Sumo Wrestling Champ Sets Marathon Record

Mar 22, 2011
Outside Magazine


Fourteen years and 270 pounds separate Markos Geneti and Kelly Gneiting, yet both men set records in last Sunday's Los Angeles marathon. Geneti, a 26-year-old Ethiopian, ran a 2:06:35  to beat the course record, and Gneiting, a 40-year-old American, ran a 9:48:52 to become the heaviest person to finish a 26.2-mile race.

Gneiting, a 405-pound ex-sumo wrestler with a 60-inch girth, surpassed the previous world record of 275 pounds and smashed his own unofficial record set on the same course three years ago (unfortunately, his time of 11:52:11 in 2008 wasn't recognized by Guinness because he failed to weigh in prior to the race). "I'd like to see the Kenyan improve his marathon time by two hours," he joked to the LA Times. The Arizona native jogged the first eight miles and walked the last 18 miles.

Gneiting's other athletic accomplishments include three sumo wrestling National Championship titles between 2007 and 2009, and a fifth place finish at the World Sumo Championship in Japan in 2006. 

"I honestly think I"m one of the best athletes in the world," he told the LA Times prior to the race.

--Whitney Dreier

Filed To: Athletes, Events, Running

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