A new Guinness World Record attempt—the fastest 10-kilometer run on sand—was witnessed and verified by Matthew Cope, the United States Sports Academy’s director of operations.

Cope was asked to help assist in certifying the inaugural event for Guinness because his role at the Academy requires him to help put on large scale sports and other events at the university.

Matthew Cope, the United States Sports Academy’s director of operations, poses with Marie Bader, who went home with the Guinness World Record for the "Fastest 10KM Run On Sand"

“It was a great event and well run,” Cope said. “The runners thoroughly enjoyed themselves, even though some said afterwards that they would rather run 10 miles on asphalt than two miles in the beach sand.”

Marie Bader, a 26-year-old from Mobile who teaches and coaches cross country at McGill-Toolen, was the first individual runner across the finish line in 55 minutes, 1 second. She came in 2:49 ahead of the 18 other individual runners.

The race started at Gulf State Park’s Cotton Bayou Beach Complex in Orange Beach, Ala., and ended just east of the main public beach in Gulf Shores, Ala. The entire course followed the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico.

“It was incredibly hard,” Bader said in an interview with al.com. “A couple of times I was just, ‘I give up.’ I felt like I was stuck in there.”

The Guinness World Record beach race was the brainchild of Joe Moore, who organized the so-called “The World-Beater All-Beach 10K.”

“We wanted to go ahead and do this, get it established and, hopefully, in the not-too-distant future have another one here and maybe even have a challenge between here and somewhere else,” Moore told al.com.