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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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The heaviest person to ever total a marathon weighed 275 pounds. Add that weight plus the total weight of a great long-distance runner (about 120 pounds) and you'll get Kelly Gneiting.

Gneiting, a three-time U.S. sumo winner, tipped the scales at 400 pounds when he began Sunday's Los Angeles Marathon. Nine hours, 48 minutes, 52 seconds later he crossed the finish line and set the Guinness World Record for being the heaviest person to ever total the 26.2-mile race.

The 400-pound American run the first eight miles of the race and walked the last 18, often stopping at junctions and stoplights because he was well behind the 13-minute-per-mile pace set by race managers. He says he became feverish after mile 10 and only realized he hit the 15-mile mark when a friend gave him a clean pair of socks.

"I was really struggling in the last five miles," he told the Los Angeles Times, "but I said to myself, 'If I have to crawl, I will.'"

When he finally finished, he had set the weight world record and a personal best by over two hours. "I'd like to see the Kenyan get better his marathon time by two hours," he joked.

Gneiting weighed 200 pounds in college but says he packed on the weight after getting married. He became a sumo wrestler 11 years ago and won his first national title four years later. In spite of his weight, Gneiting says he's still fit and wants to prove it by competing in other competitions. Next up? Swimming the English Channel.


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