Among athletes, there are runners.
Among runners, there are marathoners.
Among marathoners, there are ultra-marathoners, that rare breed who believe that 42km at once is not enough.
And among ultra-marathoners, there is Andrew Snope.
The 28-year-old earned (and we mean earned) a place in the history books at the weekend by covering an astonishing 220km in the space of 24 hours.
Amazingly, his feet didn't suffer too badly from his feat, as he showed the world on Twitter:
Snope, who hails from Savannah in Georgia, set his record on a running track in Alaska, running almost non-stop for the entire 24 hours barring toilet breaks.
He covered the distance of five and a quarter marathons, averaging 9.17km an hour - that's roughly 6.5 minutes for each kilometre covered, which equates to running each of those marathons in about four hours 35 minutes, and comfortably beating the old record of 211.52km.
All the more amazing is the fact that Snope only started running three years ago, and - inspired by a book called "Born to Run", preaching the benefits of getting back to natural states - he has never owned a pair of running shoes. That's right: he always runs barefoot, whether on the beach, pavement or track, and he says he'll never do it any other way.
"You feel pretty ecstatic,’’ Snope told the Alaska Dispatch News.
"Your senses are really heightened. To take a shower is ecstasy. To sit down is mind-blowing."
For those of you thinking, "nah, that's a soft record, the world record for running with shoes in 24 hours is probably way higher," well, you're wrong. The official Guinness World Record for running on a treadmill (i.e. the easiest possible way of running long distance, with no air resistance and a soft, perfectly bouncy surface) is 160.24 miles. Considering how much easier treadmills are, that number makes Snope's mark look all the more impressive.
Snope is merely the latest person to put in a superhuman shift in the name of sport, however. Here's our pick of some of the other great achievements:
- - -
The 111-round boxing match
n the bareknuckle era boxing matches always continued to a knockout - and on April 6, 1893, seven hours 19 minutes of fighting could not separate Jack Burke and Andy Bower.
Burke (pictured) had broken every single bone in both of his hands but still refused to give up, with the encounter only being stopped and declared a no-contest by referee John Duffy when both boxers were too dazed and exhausted even to come out of their corners for the 112th round.
Such was the brutal nature of the fight that Burke never fought again and Bowen died in the ring in his very next fight after being knocked out in the 18th round.
- - -
The man who swam the Atlantic
Frenchman Benoit Lecomte set off to swim from Massachussetts to Brittany in 1998. It took him two months of swimming eight hours a day, but he successfully managed the 5980km feat - and on getting out of the water, his first words were, "Never again!"
He's forgotten that now, however: Lecomte's latest project is trying to swim the Pacific. The epic swim is due to start later this year.
- - -
The man who ran... and ran, and ran, and ran
If you think Snope's running is impressive, Dean Karnazes's achievements are even more so. The 51-year-old American enjoys the stupendously rare biological advantage of making almost no lactic acid in his muscles when he runs (and therefore feels almost no fatigue), and he's put it to use time and time again.
As well as winning a string of ultramarathon events, he's also set records such as running 350 miles in 80 hours without sleep, and running the 3,000 miles from Disneyland in Los Angeles to New York City in just 75 days, covering 45-50 miles a day.
More from World of Sport