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How fast could you do 20 full-distance races? Rait Ratasepp sets new record despite getting hit by a car

Prior to accident Estonian was averaging under 11 hours per race

Photo by: Jakob Meier

Earlier this year we reported on Estonia’s Rait Ratasepp, who is looking to set a new world record by doing 60-consecutive full-distance races.  As opposed to James Lawrence (the Iron Cowboy), who completed 101 days of full-distance triathlons earlier this year, Ratasepp is completing his efforts without drafting, isn’t using IVs to help stay hydrated, and is doing his events at an amazing pace.

Photo: Jakob Meier

Despite the fact that he’s completing all his efforts on Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, which is renowned for its tough, windy terrain, Ratasepp has set an amazing pace for all each effort, which includes a 3.8 km swim in the 50 m pool at the Playitas Resort, a 180 km bike that includes 1,810 m of climbing and a 42.2 km run course that has 300 m of climbing.

Through the first 13 days of his challenge Ratasepp was blazing an incredible pace, averaging 10:51:16 for each of his full-distance days. Then, on day 14, disaster struck and the Estonian was hit by a car. His bike was destroyed and he was injured, but was able to complete the day’s effort in 14:20:09. His team and sponsors jumped into action to try and get his bike replaced, but it took six days for his sponsor, Hawaii Express, to build another bike and get it from Estonia to Fuerteventura. Riding a rental bike from the Playitas Resort, Ratasepp was able to keep going, but lost valuable time each day on the bike and also found himself struggling on the runs because of the different bike position.

Despite all those challenges Ratasepp set a new record for 20-consecutive full-distance races, going four-minutes faster than he did in 2019. He now holds the three fastest times ever for 20 full-distance efforts – 225: 28: 08 (2021), 225: 32: 41 (2019) and 238: 52: 34 (2018). The accident definitely slowed him down, though – before that he was six hours ahead of record pace and had hoped to break the record by 10 hours.

Photo: Jakob Meier

The new bike definitely made a difference, though – the first day he was on the new bike Ratasepp went under six hours for the 180 km bike leg and ran his fastest marathon so far – a 3:09:11.

Here’s a list of his overall times for the first 22 days of the challenge:

  • Day 1: 10:34:12
  • Day 2: 10:43:25
  • Day 3: 10:55:46
  • Day 4: 11:19:02
  • Day  5: 11:25:34
  • Day 6: 11:04:17
  • Day 7: 10:50:37
  • Day 8: 10:44:55
  • Day 9: 10:39:18
  • Day 10: 10:49:57
  • Day 11: 10:30:51
  • Day 12: 10:42:23
  • Day 13: 10:46:13
  • Day 14: 14:20:09
  • Day 15: 11:56:12
  • Day 16: 12:24:59
  • Day 17: 11:28:37
  • Day 18: 11:24:10
  • Day 19: 11:25:57
  • Day 20: 11:21:34
  • Day 21: 11:14:24
  • Day 22: 10:47:11

You can follow Ratasepp’s progress on his website.