There were cheers, tears and pure relief for Erchana Murray-Bartlett when she crossed the finish line and completed a record-breaking 150th marathon in 150 days.
Starting from Cape York in far North Queensland and finishing on the Tan track in Melbourne about 6pm on Monday, the determined runner clocked an impressive 6330 kilometres in just under six months.
Erchana Murray-Bartlett is greeted by a guard of honour as she completes her 150th marathon in as many days at Melbourne’s Tan track on Monday evening.Credit:Penny Stephens
Her final leg started at the Pillars of Wisdom near Alexandra Avenue at 1.30pm, before she tackled some of the city’s favourite running spots, including Albert Park and Fitzroy Gardens.
As if running marathon after marathon wasn’t enough, Murray-Bartlett elected to finish the distance with multiple laps of the Tan, repeatedly running up the steep Anderson Street hill.
She was greeted after her final lap by a guard of honour, with astonished onlookers cheering her on.
“It’s overwhelming, I’m so stoked. The turnout has been phenomenal and the fact that everyone was running with me, it made it even more special,” she said.
“It’s been five and a half months of my life doing this – it’s been my whole day, every day – so even just to finish feels strange.”
Murray-Bartlett has already sprinted past the world record for most consecutive daily marathon runs by a woman, taking that honour on day 107. The record will need to be officially signed off by Guinness World Records in coming days.
The feat has taken a significant toll on her body: she went through 10 pairs of shoes across six months and actually went up half a shoe size on the journey, ending her last marathon on Monday with “very swollen feet”.
The 32-year-old’s many marathons spanned sandy beaches, lush forests and dusty roads, but not everything went to plan, including an unexpected encounter with a crocodile.
“The hardest part though has been the logistics. It’s been no reception, no water, no food, and just hoping those things would be there at the finish line – it’s been really tough,” she said.
Through the impressive achievement, Murray-Bartlett hopes to boost awareness of the environmental charity the Wilderness Society, in hopes of halting Australia’s animal extinction crisis. More than $105,000 has already been raised for the cause.
“We are a world leader in biodiversity loss, so I just want to counter a bad world record with a good world record,” she said. “If we don’t act now, we’re not going to have these beautiful animals around.”
As for when she’ll run another marathon? “Ooh, not for a while.”
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