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Mike Wardian demolishes World Marathon Challenge record, wins USATF Athlete of the Week


INDIANAPOLIS -- After a harrowing seven marathons on seven continents in seven days, Michael Wardian (Arlington, Virginia) emerged as the winner and new record holder - by more than 45 minutes - finishing with an average of 2:45:57 per marathon. He finished the final marathon in Sydney, Australia in 2:45:31.

“It made me question my sanity every day, which is always a good thing,” Wardian told The Washington Post during a Facebook Live interview.

The 42-year-old ran through various terrains and weather conditions, most challenging being the -30C windchill temperatures in Antarctica. Other marathons took place in Punta Arenas, Chile, Miami, Madrid, Marrakech and Dubai. After Sydney, Wardian ran another 16 miles to reach 200 total for the week.

Thirty-two other athletes completed the globe-spanning feat, including U.S. Olympian and half marathon American record holder Ryan Hall (Mammoth Lakes, California). Hall, who retired from professional running last year, announced this would be his last marathon and ran to raise funds for the non-profit L.A. Dream Center.  

Other notable performances:

  • Brenda Martinez (Rancho Cucamonga, California) stormed through her 800m leg of the women’s distance medley relay in 2:01.94 to give Jenny Simpson (Oviedo, Florida) a two second cushion with just the 1600m leg remaining. The four-member team broke the DMR world record at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in 10:40.31.

  • Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Connecticut) ran a world best in the 600m (1:14.91) at Penn State to break the record of 1:14.97, set by UTEP's Emmanuel Korir on Jan. 20.

  • Fred Kerley (Taylor, Texas) led his Texas A&M team to set a new indoor collegiate record in the men’s 4x400m relay in 3:02.52 at the Razorback Invitational. Kerley ran the fastest lead leg in NCAA history with a time of 44.96.

  • Katie Burnett (El Cajon, California) set new American records in the 40 km and 50 km at the USATF 50K Race Walk Championships in her 50 km debut. Her final time of 4:26:37 broke Erin Taylor-Talcott’s 2012 record of 4:33:23.

  • Olympic 5000m silver medalist Paul Chelimo (Portland, Oregon) registered a world lead in the men’s 3000m at New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, chasing down multi-time NCAA champion Lawi Lalang of Kenya over the final three laps to win in 7:42.39.

  • Olympic 1500m champion Matt Centrowitz (Arnold, Maryland) dropped down his distance from his season-starting 3k and took home another victory for the early 2017 season, winning the New Balance Men’s Mile in 3:55.78.

Now in its 16th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

2017 Winners: January 5, Miranda Melville; January 12, Leonard Korir; January 19, Jordan Hasay; January 26, Keni Harrison; February 2, Michael Wardian.

We welcome your nominations!

To nominate an athlete for USATF Athlete of the Week, please send a detailed email about his/her performance to

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