Rob Holcomb, 35, is running as fast as he can down the track at Tampa’s Coleman Middle School. He’s pushing his daughter, Greta, in stroller, but he’s staring at the large clock that’s 100 meters ahead of him.
He sees the time, and he knows he’s going to make it. He’s going to set the world record for fastest mile while pushing someone in a stroller.
He pumps his fist as he crosses the finish line, and his family and friends cheer him on. The clock says 4:53.
“Third time’s a charm, as they say,” Holcomb breathlessly exclaims moments after finishing. His two previous attempts came up short. Very short.
The previous record was 4:57:10. He tried the first attempt in December and again earlier in January.
“Half second the first time. Six tenths of a second this time, so a half second both times,” Holcomb said.
He’d only missed the record by a half second. This time he smashed the record beating it by nearly four seconds.
The elements were stacked against him in the first two attempts with strong winds, but the cloudy, chilly morning of January 23, 2022 proved to be ideal racing conditions.
For a world record like this, there are specific rules that must be followed for it to count.
“There has to be a human being inside the stroller,” Holcomb explained. “All the wheels have to remain on the ground at all times. I have to have someone recording it making sure that the attempt is a full mile, not 1600 meters of the track.”
Holcomb knows he better watch his back. He only recently found out about this particular record because a friend of his is also trying to beat it.
“He ran a 5.03, and I said okay, he didn’t get it,” Holcomb said. “Now I gotta jump on board before he does get it, so you might see a little friendly competition going on.”
For now though, it’s Holcomb’s name on the record, and he’ll start to prepare for the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic races Feb. 26 and 27. He is deciding between the 15K and the half marathon distances, and he’s hoping to finish near the top and bring home some local prize money offered by the race.
The Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic offers four different race distances. The 15K (9.3 miles) and 5K (3.1 miles) is on Saturday February 26 along Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. The half marathon (13.1 miles) and the 8K (4.9 miles) is Sunday, Feb. 27.