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Toronto man could shatter world record for most marathons run in one year

A Toronto man could set a new world record for the number of marathons run in one year.

Ben Pobjoy completed 242 marathons across nearly 70 countries in 2023.

“I quit the job, sold everything, threw caution to the wind and went out there,” Pobjoy said on CP24 Live at Noon on Thursday.

A day earlier, he submitted his record-breaker application for most marathons run in a year to Guinness World Records with GPS tracking data and documentation, which the organization will evaluate in the coming week, he said.

Currently, American runner Larry Macon holds the Guinness title with 239 marathons run in 2012.

“The first week I was like, ‘What have I got myself into?’” Pobjoy said, recalling the start of his journey on Jan. 1 2023.

Ben Pobjoy on his 205th marathon of the year in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (Credit: Ben Pobjoy).

He ran freestyle, a solo pursuit with no course or official finish line, he said. Instead, he trekked 11,465 kilometres, through subzero temperatures in Ulaanbaatar to extreme levels of humidity in Malta.

“Everything I had was on my back,” he said. In his backpack, he carried pens and cameras, documenting the journey as it unfolded through photos.

Ben Pobjoy photographs couples dancing in the streets of Mexico City.

Pobjoy started running marathons almost a decade ago in 2015. At the time, he says he was obese and facing severe health issues. He began with walking outdoors and got hooked on the element of exploration.

While Pobjoy says he is in no rush to get back on the road after a year abroad, he still has a lingering bucket list item – “a marathon in every country before the end of my lifetime,” he said. 

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