22 minutes and 49 seconds set by American Serge Arbona during a 24-hour treadmill record attempt Jan. 24-25, 2004.

Proctor says Guinness has approved his attempt of the most distance covered in 12 hours, but did not recognize the 100-mile record attempt.

“It is kind of strange we have to wait for approval from this company called Guinness World Records to get approval,” Proctor said.

“Really, I’m going to go and break the 100-mile world record whether Guinness gives me the approval to go forward with it or not. I don’t really need it to be recognized because I know that I did it.

“When I first broke my Guinness world record on the 24-hour treadmill, it really mattered to me that the world acknowledge that I did it.

“Now, my goal is really a personal goal. I want to push my body and my mind to the brink.”

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