There are many types of speed runs out there with the general consensus being that a short playtime is all that matters, but these usually involve liberal use of glitches to skip past sections. Dark Souls 2 speed runner Corey "Allakazzaror" Coolidge took a decidedly more noble path in his record-breaking speed run that completes From's sequel in under an hour without the use of a single glitch.
Coming in at 59.15, Coolidge may not best every boss, but every strategy he uses is baked into the developer's intentional design. Some may wonder why he's repeatedly fighting the same boss multiple times, and that's due to a secret shortcut that can be opened up by acquiring a cumulative one million souls throughout a single playthrough. Otherwise you need to claim the souls of multiple high-level bosses, and well, this was quicker.
Despite this record-breaking run, it didn't go off without a hitch. At one point Coolidge even died, setting him back somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 seconds. That's a lot in speed runner time. "I was torn on whether or not to reset," lamented Coolidge in his Reddit notes on the run. "In hindsight, I'm very glad that I didn't."
Dark Souls 2 has many different types of speed runs, partially because at launch the game contained a glitch that allowed people to skip to its third act after a series of jumps on scenery not meant to be scaled. This shortcut was later patched, but one could always play the disc version without an update to access it. To keep track of all the different types of speed runs (any per cent, glitchless, all bosses, and any combination of the above), check out this Reddit thread dedicated to archiving these.
For more on Allakazzaror's difficult to follow strategy, he's released some notes on his route should any brave soul attempt to follow in his footsteps.