In the latest episode of the age-old man versus machine battle, a marathon runner has outlasted a fully charged Tesla Model 3 RWD.
Robbie Balenger, who describes himself as a plant-based ultra runner, beat the distance covered by the fully charged electric vehicle by 100 feet (30.5 meters).
Modeled after man vs. horse marathons of the past in which human racers attempt to run longer distances than horses across the same terrain, the first-of-its-kind endurance race between man and electric car began at the same time and the same starting point approximately 250 miles outside of Austin, Texas.
The Tesla was driven at a median speed of 65 mph until its fully charged battery dried out, covering 242 miles in the process. Balenger followed the exact same route as the Tesla and was able to cover 100 feet more in 76 hours 54 minutes and 46 seconds.
Why race the Tesla Model 3 and not any other vehicle? The ultramarathoner says the EV maker is "the most disruptive and exciting thing to happen to transportation since the first horse was broken," making it the best opponent for a modern take on the man vs. horse race.
Initially, Balenger estimated he could beat the Tesla's distance in 72 hours, with 24 hours being a respectable time for finishing a 100-mile race in the ultra community.
"However, three straight days of unrelenting 90+ degree weather killed that plan. In the end, I was able to out-distance the Tesla in just shy of 77 hours. It was absolutely brutal, but we got it done."
Gallery: Ultramarathon runner beats Tesla Model 3 in first-of-a-kind endurance race
Mind you, that doesn't mean Balenger ran for 77 hours without taking breaks. He ran for three straight days but made short stops for sleeping, eating, brushing teeth, changing clothes, and so on. In total, he spent 8.5 hours of the almost 77 hours not running—check out the videos below for more details.
Does this human victory over the popular electric vehicle prove anything? Not much, other than the fact that Balenger is a great ultramarathon runner. For example, based on information in the press release, we calculated that the Tesla Model 3 covered 242 miles in about 3 hours and 42 minutes, so if time mattered the most, the EV would win this by a large margin. Also, the Tesla would need no breaks to cover that distance.
Furthermore, if the Tesla had run at a much lower average speed than 65 mph, it would have covered a much longer distance that Balenger probably would have find difficult to beat.
But that's just splitting hairs; in the end, what matters is that he accomplished his goal and can now brag about having a longer range than a Tesla Model 3 RWD, sort of. He's also hoping that his feat will become an inspiration to other people.
"Outlasting a Tesla has been the longest single effort I have undertaken to date. 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."
The unusual race was sponsored by NYC-based men's activewear label Ten Thousand, as part of the company's ongoing Feats of Strength series in which a different athlete attempts a new record breaking feat every month.