Set a Record: How to Run a Half Marathon Wearing 120 T-Shirts

Ever thought about running a half marathon...with a twist?
It all started late one night when David Eliuk was online looking for his next running challenge.
He already checked off some sweet goals:

βœ…Set a 2:59 marathon PR
βœ…Run the Boston Marathon
βœ…Swim, bike and run 140.6 miles of a full Ironman
David worked really hard to complete these goals. But pretty soon, he found himself asking the question: What's next?
Click, type, tap...tap...tap, and the Mysterious Force revealed his next big goal.
Here's what happened...

Runner David Eliuk Canada lives in Canada. He's run every distance from 5Ks to ultras.

πŸ‘•How many T-shirts would it take?

Take a look at David's running stats and accomplishments, and you might assume he's an all-business serious runner.
He likes to train hard, test his limits, and chase big goals.
But after ticking off a 2:59 PR at the REVEL Canyon City Marathon in California a few years ago, qualifying for the Boston Marathon and enjoying the experience of this iconic race, he started searching for a different kind of goal.
πŸ†"I was looking through some of the Guinness World Records for running," says David.
"And I came across a picture of this guy running down the street wearing 75 T-shirts."
"My first thoughts. This looks ridiculous. It's pretty funny. And the guy looks hilarious in all those shirts."
πŸ‘•But then the wheels started turning...
"There's no time standard for the record," says David, "just a matter of shirts."
"How hard could that be? It's kind of quirky, and breaking this record seems kind of attainable."
But if he was going to break the record, he was going to need a lot of shirts.

In order to beat the Guinness World Record at the time, David would need to run a half marathon (13.1 miles) wearing more than 75 shirts.

πŸ“³The curious phone call: 'Do you have A LOT of shirts?'

If you've run any race distance from a 5K to an ultra, chances are pretty good you:

  • Set a goal
  • Created a plan
  • Trained and practiced for months
  • Stepped up to the starting line with a race-day strategy

David let the idea of setting a new world record for running a half marathon wearing the most T-shirts percolate.
And if he was going to do this, he needed some help, so he picked up the phone and called a friend.
πŸ“³"Hi Trevor. It's David, and I have this idea..."
Trevor Soll is the founder of Multisports Canada and hosts 22-plus races a year for 9,000-plus event participants. If there was anyone David knew who might be able to help, Trevor was the guy. 
He explained the goal and asked:
πŸ‘•"Do you have any extra shirts?"
"Yes. A lot. How many do you need?"
It turns out, Trevor had a trailer full of T-shirts from size M to 4XL. And he was happy to pass 100+ along to David before donating the rest.
He loaded David up with more than enough shirts, so the training could begin...

To get read to break the Guinness World record for running a half marathon wearing more than 75 shirts, David had to practice. Here's what wearing 35 shirts looks like.

πŸ‘•Let the half marathon T-shirt training begin

You probably wouldn't show up to run a half marathon with zero training.
Instead, you'd most likely follow a progressive kind of plan, upping the miles a little each week.
And that's exactly how David planned his strategy to beat the world record for running a half marathon wearing a lot of T-shirts.
πŸ‘•"When I started training, every two weeks I would add 10 to 12 more shirts," says David.
πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ"I'd do four or five runs a week with all the shirts on, and keep repeating the process."
"You really have to get used to the weight of the shirts and the restricted range of motion."
After getting used to wearing a lot of T-shirts while running, David made his goal specific: Run a half marathon wearing 120 T-Shirts.

  • 😲Fun fact: The weight of 120 T-shirts weigh =48.5 pounds.
  • 😲More fun facts: "Once you get to around 90 shirts, you're unable to dress or feed yourself because of the restriction," says David. "I had a crew to help me put on more shirts, keep me hydrated, and handle all the media to document the record."
David ran the Hypothermic Half Marathon in Canada wearing 120 T-shirts and set a new world record.

😲Break the record...twice

David's first attempt to run a half marathon wearing 105 T-shirts went pretty well.
He beat the record, even though he had to remove some shirts mid-race.
"Some of the shirts were bunched up around my shoulder," says David.
"They were cutting off circulation, because they were so tight around my arm. I started having blood flow issues and tingling in my hands."
He made it to the finish, but the administrative side of Guinness wasn't in his favor.

  • By the time he submitted all the documentation required to verify his record, someone else ran a half marathon wearing more shirts.
  • It was serial-record-breaker David Rush
  • He ran a half marathon wearing 111 shirts, and got it verified before David Eliuk's record made it through the process.

And that only made David want the world record even more...
"My mind was set on this," David said. "I want this record."
And he got it on Feb. 5, 2023.
When he stepped up to the starting line of the Hypothermic Half Marathon earlier year, he hardly noticed the below-freezing temps, because he was wearing 120 T-shirts.
And this time Guinness recognized his world record.

David Eliuk set a new world record on Aug. 20, 2023 by running the Edmonton Marathon (26.2 miles) wearing 78 T-shirts.

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈBut he wasn't done yet...

David put his newly-acquired knowledge of how Guinness World Records operates, and set another record.
This time he set a new world record for running a marathon wearing 78 shirts at the Edmonton Marathon on Aug. 20, 2023.
"Since the race was going to happen during the summer, I was concerned about how the heat would effect me with that many layers," says David.
"I experimented with ice packs and running in the early morning. I even tried some cooling mechanisms to help keep my body temperature down."
Even though he was running for 5 hours, wearing 78 shirts for the 26.2-mile marathon distance proved to be a little easier than running a half marathon wearing 120 shirts.
"I didn't need a support crew to get dressed," says David. 
"I was able to carry a water bottle and refill at aid stations every two miles. I took pictures to document the attempt, and I had a much better range of motion than wearing over 100 shirts."

Fun facts about David Eliuk

πŸ˜€Fun facts about David Eliuk

πŸ†Guinness World Records

  • Most T-shirts worn during a half marathon: 120 at the Hypothermic Half Marathon in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on Feb. 5, 2023.
  • Most T-shirts word during a marathon: 78 at the Edmonton Marathon in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on Aug. 20, 2023.
  • Note: On May 23, 2023, Iowa resident Dan Harvey broke David's record by running a half marathon wearing 127 T-shirts. (David, you know what you need to do...🀣)

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈYears of running

  • I've been running since I was in grade 3. My school had a cross country team, and the principal was our coach. And it's still a popular sport. My youngest son competed in some of the same races that I did as a kid. 

πŸ‘ŸFavorite running shoes

⌚Favorite running coaches

β›½Favorite running fuel

πŸ’§Favorite electrolyte drink

  • Nuun. "I really like their endurance line for when I'm running."

πŸ˜€Advice for runners

  • "I find that a lot of newer runners will compare themselves to other runners. Don't run against the person standing beside you. Run for you."

πŸ“†What's next?

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Evan Jensen
SANDY, Oregon
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I help RUNNERS reduce injuries, fix running form, run longer & faster by strength training without running ragged. I'm a NASM...


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