Calum Neff, Guinness World Record holder for fastest marathon and half marathon pushing a stroller, still has champion mentality goals.
A man who grew up living all over the world took to running as a new form of language. Knowing he wouldn’t be staying in one place for too long, he used races as an introduction to quickly find like-minded people to connect with and find a kind of sanctuary in wherever he would run.
While in the sixth grade, Neff was listening to his teacher speak about the grueling stories and conditions of a race in South Africa called the Comrades Marathon. The world's largest and oldest ultramarathon is approximately 55 miles and takes place every June in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Neff has been determined ever since to run this race.
This race became much more than a bucket list race for Neff. He set lofty goals of finishing in the top 10 and in under 6 hours and wasn’t stopping until he achieved them.
"Comrades is the greatest, grandest, and most prestigious race that has ever existed. The combination of elite depth and the masses that flow in waves over 12 hours through a country supporting defines camaraderie and running."
In his first two attempts, Neff has come up short on his goals finishing the race in 6:08 (2018) and 6:18 (2019). But he doesn’t let those failures deter him. Instead, he chooses to use his failures to stay motivated and lets the prestige reputation of this historic race inspire him.
Despite these setbacks, Neff stays disciplined with consistent routines as he continues to strive toward his personal goals. Run Gum has become a staple part of his routine. Five to 10 minutes before a race, he starts chewing and sometimes it'll last upwards of an hour before he gets rid of it.
“For key workouts or important races, it’s the same as putting on my shoes or starting my watch. I pop a piece of Run Gum in, and it’s go time. It’s just a part of my routine now,” Neff said.