5 Questions – Pete Kostelnick

This weekend was the 41st running of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. Pete Kostelnick ran the race eight years ago to lose weight. Since then he has been quite an journey – most recently, winning Badwater twice, (setting a course record this year) and  winning the Desert Solstice 24 Hour Race that placed him as the first qualifier for the US National 24 Hour Team.  Oh, and last week he set a new Guinness record that has held for 36 years.

On Monday, October 24, 2016 5:30 pm ET, Pete Kostelnick, made his way up the New York City Hall steps completing a 3,067 mile journey.  These last few steps marked a new Guinness record for the fastest crossing of America.  42 days, 6 hours, and 30 minutes after leaving San Francisco (on Monday, September 12th at 11:am EST), Pete arrived in NYC to hugs and cheers from his family and friends.  He also received the baton from Frank Giannino, who held the previous record (46 days, 8 hours and 36minutes).

Below are our “5 Questions”and Pete’s responses:

US24HR: What were your favorite moments from your race across America?

PK (Pete Kostelnick): “There were so many moments as I reflect on those 42 days (and 8 hours and 30 minutes), but I would have to say running thru the snow on a mountain pass in Utah; running thru Grant, Nebraska on the far west part of the state where it seemed like the whole town came out to cheer me on and run with me were highlights.  I also really enjoyed running thru my most recent residence of Lincoln, NE and thru my home town of Boone, IA.  Running with Dave McGillivray (Boston Race Director, who also made the USA crossing) on my second to last day,  finally seeing the New York City skyline as I crossed the George Washington Bridge and receiving the baton from Frank Giannino were also very special moments that I will never forget.” 

US24HR:  Was there a time that you had doubt you would be able to accomplish this goal and was there a moment when you KNEW you would accomplish it?

PK: “The only time I had any doubt was when I had to take a day off (day 7) due to some painful tendonitis in the ankle/shin area. However, looking back on that day, I was still fairly confident overall. There was one other moment at the end of day two just west of Yosemite where I was told I still had another mile or two to go up a steep road. I tossed my water bottle and was devastated for a few moments. Zandy Mangold took a photo that captured it perfectly! I did get up and finish a few more miles up the mountain.

One moment that marked my confidence that I could break the record was during my 75 miles on day 14 in eastern Utah.  It was then I was starting to finally feel “broken in” to the daily grind and routine, and that I would definitely stay on track if nothing out of the ordinary happened.”

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US24HR: Ultra running continues to grow in popularity. What advice to you have for those considering an ultra?

PK:  “For me, it’s been quantity over quality. I have seen a direct correlation in my performance with avg weekly mileage in training. It takes time to build up to without getting injured, but I always tell runners to lean towards slower and longer training sessions than faster and shorter for ultras. Also, I think it is certainly a sport that favors patience and experience. Don’t be afraid to sign up for some races that you know you won’t be fully prepared for. The experience will work wonders for your body’s ability to adapt to the mileage, and maybe most importantly, your stomach’s ability to turn over food into energy well.”

US24HR:  Was it strange waking up in NYC on Day 43 and not run 71 miles? What did you do that day?

PK: “I didn’t run at all, but somehow I did manage to work in over 10,000 steps just by going here and there. It was a pretty hectic day with five different stops for interviews and other events. But it was fun, and great to have my wife, family and close friends with me all day.”

US24HR: We HAVE to ask – what’s next? 

PK: “I’m excited about the 24 Hour World Championships in Belfast 2017.  Belfast will be the top focus of 2017. I haven’t decided yet which other races I’ll do, but likely avoid any FKT (fastest known times) attempts. It feels like full recovery for this will take lots of time, so I’ll use the winter to make sure that happens.”



Pete currently holds the top qualifying spot on the US National 24 Hour Running team with 163.68 Miles (263.418Km) at the Desert Soltstice 24 Hr Race in Phoenix, AZ on 12/20/2015.

The United States 24 Hour National Team will compete in the 2017 International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) 24 Hour World Championship under the patronage of the IAAF on July 1-2, 2017 in Belfast, Ireland. The United States will be represented by the USATF 24 Hour Team of up to six men and six women ultra marathon runners.  Qualifying will be open through Sunday, April 2, 2017 and the team will be announced on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.belfast2

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