On Friday, April 8, Oz Pearlman — also known as Oz the Mentalist — took to the Central Park loop with two goals in mind: to raise money to support the people of Ukraine and to break the record for Fastest Known Time running the loop. He achieved both goals.
Oz may sound familiar to you, and with good reason. He is an accomplished magician and mentalist, finishing in third place on America’s Got Talent in 2015, and he’s been featured on Today, Ellen and Live with Kelly and Ryan.
The previous record for the most Central Park loops completed in a single day was set on March 20, 2021 by Robbie Balenger, who completed 16 laps (98 miles) in a little over 18 hours. Each loop’s distance is 6.1 miles, with the official challenge starting at 6:05am and ending at 12:55am the following morning. Pearlman began his race at 6:05am in the middle of the East Drive wearing Ukraine’s national colors of blue and yellow.
Pearlman is no stranger to the marathon scene. He won the New Jersey Marathon four times and the Hamptons marathon three times. During his run in Central Park, he answered questions from Instagram followers as he completed each loop. One inquired about his background in magic, asking “Does running help your mentalism?” He replied “Mentalism helps my running. If I can get inside your brain, I can get inside my own brain when I’m suffering, dig deep and keep running.”
Reminiscent of the famous scene in Forrest Gump, many runners just happened to meet Oz on his journey and joined him. In total, about 40 runners joined him throughout the day.
At 9:15pm he finished his seventeenth lap, having broken Balenger’s record and surpassing his fundraising goal, with over $100,000 raised to help children displaced in Ukraine. He continued on, running a total of 19 loops, or 116 miles, just before midnight on Friday.