Keith Levasseur achieved a goal many Americans set for themselves when he completed the Baltimore Marathon last Saturday. But Levasseur's run also may help him achieve another, less common goal: a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. That's because the Maryland runner's impressive long-distance feat was completed in sandals, flip flops to be exact.
Levasseur told Runner's World that his unconventional footwear made an instant impression on both his fellow racers as well as the spectators. Runners "were supportive of the effort and after a 'you're crazy' comment or two, they wished me luck," he said. "I heard a number of spectators saying, 'Hey, that's the flip flop guy!' as I passed."
His fellow runners were probably too busy watching his back to care about his footwear, however. The "flip flop guy" finished in in 2:46:58 and placed 29th overall among 3,024 finishers.
The 34 year-old former Marine almost called the whole idea off in September, after a trial run did not go well, according to blogger Miss Zippy, who is in the Howard County Striders running club with Levasseur.
"He says the shin strain was significant from having to grip the shoe and change his form," Miss Zippy wrote. "He briefly reconsidered the whole thing, but then decided to push on. After a few more runs in the four- to five-mile range, and a final 'long' run of 14 miles in the flip-flops, Keith was ready to go."
Still, Levasseur admitted that his feet were “quite sore” the day after the race, according to Runner's World. He also said his ankles and quadriceps were "more sore than usual because of his altered gait.”
Apparel company Reef is claiming that the now famous footwear worn by the "flip flop guy" were none other than Reef's "Fanning" sandals, although Levasseur has yet to confirm this.
An accomplished competitive runner in any type of shoe, Levasseur has run more than 100 races since he started focusing on the sport four years ago.
But he told Runner's World that as soon as his paperwork for "fastest marathon completed in flip flops" goes through, his "flip flop guy" persona is permanently retired.
"Many friends have asked if I'll do it again and my answer has been a resounding 'no,'" Levasseur said. "If someone breaks the record, I will simply congratulate them."