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Ultramarathon runner Zach Bitter breaks 100-mile treadmill world record at home in Phoenix

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 5/17/2020 Dana Scott, Arizona Republic
a person sitting on a bicycle: May 16, 2020; Ultramarathon runner Zach Bitter runs on the NordicTrack X22i in his attempt to break the 100-mile treadmill record at his home in Phoenix. © NordicTrack May 16, 2020; Ultramarathon runner Zach Bitter runs on the NordicTrack X22i in his attempt to break the 100-mile treadmill record at his home in Phoenix.

For Zach Bitter, 100-mile treadmill world records are made to be broken within one year. 

The ultramarathon runner achieved sweet success in his tireless day-long quest to set the new world record in his Phoenix home on Saturday.

He breezed to a staggering 12:09:15 time at an average pace of 7:17 per mile.

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That smashes the previous record of 12 hours, 32 minutes set by Dave Proctor in 2019.

The video, which is posted to Bitler's YouTube channel, has received 15,600 views.

The race was a bold attempt for Bitter, who usually trains throughout the Valley's scenic trails and mountainous terrain, but never ran over 30 miles on a treadmill before Saturday.

"I've had races beat me up worse. The treadmill is definitely a psychological mental battle," said Bitter, who ran on the new NordicTrack X22i treadmill.

Bitter's wife, Nicole, also an ultramarathon runner and former two-time USA Track and Field team 100-mile world champion, revealed during the event that he prepared earlier this week with her on an 800-meter run.

"My wife is training for a marathon right now. I like to do some of the workout with her, so I'll go out to the track and pace her on that stuff. It's kind of fun to dip your toe into that side of things a bit," Bitter said. 

The event was also a fundraiser for non-profit Fight For The Forgotten, which helps the Mbuti Pygmies tribe in the Congo to help alleviate its history of oppression from economic enslavement, disease, and hopelessness.

Several of Bitter's ultramarathon running peers such as Dean Karnazes, Ultrarunners podcast's Eric Schranz, Kristina Fireball, James Stewart and Don Freeman co-hosted the event with Nicole Bitter via Zoom.

There were also nearly 250 other runners who had their own live video connections to "Run With Zach" on the Zoom conference call.

In the post-race interview, Bitter said he drank 10 bottles of the event sponsor SFuels liquid 200-calorie endurance drinks and had potato chips to track his calorie intake and calculated hydration for minimal bathroom breaks.

"Right around Mile 87, I had the potato chips," Bitter said. "I don't have anything against solid foods. I just like to get liquid calories for the most part and then if I get kind of sick of that and it doesn't sit in my stomach well, I'll switch to something different just to kind of mix it up a little bit."

When Bitter was past the race's midpoint, he ran at a 6:32:38 per mile rate at the 53-mile mark. At the 60-mile mark, Bitter's 7:12 minute per mile pace identically matched the time stamp of 7 hours, 12 minutes. 

At one point, he had to switch treadmills to help him with a lower room temperature in the house. 

"I got a little worried actually an hour and a half, two hours in because I was clearly starting to get dehydrated and I had to spend the next couple of hours taking in electrolytes to catch back up."

Follow Dana Scott on Twitter @iam_DanaScott or email at dana.scott@azcentral.com

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Ultramarathon runner Zach Bitter breaks 100-mile treadmill world record at home in Phoenix

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