In what has been described as a modern Man versus Horse Marathon, vegan ultra-endurance runner Robbie Balenger is set to take on his latest mammoth athletic challenge.
Today, Balenger will go head-to-head with a Tesla Model 3 in an attempt to outrun the vehicle’s expected range of 267 miles with a time cap of 72 hours.
Both Balenger and the Tesla will start at the same point, at around 250 miles outside of Austin, TX.
The Tesla will take off with 100 percent charge and will be driven until it runs out of charge. Then Balenger will have 72 hours to beat that distance, following the very same route.
Up against extreme conditions
The plant-based athlete is not only going to have a Model 3 to compete with, but also the arid heat conditions, rolling hills, and fluctuating weather that Central Texas has to offer – and possibly a number of rattlesnakes too.
Typically, 100-mile races are completed within the space of 24 hours. Balenger’s challenge multiplies this by almost threefold, and after factoring in breaks, sleep, and the ticking clock, the race inevitably becomes more difficult.
In a recent press release, Balenger shared, “As a plant-based athlete, I have two key considerations when it comes to my diet: environmentalism and performance – and Tesla excels at both. Outlasting a Tesla will be the longest single effort I have undertaken. This excites me and terrifies me all at the same time, meaning I must be onto something good.”
Fueled by plants
Balenger is no stranger to pushing his body to the limits by taking on grueling endurance challenges. In 2019, he ran 3,175 miles across the states in just 75 days to promote the benefits of a plant-based diet.
“My goal is to inspire people all across this country to start paying more attention to what they put inside of their bodies, and to be an example of someone who has made a radical change and feels better for it,” the athlete said.
‘My hope is that this feat inspires others’
Balenger has even broken the record for the most laps run around New York’s Central Park in one day. There, he ran 16 full loops in 18 hours and 7 minutes, breaking the previous record of 11 loops.
“My hope is that this feat inspires others to leave their comfort zones and embrace innovation, be it by challenging their perceptions of their own physical limits, or making lifestyle changes that can have a positive effect on the planet,” Balenger explained.