UTSA grad student with new world record has more running, records in his sights

Ben Duong, 24, is considering future records — both the personal and Guinness-type

Ben Duong set a new world record on Sunday, Feb. 19 for fastest half marathon while dribbling a ball. (San Antonio Spurs)

AUSTIN – A week after setting a new world record for completing the fastest half-marathon while dribbling a basketball, a UTSA graduate student is already making plans to set new records.

Ben Duong, 24, ran the Austin half-marathon on Feb. 18 in 1:21:39. That’s an average pace of 6:14 per mile, all while dribbling a basketball.

Some may be wondering why.

“So it really did come out of the blue,” Duong said. “Never did I ever have an intention of doing this and would have never dreamt it up.”

Then, the Spurs came calling.

“They were looking to tap into the Austin market a little more, and in general, just wanted to create some publicity/PR,” Duong said.

Duong said the Spurs first considered having a runner decked out in Spurs gear dribbling a basketball at any pace they wanted. But then they decided to try to break the world record.

“They reached out to Raw Running, an elite running group in Austin, and presented this idea,” Duong said. “The leader realized there were only maybe 4 or 5 runners in the group capable of doing this. I was one of them, and as a lifelong fan of the Spurs, I felt like, ‘How could I not do this?’”

He felt the pressure of representing the Spurs, the City of Austin and his running friends.

His first goal?

“Truthfully, my bottom line base goal was to just make sure I did not make a fool out of myself,” he said.

Duong prepared by running around his neighborhood while dribbling and got plenty of confused looks. But, he knew he had a serious goal and practiced with the mindset of trying to break the previous record of one hour and 24 minutes.

“I have been a competitive runner for the last eight years, and this past January had run a 1/2 marathon in 1 hour and 9 minutes, up in Austin at the 3M half marathon. So the running side of this was never in doubt,” Duong said. “It was just, ‘Am I coordinated enough to dribble a basketball while running at this pace.’”

Until this opportunity presented itself, Duong said he never would have dreamt of trying to break a Guinness World Record. But now that he’s set one world record, he’s thinking he may try to break more.

“In preparation for this one, when I was studying the Guinness book, there were some in there that caught my attention and that I could see myself going for,” Duong said. “This one may not be my last.”

But until then, Duong’s focus is on breaking personal running records, without a basketball.

Duong plans to lace up his running shoes for Saturday’s Diploma Dash 5K at UTSA. And he’s looking to be among the top finishers in the Run the Alamo half marathon on March 3.

“In the long run, I am hoping to qualify for some of the more competitive marathons nationwide (Boston, Chicago, California, Eugene),” Duong said.

Duong’s submission to the Guinness Book of World Records is under review and pending their official certification.

Ben Duong set a new world record on Sunday, Feb. 19 for fastest half marathon while dribbling a ball. (San Antonio Spurs)

About the Author

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

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