Last year, over 4,000 people watched live on YouTube as Eric O’Connor ran 24 hours straight on a treadmill to raise funds for the National Blood Clot Alliance. This year, Eric wanted to do something bigger. He wanted to bring even more awareness to blood clot prevention, so he searched Guinness Book of World Records he could break. As a husband and father to three young boys, he had to find something that fit into his schedule. He came across a 21-day consecutive ultra marathon record and decided it could be done.
The 50k challenge, or 31 miles a day, will start February 18 and end on March 13. Each day, Eric will start his run between 4 and 5 a.m. so he can be back in time to take his kids to school. “4 shots of espresso and a light breakfast, then I hit the trail,” said O’Connor. The 50k course was measured by USA Triathlon, which starts at his driveway, then on to the Illinois Prairie Path, East toward Chicago, then turn back for an extra loop before heading home. Per Guinness Book Record rules, O’Connor has to provide pictures and witnesses during each run. O’Connor said he hopes he can “find some early risers.”
O’Connor has been training for the past 3 months with coach Andrew Lemencello. His training has included lifting 6 days a week, interval work, long runs of 3.4-5 hours and a few 80-105 minute runs during the week. O’Connor has been wearing his fenix 3 and heart rate monitor every day. “They are essential to my training,” said O’Connor. “The data the watch and heart rate monitor provide are critical.” O’Connor’s target heart rate throughout the 50k A Day will be around 145-150 bpm. He plans on using the LiveTrack feature through Garmin Connect IQ and embed the map on his site so people can follow his progress.
Raising awareness for blood clot prevention is very close to O’Connor’s heart. About 4 years ago, O’Connor had a routine knee surgery that caused deep vein thrombosis blog clots in his calf and his lungs were full of Pulmonary Emboli (blood clots in the lungs). “Can you believe 274 people die every day from blood clots?” O’Connor asks. “I was one of the lucky ones to survive. By building awareness to the signs and symptoms of blood clots, O’Connor hopes to help prevent others from having the experience he had.