400 Pound Sumo Wrestler Attempts To Set World Record In LA Marathon

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — When the L.A. Marathon takes place Sunday, one of the runners will attempt to set the record for the heaviest person ever to complete a marathon.

Kelly Gneiting of Fort Defiance, Arizona, weighs about 400 pounds.

“I am a sumo wrestler and I’ve represented the United States for the last seven years at the World Sumo Championships or World Games,” he said at a news conference Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

“I don’t think anyone has used the word `marathon’ and `sumo’ in the same sentence,” he said. “I like the aspect of the two opposite-spectrum sports — sumo and marathon running — coming together, and I love a challenge.”

“If anyone would sponsor me, I’d love to swim the English Channel at 400 pounds. I love the thought of 400 pounds and showcasing what a 400-pound person can do. A lot of America is overweight. Just because you are overweight, you don’t need to let that stop you from accomplishing anything. A little piece of that will be shown tomorrow when I complete the marathon.”

Gneiting, who weighed in during the news conference at 400.8 pounds, will try to set a Guinness World Record for the heaviest person to ever complete a marathon — the current record is 275 pounds.

Gneiting completed the 2008 marathon in 11 hours, 52 minutes, 11 seconds, but was not credited with the record because he did not follow the Guinness requirements that he be weighed immediately before and after the race, and that the entire race be filmed.

The three-time United States sumo champion said he trains everyday, with a six-mile jog on Saturdays, in addition to walking a mile-and-a-half each way to his job as a statistician at the Fort Defiance Indian Hospital.

The 40-year-old Gneiting said he expects to complete the race in nine to 11 hours, jogging about half the 26-mile, 385-yard course and walking the rest of the way.

Gneiting said he is confident he can finish the race because he finished the 2008 Los Angeles race.

“It was the hardest day of my life,” he said. “It was hell. I had blisters all over my feet. I wondered if my pinkie toes were going to fall off, on and on. I finished it. That was the big thing. I trained about four days a week for about 3-4 months last time. I drove a semi-truck, which is not exactly a fitness job.”

He said that this time he trained six days a week instead of four.

“This time I’ve done everything I can to prepare for this marathon and stay in my sumo shape,” he said. “I’ve dropped 25 pounds from three years ago and so this is automatic for me. I will complete this marathon.”

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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