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man riding a bicycle while another man is running alongside him

How Sergio Florian set a record and built community during the pandemic

Team OS1st member and physical therapist, Sergio Florian, set the record for running the perimeter of his home island of Oahu, Hawaii. He ran the island in 27 hours and 15 minutes beating the previous record of 32 hours, 55 minutes, and 33 seconds. His motivation? Challenge himself and inspire his patients.

We asked Sergio a few questions about his training and how his community rallied around him during the record-setting run.

OS1st: How do you decide to pursue an FKT?

Sergio: The wheels were set in motion three months before the attempt. I needed a challenge. Due to the pandemic, there were no races or endurance events going on at all, and I had just caught wind of Jeremy Killeen getting the record for the perimeter run. It had been on my mind before but not necessarily to set the record. I mentioned it to my coach who told me I had the ability to do a sub-24! I couldn’t believe him. But I wanted to challenge myself. So, I made the challenge official by announcing it on Strava and social media to add a little pressure to myself. I didn’t imagine the media coverage or community involvement that would come.  

OS1st: How to you train for an FKT?

Sergio: The preparation for this run was guided by my friend and coach Victor. I hire a coach not only because I want to get the most out of the time I invest in training, but because it helps keep the rest of my life be organized. Always having a plan is key.

One would think that long runs would the main form of training for this run. But this was quite to opposite. Instead, we focused on speed! Running 200’s, 400’s, 800’s and mile repeats, simulated the fatigue I would feel on the legs. After speed work I could run easy. My longest and only long training run was 40 miles of the course. I practiced everything exactly how I would do it on the day and came out with a lot of confidence. I was able to run 6 hours, 40 miles at a 9:00 pace with heart rate at 128. I was blown away! This gave me confidence to go for it! 

Note: All of Sergio’s workouts and notes, as well as pictures are noted on his Strava account 

Sergio Florian

OS1st: What is the mental strain of attempting an FKT?

Sergio: A client asked me if I wanted media coverage. So I saw this as an opportunity to push my clients and gain attention for my clinic. The reporter caught wind that I wanted to not only beat the record but do it in 24 hours! The media loved that! All this brought extra pressure on me. I received a lot of messages saying, “you got this!” But I honestly had my doubts. As I was running, I kept thinking, “how am I going to keep doing this?” I was already having leg pains starting from the first marathon! What made the difference was the people. The news covered the story live and sent a live tracker. This brought the entire island out to cheer for us. This gave us a massive mental boost to me and my pacers. Even the fire fighters lit the road for us in a dark road section.

OS1st: What was it like having the entire island cheering for you?

Sergio: People came out because they were impressed to see someone do this. But most importantly it lit a fire of inspiration for people. It showed a lot of people that hey, if this guy is doing this madness, I can surely go do something more on my own scale. I’ve had so many messages from people who decided to start being active after watching this unfold. Perhaps the whole island was inspired, I hope so! Regardless, it was an amazing experience I will never forget! 

Children holding up "movement is life" banner

The realization of what was accomplished is slowly staring to settle in. I get teary remembering moments of the event. Nothing but love and positivity has been projected towards me. The spirit of Aloha is alive and well with our community. I feel so great full to everyone that helped me and I want to make sure I never forget. None of this would have been possible without my Ohana. My island family! Nothing but love!  

OS1st: Tell us about the motto you had during the attempt, “movement is life.” What does that mean?

Sergio: Movement is at the core of our existence. Our bodies never seize to move. Our vital organs are made to be in constant motion, even when we sleep. Therefore, I believe that for us to be healthy and thrive, movement needs to be a lifestyle! It must be at the core of our existence. Our lives need to revolve around movement. And I’m not just talking about going to a gym and “exercising.” I’m talking about doing things in everyday life like, walking, hiking, swim, or whatever sport you like to do, but doing it outside with loved ones. I’m talking about planning life, not around social gathering to eat for example, but social gatherings to move together! That is a beautiful thing. It brings us together also. Movement heals, movement is life!