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Kei Suga

Solving the marathon puzzle

Kei Suga has set possibly the most extraordinary marathon record ever

Most of us have yet to solve the puzzle of successful marathon preparation and participation but one supremely talented Japanese runner (1:20: 35 half marathon PB) has taken puzzle-solving to a whole new level. Kei Suga was running the Kashiwanoha Campus Marathon Festa 2022 Autumn marathon in his home city of Kashiwa, in Chiba Prefecture on 15th October when he broke the Guinness World Record for: "The most rotating puzzle cubes solved whilst running a marathon".

Who even knew there was such a record? There is and it was set by New Zealander Blair Williamson who achieved 254 successful completions of the infuriatingly difficult Rubik's cube, whilst running the Christchurch International Marathon on 4th June 2017.

Suga's super new record is almost twice that number – and he ran half an hour faster than Williamson. The new record, subject to ratification by the Guinness World Record arbitors, is an astonishing 420 completed puzzles in 4:34:23 – an average of one every 100m for the 42 kilometres he ran on 14 laps of a 3K course!

The standard Rubik's cube has 43 quintillion ways in which it can be displayed, yet it can be solved by a maximum of 20 moves and within a matter of seconds by an expert exponent. Suga solved his first Rubik's cube in 2006, going on to compete in World Cube Association competitions. He started running marathons in 2013 and now completes several each year. It was only a matter of time before the two skills were combined to such amazing effect.

“I have been training for this record for 10 years,” said Suga. He had the entire challenge filmed and an assistant handed him scrambled Rubik's cubes to solve, using two sets of 30 cubes in rotation throughout the marathon. Each set of 30 solved cubes was exchanged for a fresh set of 30 scrambled cubes at the end of every lap in the local athletics stadium.   

Here is an amazing YouTube video of part of the world record attempt...

Just imagine the level of concentration required to maintain a steady pace; remain upright while solving puzzle after puzzle on the run and still find time to stay hydrated and fuelled.

Makes our own difficulties with pace judgement, motivation, and energy management seem so much less of a challenge than that faced by the extraordinary Kei Suga.

Image courtesy Kei Suga on Facebook

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