Watch This Ultrarunner Outlast a Fully Charged Tesla

·2-min read

Endurance runner Robbie Balenger set a world record last year when he completed 16 laps of the Central Park Loop Challenge, running a total of 100 miles in the course of a single day. His most recent ultrarunning accomplishment—attempting to run further than a Tesla electric car on a single charge—is the subject of a new documentary from Ten Thousand, as part of their ongoing Feats of Strength series.

Firstly, the Tesla sets off from the same starting point where Balenger will begin his run, and is driven across the state of Texas until its battery is depleted, which occurs after 242 miles. Balenger then assigns himself 72 hours to surpass that distance on foot, a feat which he expects to be as challenging mentally as it will be physically.

"It's just between my two ears, that battle," he says. "And that battle can get pretty lonely." However, he embraces the unpleasant aspects of the experience, like the physical discomfort, fatigue, and soreness which persist and only get worse as he covers more distance.

"I say that running is the inverse of a drug," he continues. "With drugs, you feel really good while you're doing it, then you feel like shit afterwards. With running, especially when you get into it, you feel like shit while you're doing it then you get to feel great afterwards."

At the halfway mark of 121 miles, Balenger pauses for an hour and 50 minutes of rest. He is then joined for the second stretch by a number of other endurance athletes, including Ironman triathlete Nick Bare and distance runner Hellah Sidibe, who run alongside him while offering encouragement.

46 hours in, at 5:30am, Balenger takes another 50-minute nap before heading into his third and final day of running. "One of the things that draws me to these things is you are so aware of yourself and being alive while doing it," he says. "Through the pain, all of it, every sense is heightened."

After 76 hours 54 minutes, Balenger has run a total distance of 242.01 miles, outlasting the Tesla in terms of distance even if he went over his original time target of 72 hours. Ultimately, he says he is grateful to all of the people who helped him on his journey, and proud of himself and what he has accomplished.

"The bigger picture in life is just follow-through," he says. "You break through these versions of yourself, and tear it away and come out a new person, which I think happens for everyone as we evolve through chapters in life, but what's interesting is ones that happen so quickly... There's very few experiences in life where you look back three days later and you're like, I do not recognise that person."

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