400-Pound Sumo Wrestler Completes Marathon

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Mar. 22, 2011
  • Updated Mar. 22, 2011 at 10:01 AM UTC

Kelly Gneiting accomplished his goal of finishing the L.A. Marathon on Sunday. Photo: Los Angeles Times

It was anything but easy for the former sumo champion.

Things appear to have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous at last weekend’s Los Angeles Marathon.

First, there was Markos Geneti, who ran 2:06:35–the second fastest debut marathon in history–to shatter the course record. Then there was Joe D’Amico, aka “McRunner”, who set a PR of 2:36:14 on a diet of McDonald’s, and now, much, much farther back in the pack, there’s the story of Kelly Gneitling. Gneitling weighs in at 400 pounds and is now in the Guinness Book of World Records for becoming the heaviest finisher of a marathon. The 40-year-old runner has a 60-inch waist and refers to himself jokingly as “The Fat Man”.

It took him nine hours, 48 minutes and 52 seconds to complete the 26.2-mile trek–a slog he recalls as “hell, pure hell.” With torrential downpours drenching the course, Gneitling’s journey was hardly an easy one. “My feet were on fire,” he said. “Twice, blisters popped and just about brought me to my knees…. But I kept going.”

In 2008, Gneitling completed the course in eleven hours, 48 minutes and 16 seconds. He is a former national champion sumo wrestler.

For More: Los Angeles Times

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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