That man is ultra-athlete Robbie Balenger, who has made a name for himself for doing this kind of mammoth challenges in order to push himself and, at the same time, spread awareness on the benefits of a plant-based diet. He chose a Tesla out of respect for what the company has done so far in terms of pushing for a wider adoption of EVs. As he says in a new statement, this was a tribute, not exactly a race – and it was inspired by the old tradition of man vs horse endurance marathons.
“For many, myself included, Tesla is the most disruptive and exciting thing to happen to transportation since the first horse was broken – so what better opponent for a modern take on the man vs. horse race?” Balenger explains. Indeed.
For the first of its kind event, both the Model 3 and Balenger started out from the same point, 250 miles (402 km) outside of Austin, Texas, the Tesla with a fully charged battery, and Balenger with his usual determination to see this through. The Tesla was driven at 65 mph (104.6 kph) until it ran out of battery, for 242 miles (349 km). Balenger set out second and followed the same route, and was able to beat Tesla’s distance by 100 feet, in nearly 77 hours – 76 hours and 54 minutes, to be more precise.
Balenger and his team, along with organizer Ten Thousand, were hoping the feat could be achieved in 72 hours, but the extreme heat was a factor that derailed the initial plan. Just to be clear, Balenger spent most of the 77 hours running, taking very short breaks for sleeping and rest, and changing clothes. All breaks totaled 8.5 hours.
“It was absolutely brutal, but we got it done,” Balenger says. “Brutal” feels like an understatement.