Toronto Punk Surpasses World Record for Marathons

Ben Pobjoy played in the bands Spread the Disease and the Abandoned Hearts, as well as managing Single Mothers

Photo courtesy of Ben Pobjoy

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jan 5, 2024

A longtime member of Toronto's punk music scene appears to have broken the world record for marathons, as he completed a reported 242 marathons across nearly 70 countries in 2023.

Ben Pobjoy, who comes from Mississauga, ON, played in local punk bands in the late '90s and early '00s, including Spread the Disease (whose 1998 album We Bleed from Many Wounds was reissued in recent years) and the Abandoned Hearts Club.

He also co-founded the record label Hot Charity Records, which was distributed through XL Recordings and released music from Willis Earl Beal, RATKING and Single Mothers. Pobjoy also managed Single Mothers.

He's no longer involved in the music business, but he told Exclaim! in an email, "I think Drew Thomson (from Single Mothers) remains one of the best punk poets on the planet, and I continue to love everything he does because he's a brilliant lyricist." He also cited Evan Redsky and Spiritual Cramp as personal favourites, and added that he is "old and boring, and entering my Zach Bryan years."

Pobjoy is also a photographer who has shot many bands, and he's credited as a producer on Gil Scott-Heron's 2011 video for "I'll Take Care of You."

Pobjoy announced at the beginning of 2023 that he was aiming to break a world record to become the man who had completed the most marathons within a year. His "Marathon Earth Challenge" was successful, as he beat the previous record of 239 by completing 242.

He told Exclaim! that he has "technically 'surpassed' a record," but only submitted his application to Guinness World Records on Wednesday (January 3). Certification can take up to 12 weeks, so he's refraining from saying he has "broken" a record until then.

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