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  1. ITV Report

World record bidder's gruelling seven-day treadmill run ruled invalid - because her boyfriend counted the 521 miles

Amy Hughes experienced extreme emotions in the high-profile world record attempt. Credit: Amy Hughes/Jay Cain
  • By David Williams, ITV News

An endurance runner who spent seven days on a treadmill in a world record attempt has told ITV News she is "devastated" and "angry" to learn it has been ruled invalid 10 months later - because her boyfriend measured the distance.

Amy Hughes ran the equivalent of 21 marathons for charity in front of crowds and TV cameras in front of sponsorship boards at Manchester's Trafford Centre across the first week of September last year.

A petition has been launched to see the 521 miles she logged officially recognised as the new global treadmill record, which officially stands at 517 miles.

The 29-year-old, whose previous epic efforts included running 53 road marathons in 53 days, told ITV News the indoor challenge was "100 times harder than I ever imagined".

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  • 'Devastated, just devastated' - Amy shares her reaction to record decision

"After two days I couldn't speak," she said. "I literally looked like I was dying. I lost two stone across the week."

Amy was spurred on by continuous support that saw the public invited to run alongside her on adjacent treadmills.

The Cheshire runner said the hardest part of the challenge was sleep deprivation, napping for "two to three hours" a night while her only daytime breaks were "for massages" and "to use the toilet".

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"I had one shower in the whole week, I was eating on the treadmill," she said, vowing: "Never ever again."

She finally learned her exhaustive efforts would not be officially recognised via a Guinness World Records email on Wednesday.

Amy said she had been "particularly careful" to record the attempt in line with Guinness guidelines, including filming with two cameras while livestreaming the attempt on YouTube and supplying witness statements from her PR assistant and a physio.

Welsh rugby star Mike Phillips was among those offering Amy Hughes support. Credit: Amy Hughes

A Guinness World Records spokesperson told ITV News: "We are not disputing that Amy ran for one week - this is absolute clear to see from her evidence. It is the recording of how far she ran which we cannot accept."

He said the record judges "did not want to reject this application", which was reviewed by senior management who "all reached the same conclusion" it could not be accepted as Amy's partner Dave Keighley had logged the miles across the week as she ran.

On the grounds for turning it down, the GWR spokesperson said: "To clarify, the attempt has not been deemed invalid due to lack of witnesses, rather the lack of impartiality of the witness who took the recording of the distance she covered.

"It is vital for the integrity of all of our records to ensure the requisite witnesses are completely independent from the person attempting the record."

Amy said sleep deprivation was the hardest part of the challenge. Credit: Amy Hughes

Amy was running for the 53 Foundation, which includes Paralympian Hannah Cockroft as an ambassador, that she co-founded with Dave to give active opportunities for people with disabilities.

The former personal trainer said she "hated" running at school and only took it up at 18 as she was "too embarrassed" to go to the gym.

She said she hoped her super-human efforts would inspire young people and "young women in particular" to get active and seek out challenges.

Amy, who said she would appeal the invalid ruling if possible, said she was "overwhelmed" by support which has seen more than 1,000 people sign the online petition set up by one of the runner's Twitter followers to "Award Amy Hughes her rightful place in the Guiness (sic) World Records".

The explanation Guinness World Records gave Amy Hughes for its ruling. Credit: Amy Hughes/Guinness World Records

Regarding Amy's attempt to challenge the decision, the GWR spokesperson said: "We do not have an appeals process as such but we are more than willing to engage in dialogue via our online system with any applicant who wishes to question our decision."

He added: "Guinness World Records wishes every applicant the very best of luck in being successful, especially for a record which required so much dedication.

"But our rules, stated in every guideline pack issued prior to an attempt, have to be adhered to for us to approve a record."