The Treadmill From Hell: How Long Can You Keep Up a Champion Marathoner’s Pace?

Race against Ryan Hall with Asics

Headshot of Tim Nudd

The ING New York City Marathon is back, and so is the marketing around it. In one of the best stunts we've seen around this year's race, sponsor Asics (and ad agency Vitro) built a custom treadmill, put it on the back of a flatbed truck, set it to spin at famed U.S. runner Ryan Hall's marathon pace of 4:46 minutes per mile—and challenged people around the city to jump on and keep up. "We used a safety harness so people could only hurt their pride," the agency tells us.

How did people do? "So far, the record is just over eight minutes," says Vitro. In other words—normal people can't even make it two miles at the pace Hall manages for more than 26. (It helps that Hall has a simply stupefying 6-foot-10-inch stride length.)

Vitro has done fun stuff with Hall for Asics for some time. Two years ago, it challenged people to race against Hall along a 60-foot video wall in a New York City subway station.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.