[Editor’s Note: This article was written by guest author Adrian Stott. Stott is an experienced ultrarunner, and current member of the British Athletics Ultra Running Advisory Group (URAG), as well as having team management roles with the British ultrarunning national teams.
Since this article was written, Jo Zakrzewski has faced disqualification from the 2023 GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool 50-mile race on April 7 for using a car for assistance. At the time of publication, her previous 48-hour world record detailed below, which is still awaiting ratification, is unaffected by this.]
The 48-hour working occasion has been getting renewed curiosity currently. The ladies’s world file, or extra precisely — greatest efficiency — has been bettered twice this yr. Britain’s Joasia “Jo” Zakrzewski recorded 411.458 kilometers/255.668 miles in Taiwan on February 12, 2023. This run, which remains to be awaiting ratification from the Worldwide Affiliation of Ultrarunners (IAU), improved the earlier file of Poland’s Patrycja Bereznowska by 8k.
Camille Herron then traveled to Australia to run within the 2023 Sri Chinmoy 48 Hour Pageant on the weekend of March 24 via 26. In 48 hours, she ran 1,088 laps of the monitor on the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, Australia, to enhance Zakrzewski’s mark by 23.8k to 435.366k/270.505 miles.
Herron’s astounding feat led me to have a look at the development of each the ladies’s and males’s 48-hour world data, and to ponder if Yiannis Kouros’s seemingly impregnable males’s 48-hour file may very well be challenged within the foreseeable future.
Development of the Girls’s 48-Hour World Document
Whereas traditionally, ladies coated 48 hours in mountaineering expeditions, the primary recorded 48-hour world file, based on the DUV web site, was set in 1979.
American Marcy Schwam was one in every of six runners and the one feminine on the 1979 David Copperfield 48-Hour Monitor Ultramarathon in Woodside, California. Schwam was one of many early American pioneers of girls’s ultrarunning and ran 220.948k (137.291 miles).
Three years later, in 1982, U.Okay.’s Anne Sayer achieved 294.114k (182.753 miles) at a 48-hour monitor race in Nottingham, England. Sayer was a outstanding woman — a world rower who took to long-distance mountaineering after which long-distance race strolling. She turned a race-walking Centurion when finishing a aggressive 100-mile stroll in The Netherlands in 1977, recording 21 hours and 45 minutes.
There was a revival of 24-hour and 48-hour monitor euvents in Europe within the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties. Sayer took half in a 48-hour monitor race the place she was the one feminine competitor. Her distance was acknowledged as a brand new world file.
Girls’s distance working was nonetheless evolving presently and in search of higher recognition. The primary worldwide marathon championships to incorporate ladies weren’t held till 1983, in Helsinki, Finland. Norway’s Grete Waitz received these, with Joan Benoit Samuelson (USA) changing into the inaugural ladies’s Olympic champion a yr later in 1984 in Los Angeles, California.
More and more too, extra ladies taking part in ultramarathons. Curiosity in 48 hours from different European runners quickly adopted as a couple of extra occasions blossomed. U.Okay. runners Eleanor Adams-Robinson and Hilary Walker had been pioneers for girls’s ultrarunning presently. They each held the ladies’s 24-hour world file at totally different occasions and Adams-Robinson famously was the outright winner of Badwater 135 Mile in 1987. Adams-Robinson additionally embraced the problem of multi-day races. She twice improved Sayer’s 48-hour world file, to take it over the 200-mile barrier to 334.030k (207.556 miles) by 1985.
The file baton handed throughout the English Channel in 1986 as French athlete Arlette Touchard added one other 13k to the file. Two years later, in 1988, Hilary Walker reclaimed the file for the U.Okay., including nearly 20k to take the file distance out to 366.512k (227.739 miles) on the Blackpool 48 Hours Monitor Race in England.
It might be 9 years till the file could be damaged once more. Individuals Susan Olsen and Sue Ellen Trapp embraced 48-hour working through the Nineties. Each athletes had steadily improved their private bests nearer to the file earlier than Trapp recorded 377.982k (234.867 miles) on the Surgères 48 Hour in France in 1977, so as to add 11k to Walker’s earlier file.
One other nine-year hole and enter the Japanese. Within the 4 years from 2006 to 2010, Sumie Inagaki, on three events, and Mami Kudo as soon as, edged the file near the 400k barrier.
Kudo, a previous IAU 24-hour world champion, pushed the mark out to 385.130k (239.308 miles) in 2009. Inagaki, one other competent 24-hour runner and two-time winner at Badwater, improved this to 397.103k (246.748 miles) on the Surgères 48 Hour in 2010. 4 hundred kilometers now appeared inevitable. Nevertheless, it was eight years later, in 2018, when it lastly occurred.
Polish athlete Patrycja Bereznowska broke the ladies’s 24-hour world file on the IAU 24-Hour World Championships in Belfast, Northern Eire, in 2017. She added the 48-hour world file to her resume on the Athens Worldwide Ultramarathon Pageant the next yr, recording 401.000k (249.169 miles). 4 years later, in her residence nation, on the UltraPark Weekend 48 Hour, she improved that by 2k to 403.320 (250.611 miles). In doing so, she turned the primary girl to cross the 250-mile barrier in a 48-hour race.
Quick ahead to February 2023. Jo Zakrzewski heads to Taiwan to participate within the 48-hour occasion.
Taiwan is to stage the IAU 24-Hour World Championships later in 2023. Zakrzewski’s fundamental goal was a strong 24-hour distance, whereas testing how she coped with the weather conditions. Having reached 24 hours and surpassed 237k, she determined to press on. She was inspired by the native assist, who satisfied her the 48-hour world file was achievable. She toughed out the second day to run 411.458k (255.688 miles), bettering Bereznowska’s distance by 8k.
Step up Camille Herron and the 2023 Sri Chinmoy 48 Hour Pageant in Australia in March 2023. Herron’s race was properly documented. She improved the file distance by a whopping 23.87k. Her 435.336k (270.505 miles) makes her the third greatest athlete, man or girl, within the 48-hour occasion. As well as, she now holds the outright American file, having additionally run additional than any U.S. males on the occasion.
Development of the Males’s 48-Hour World Document
There have been undoubtedly some 48-hour distances posted within the pedestrian period of the late 1800s. Races had been organized at distances of as much as six days. The tracks had been of various lengths. Many had been indoors and put collectively particularly for the occasions.
Within the trendy period, the primary males’s distances recorded had been at Woodside, California, in 1979. It was the identical occasion the place Marcy Schwam had set a ladies’s file. Don Choi, from San Francisco, had developed as a really competent ultrarunner and began organizing his personal occasions too. He was instrumental in organising the Woodside occasion and ran in it himself. He ran 329.167k (204.534 miles), setting a modern-day marker.
European curiosity rose. The boys’s world file for 48 hours could be bettered at least 5 occasions within the two years between April 1982 and March 1984.
The U.Okay.’s Mike Newton ran 365.623k (227.187 miles) on April 12, 1982, at Nottingham, England — the identical occasion the place Anne Sayer had elevated the ladies’s mark. Newton elevated Choi’s distance by over 35k.
Barely eight weeks later, on June 5, 1982, the French acquired in on the act. Ramon Zabalo edged the file upward by slightly below 3k and ran 368.348k (228.880 miles) at an occasion in Toulouse, France.
Zabalo’s compatriot, Jean-Gilles Boussiquet, subsequent pushed this as much as 381.600k (237.115 miles) at a six-day race organized at Montauban, France, in February 1983.
The cross-channel rivalry continued when three months later, in Could 1983, the U.Okay.’s Dave Dowdle was on the beginning line at a 48-hour race in Gloucester, England. Dowdle had set a brand new males’s 24-hour world file on the similar Gloucester monitor 12 months earlier. Forty-eight hours later, he was the proud proprietor of the 48-hour world file, having pushed Boussiquet’s mark up one other 2.5k to 384.050k (238.637 miles).
The next March 1984, Zabalo, clearly placing to good use classes discovered in his earlier file, improved the gap by a a lot bigger margin. He added over 35k, changing into the primary runner to surpass 400k, in recording 420.000k (260.975 miles). This mark had the potential to final a couple of years.
However nobody was but looking on the abilities of a sure Greek runner, Yiannis Kouros.
Within the first week of July 1984, barely 4 months after Zabalo set that 420k, Kouros — with Zabalo, Don Choi, and present ladies’s 48-hour world file holder Eleanor Adams-Robinson within the subject, took half in a six-day race in New York.
Kouros, together with his trademark dedication to entrance working, reached 48 hours with a distance of 429.014k (266.516 miles), an enchancment on Zabalo’s March distance by 9k.
Whereas mere mortals would have been pleased with that and pulled up, Kouros continued for the entire six days, setting a modern-day six-day world file of 1,003.556k (623.581 miles).
Kouros might run comfy and get well shortly, at any distance from 24 hours upward. It resulted in him setting, and nonetheless holding, the six greatest 48-hour distances of all time. He additionally broke the world file on three of these events.
He elevated it by 23k to 452.270k (281.027 miles) on March 17, 1995 in Montauban, France. Then, lower than eight weeks later, on the Surgères, France, occasion, he added one other 18k when working 470.781k (292.529 miles).
The next yr, 1996, he once more improved it by a extra modest 2.7k to 473.495k (294.216 miles), the present males’s 48-hour world file.
The Way forward for the 48-Hour World Document
Leaving apart that Kouros has the very best six 48-hour distances ever, solely he and the Ukrainian Andrii Tkachuk, together with his 435.446k, have run additional than Camille Herron’s current mark of 435.366k.
Sure, you figured that out! Herron was lower than 100 meters behind Tkachuk in being the second total human at 48 hours behind Kouros.
The power of girls in lots of endurance occasions to excel because the problem will get longer has been properly documented. Herron’s 48-hour file is one more illustration of that.
Aside from Kouros, has any male runner actually tried to push the boundaries of what’s achievable at 48 hours to a twenty first century check?
Trying forward, what’s going to the longer term maintain? It is going to take a particular athlete to problem Kouros’s mark. And Herron has actually not dominated out the opportunity of making an attempt to enhance her distance sooner or later.
She commented after the race, “I’ve already began analyzing my race to determine how I can go additional.”
There may be additionally the intriguing risk that the current curiosity generated within the 48-hour occasion on the ladies’s facet will encourage somebody to deal with the boys’s file held by Kouros.
Kouros made each the 24-hour and 48-hour occasions his personal within the Eighties and Nineties.
His 48-hour world file, ultrarunning analysts say, appears to be like nearly unassailable.
The American marathon legend Invoice Rodgers as soon as commented: “My file will go, and that will probably be good. I prefer to see data damaged. That’s what working is all about.”
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