had tried twice before in 2017, but Camille Herron still hadn’t finished a
100-mile (161km) race until Saturday.
She not only placed first at the Tunnel
Hill 100, but also set a world record in the process.
in 12:42:39, averaging 4:45 per kilometre, Herron, 35, crossed the finish line
before any of her male competitors at the Vienna, Illinois, race.
also set the fastest known time for men and women on the USA Track &
Field-certified course. The previous 100-mile women’s world record belonged to
Gina Slaby and was set at the 2016 Desert Solstice track race in 13:45:49.
for fuelling, Herron dutifully ingested two gels per hour and sipped on her
sports drink throughout the race. But after so many hours of sugar, she decided
to get creative during the last 32km.
drank a beer and a half and it helped settle my gut,” she said. “I think you
gotta treat yourself at some point.”
was less than two weeks ago that Herron decided to run Tunnel Hill.
a certified course in the trail-racing world is rare, and the opportunity
seemed too good to pass up. But in order for her record to be ratified, Herron
also needed to have a US Anti-Doping Agency official there for drug testing,
several additional timing mats set out on the course and additional official
hand timers present.
rest was up to Herron and her strategy.
do a lot of progression runs with a heart rate monitor in training, so I
decided to focus on my easy long-run effort, which is about 75% of my max heart
rate,” Herron said. “That usually is about the right pace.”
who lives in Oklahoma City and works part-time as a research assistant in
osteoimmunology at the University of Oklahoma, won the 2017 Comrades Marathon in
originally set a goal to also win the Western States Endurance Run just
days after Comrades to become the first woman to claim the double victory since
ultrarunning legend Ann Trason did so in 1997. Unfortunately, Herron was forced
to drop out.
was a lot of snow in the first 24km of Western States this year… I slid down an
embankment into a tree and had a concussion,” Herron said. “I kept falling,
then started having pain and paralysis in my hands, pain in my head and neck.
It was not a good state to be in just 8km into the race – it was pretty
went for another 100-mile finish at the Leadville Trail 100 later in the summer
but suffered a hip injury about 64km into the race. The Tunnel Hill event was
her last-ditch effort to conquer the distance before the year was up.
really wanted to get redemption pretty much all year,” Herron said. “There have
been so many accidents and injuries.”
next for the ultrarunner, who also holds the Guinness World Record for the
fastest marathon dressed as a superhero (2:48:51 as Spider Man at the 2012
Route 66 Marathon)?
record attempts at the ultra distances – and a dedication to having a good time
while doing so.
“I think I have to give credit to my teammates [over the years]
for showing me what is possible,” she said. “We’ve all been bitten by that
running bug – we all like to run a lot and just do crazy things. For me, it’s
fun. It’s just fun.”
This article was originally featured on www.runnersworld.co.za
Image credit: iStock