Watch Olympian Ryan Hall Try to Carry 500 Pounds for 5,000 Meters
Since retiring as a professional distance runner, Ryan Hall has transformed his body, building strength and muscle in order to take on a whole new kind of physical challenge. The record-breaking marathoner and former Olympic athlete is happiest when he has a foot in both worlds, introducing strength training elements to 5K runs and carrying 62 pounds of water across the Grand Canyon.
"I love taking on these challenges where I combine strength training and endurance," he says. "I have this huge endurance background, mixed in with this new last six years of getting into the strength side of things and trying to get as big and strong as I possibly can."
For his most recent physical feat, documented on his YouTube channel, Hall travels to Flagstaff, Arizona and sets himself the challenge of strapping 500 pounds to a yoke frame and carrying it a total of 5 km on his shoulders. While he admits he doesn't know if that is even possible for him, he promises he'll take it as far as he absolutely can before giving up.
"I didn't anticipate how difficult the footing would be," he says not long after he has begun. "It's a dry lake bed, so you're sinking down into this and there's a lot of unevenness." After just 30 minutes, it becomes evident that Hall won't be able to complete the challenge on this kind of surface, so he shoulders the frame and makes his way towards a nearby dirt road. But as time goes on and he loses daylight, terrain remains an obstacle—quite literally.
"One of the reoccurring problems I wasn't anticipating having in this challenge was getting stuck in various tiny little potholes that can trip you up," he explains. "That was more of a mental barrier than even a physical one; you're so frustrated, you're spending all this energy and literally only going a foot forward."
Hall stops the yoke carry at 9:45 p.m., having traveled a distance of 2.11 miles (3.39 km), and describes a sense of disappointment at reaching the point where he is no longer able to get the weight off the ground and knows the challenge is over. But he is also proud of what he has been able to accomplish and learn about himself.
"As a journeyman, as a guy who loves to push the limits on things and go and search the depths and find something that you don't even know is there, it was a bit of a realisation that everything I have is inside, and everything I need to live life to the fullest is already here," he says.
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