Controversy surrounds Kelty-sponsored athlete Tony Stafford

Stafford’s record time for carrying a 40-pound pack in the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon disputed by race organizers

BOULDER, COLO. (April 6, 2011) – On March 27, Kelty-sponsored endurance athlete Tony Stafford successfully beat the standing world record for running a marathon while carrying a 40-pound pack in the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon, but his accomplishment is in dispute due to two post-race technicalities brought up by race organizer White Sands Missile Range.

After months of communication with the White Sands Missile Range, Stafford’s record time will not be certified by race organizers and will therefore not be recognized by USA Track & Field (USATF) or the Guinness Book of World Records. The race organizer’s dispute centers on the use of a combination pack and vest and the non-USATF-certified status of the marathon course, both issues disclosed after the race was completed.

“It’s unfortunate that after months of training, communication with race officials, and a successful run that put me nearly an hour ahead of the standing record, my time will not be recognized,” said Stafford. Not one to be easily discouraged, Stafford added, “I plan on making another attempt this fall at the Chicago Marathon or the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC and will work more closely with race organizers to prevent this from happening again.”

Kelty worked with Stafford to customize and fit the 40-pound Peregrine backpack and vest combination that was weighed before the race began. Rules prohibiting the use of a combination pack and vest are nowhere to be found in any race literature.

The world record stands at 4hr 42min 44sec and was set in 1991 during the London Marathon. With a verified time of 3hr 56min 38sec, Stafford has surpassed this mark on a hilly, sandy course and hopes to widen that margin on either Chicago or DC’s flat, paved course.

Stafford’s attempt to become a world record holder also served to benefit Outdoor Mindset, a Boulder, Colo.-based non-profit working to unite and inspire those facing neurological challenges.

Adding to the excitement surrounding Stafford’s world record aspirations are two additional marathoners with a similar goal. Runners Tim Artus and Lee Riley will also attempt to break the current record by running the London Marathon carrying 40-pound packs on April 17, 2011, three weeks after Stafford’s contested attempt.

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