Charlie Lawrence Breaks 50-Mile World Record Averaging 3:35 Per Kilometer

Shatters Previous World Record By 107 Seconds

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In a record-setting display of speed and endurance, 28-year-old American marathoner Charlie Lawrence has set a new 50-mile world record at the 2023 Tunnel Hill 50-mile race in Vienna, Illinois. 

Lawrence’s remarkable achievement, clocking in at 4:48:21 (pending ratification), has sent shockwaves through the ultrarunning community, marking a new era in long-distance trail racing.

Lawrence’s journey to this record-breaking moment was nothing short of extraordinary. 

His meticulously executed run at an average pace of 5:46 per mile (3:35 per kilometer) showcased both strategic planning and unmatched athleticism. 

The previous record, held by Jim Walmsley at 4:50:08, was surpassed by Lawrence by an impressive 107 seconds, a testament to his dedication and training.

The Tunnel Hill 50 Mile, known for its challenging double out-and-back course on the Tunnel Hill State Trail, provided the backdrop for Lawrence’s historic run. The dirt and rail trail, certified by USA Track & Field, offered Lawrence the perfect setting to demonstrate his ultrarunning prowess.

Lawrence’s strategy was evident in his early splits, with a conservative start that gradually picked up pace. 

Passing the timing mat just after the 10-mile mark at a 5:50 per mile average pace, Lawrence steadily increased his speed. 

By the 29-mile mark, his overall pace dropped to an impressive 5:37 per mile, securing his position to break the world record. 

While the final miles saw a slight slowdown, Lawrence maintained the required pace, sealing the deal for his place in history.

In a pre-race social media post, Lawrence hinted at his ambitious goal, stating his intention to challenge the “50 Mile American Record.” True to his word, Lawrence flawlessly executed his plan, surpassing expectations and etching his name in the record books.

In an Instagram interview with semi-pro runner Michael Brandt, Lawrence reflected on his early passion for running, noting, “I knew I was a runner in first grade. I watched a state cross-country meet and told my mom and dad: ‘I want to win that, and I’m going to win that.” 

He emphasized the challenge of avoiding overtraining, highlighting the delicate balance required in his role as a professional runner.

The Tunnel Hill 50 Mile race, classified as road and trail, has a history of hosting record-breaking performances. 

Lawrence’s accomplishment adds to the legacy of this unique event, which has seen the likes of legendary ultrarunners such as Camille Herron and Zach Bitter making their mark on its challenging course.

Notably, Lawrence’s achievement was not the only record broken at the Tunnel Hill 50 Mile. 

American pro ultrarunner Polina Hodnette shattered the women’s 50-mile course record with a time of 5:54:14, ranking as the fourth fastest 50-mile time in North American history. 

The 100-mile event also witnessed a record-breaking performance by Swedish runner Elov Olsson, who won in 11:26:19, demolishing Zach Bitter’s previous course record.

As the ultrarunning community celebrates Charlie Lawrence’s exceptional feat, his record-setting run serves as inspiration for aspiring runners and a testament to the boundless possibilities within the realm of long-distance trail racing. Lawrence’s dedication and strategic approach have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the history of ultrarunning.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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