Martin Fryer sets new 24 hour M50 world record
In his first race representing the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, Martin Fryer, established a new World Record for men over 50 in a 24-hour track race of 247.59 km (153 miles, 1487 yards) in the invitational Soochow 24-Hour track race in Taiwan.
The old record was 247.21 km, set back in 1985 by Englishman, Dave Cooper. Martin described the conditions in Taiwan as the worst in which he has ever run – 23 hours of rain out of the 24, with really strong winds and an inch of water covering the track for much of the race.
One of his toughest moments was around the 15-hour point. “I could see my lap times getting slower and slower and my heart was starting to sink with the thought of enduring this for another 9 hours or so,” he later wrote. “As so often happens, this state of self-centredness was dissolved by the sight of a rain-soaked runner in Lane 2 who had his head down and was dragging one of his legs along the track surface.” This was 28-year-old Malaysian runner Cheng Zhee Long, who suffers from cerebral palsy. “The presence of his humble determination hit me like a tidal wave.” Martin recalled. Ultimately, he says he had one of his best ever races, with his consciousness always focused and clear.
“A period of reflection after the race made me realise that it wasn’t so much the achievement that gave me the joy,” he wrote, “but rather the whole process of being immersed in this wonderful, collective human consciousness embodying spirit, aspiration and joy.”