A 288-pound woman set a world record, becoming the heaviest woman to complete a marathon.
“I decided I wanted to try a challenge and jump out of my comfort zone, and distance running had always been the thing that I was worse at in the entire world,” Ragen Chastain, 41, told People magazine.
“I was looking around for other plus-size people who had done marathons, and I saw a lot of people who started the marathon but didn’t finish it,” she said. “So I was just really inspired by the idea of being plus-size and finishing the marathon, and the visibility that would create for other people who wanted to try it and thought they couldn’t because of their size.”
Chastain completed the Mainly Marathon in Sanford, Maine.
While training for the marathon, Chastain began incorporating other training into her regimen—she plans on competing in the Ironman Arizona in November.
Chastain said that she completed the Seattle Marathon prior to the Mainly Marathon but only after completing it did she learn she could have set the Guinness World record for the heaviest woman to run a marathon.
“You can’t be awarded the record retroactively, so I had to tackle another marathon. But the first marathon had been such a painful slog. I was having trouble psyching myself up to do it all again,” she wrote in an essay published on ESPN. “To get myself motivated, I started listening to audiobooks about endurance athletes, and many of them talked about completing Ironman triathlons. That seemed like the ultimate challenge for my goal of getting outside my comfort zone, so I decided to take on the second marathon as part of a bigger challenge—to eventually complete an Ironman triathlon.”
To record herself running the marathon, Guinness rules stipulated that Chastain wear a camera at all times during the race.
She said she borrowed two GoPro cameras and alternated them each loop, with two batteries and 12 memory cards.
She was also required to weigh-in before the race and after she finished, with two impartial witnesses and a film crew present.
Everyone there had to fill out paperwork.
“This title will serve as an example to the plus-size community that there is no such thing as a limitation,” she said.