Spanish man runs barefoot half-marathon on Quebec ice

Long distance runner Karim El Hayani is waiting for confirmation from Guinness that he set a new world record
barefoot half-marathon Anyone ready for a run? Barefoot? (Photo 43852693 © -

Do you like running? How about running ... far? There's no question that long distance running is a skill that takes endurance and dedication.

Just completing a distance like a half-marathon (21.1 km or 13.1 miles) is an achievement in and of itself. But finishing one quickly? That is very impressive. What's that? Running one barefoot? Wow, if you could do that, you'd go to the front of the pack. We're sorry, what was that?

You ran a half-marathon barefoot across ice? And you did it faster than anyone in history?

Wow. That's all we have to say!

And in case you're thinking that running a barefoot half-marathon over ice wasn't even a thing, well, it is.

Just ask Karim El Hayani, who ran one on March 3 across frozen Lac Beaufort in Quebec!


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Spanish powerhouse

El Hayani is an expert long distance runner. But this Spanish athlete takes his skill a step further. He's a specialist in running barefoot. His travels have taken him from his native Spain to Arizona, searching for cool running challenges. Then, he moved to Bromont, Quebec a few years ago and found the coolest challenge of all.

Running on ice.

The extreme cold and snow caught him off guard at first. But once he became used to the winters, he wanted to master them. So his quest for the perfect barefoot half-marathon over ice was born, learning how to keep his balance on the slippery surface and become immune to the freezing temperatures.

Cool under pressure

Interestingly, this type of race was not a brand new thing before El Hayani. For years, the record for the fastest time was two hours, 16 minutes and 34 seconds, held by Netherlands' Wim Hof, who set it in 2007.

Quite recently, Norway's Jonas Felde Savaldrud ran the race in about one hour and 45 minutes—a huge improvement over Hof's race. Then, El Hayani ran his race in March. His time?

A stunning one hour, 37 minutes, and 54 seconds! Incredible.

(For comparison, the world record for the fastest half-marathon under normal conditions is 57:32, and held by Kenya's Kibiwott Kandie.)

Both Savaldrud and El Hayani are waiting for confirmation from Guinness World Records about whether either of them officially broke the record. But regardless of what is reported back by the organization, El Hayani has definitely—and officially—left us amazed.

Watch this athlete practise running barefoot along a trail a couple weeks before his March 3rd attempt below.


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