Flo Neuschwander sets world mark on treadmill with Zwift

German ultrarunner Flo Neuschwander spent last weekend breaking the indoor world record for 100km on a treadmill, setting a time of 6h 26m 14s at his local gym with online Zwift supporting him.

Just 11 months after breaking the 50km indoor running world record, Neuschwander went one better by finishing the 100km distance in a superb time that knocked 13 minutes off the previous record set by fellow ultrarunner Mario Mendoza. Mario from the USA, ran 100km on the treadmill last June in 6h 39m 26s.

Neuschwander started the unofficial world record attempt at 9am on Saturday supported by hundreds of fans as well as fellow athletes and digital companions on Zwift.

Virtual training platform Zwift allowed users to run and cycle alongside him plus send digital greetings – an opportunity that fellow top athletes didn’t want to miss such as triathlete Patrick Lange, who cycled a few kilometres, while compatriots Sebastian Kienle and Koko Klosterhalfen also kept him motivated with messages of support.

With 5,000 people watching, running or cycling with him, Neuschwander said: “If I’d run 100km on the treadmill alone, with no interaction, I think too much. You can’t do that: when it gets difficult, there’s no one to push you. Digital support was extremely important. That’s the be-all and end-all for such a long run.”

“It got interesting from 60km onwards. From then on it was new territory. I’ve never run that far on the treadmill, especially not at that speed. From 70km to 85km it was hard. I had to dig really deep, especially mentally. It was tough.”

Incredibly, the last kilometre of 3m 20s was Neuschwander’s fastest of the 100km maintaining an average of 3m 52m per kilometre.

“The last kilometre clearly goes to the community. It was great! Seen over the entire distance, the pace seems brutal, of course. The trick was to keep up this pace for so long.”

Next up for Neuschwander is the 2021 Wings for Life World Run on May 9 where everyone will run via the brand-new App as global runners of all abilities compete to raise funds for spinal cord injury research.

Explore more Wings for Life World Run content HERE.