Ohio native attempting world record 11 ultramarathons in 11 days

Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – An Ohio native is running across the state on a quest for a world record and access to clean water.

Friday, Katie Spotz took off from a west side Columbus park on day 5 of 11 consecutive days of ultramarathons. The previous world record for a female athlete was 10 ultramarathons in 10 days. By the end of her journey, Spotz will have run 341 miles from Cincinnati to Cleveland along Ohio to Erie Trail.

“It’s really been a gradual journey of adding a little bit more, but starting from the place of thinking one mile wasn’t possible,” she said.

The endurance athlete said a physical education class inspired her to begin running. Once she started, she was hooked. In addition to running, Spotz is also an avid bicycle rider and rower. In 2010, she broke her first world record as the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

“I’m definitely curious to see what our limits are and to test those limits,” she said.

Each endurance challenge has also been a fundraiser for H2O for Life, a non-profit educating U.S. and Canadian school children about the lack of access to clean water in the developing world. It partners with NGOs to raise money and give villages the resources to build wells in their communities.

Nicknamed “Run4Water,” Spotz’s current world record attempt has a $34,000 fundraising goal for H2O for Life. By Friday morning, she was more than 85-percent toward reaching it.

“Katie doesn’t care if she has these world records. It’s all about raising awareness for the issue, getting support, and helping people around the world,” said Nick Coughlin of H2O for Life. “Every time I see Katie and hang out with her, she’s talking about water. It’s just in her heart. She’s passionate about it.”

Follow the #Run4Water journey:

Spotz has attracted support from local running groups throughout many of her destinations. Several Columbus-area runners joined for the first few miles of Friday’s leg.

“Whenever there’s an opportunity to come out and support runners, we’re there,” said Becca Roher.

Sam Ridenour added, “It definitely gets our attention when somebody goes that deep into the well, so to speak, to bring attention to something that’s needed.”

Spotz plans to reach Edgewater Park in Cleveland on July 1. She hopes to inspire others to pursue seemingly impossible goals.

“I think it’s easy to say, ‘Oh that’s great that person can do that. I could never do that.’ My answer to that would be, ‘I thought that too,’” she said.

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