Bev Anderson-Abbs, the former Canadian 100K team member who is originally from Calgary but lives in Sacramento, set out to run Saturday’s Jed Smith 50-Mile slowly as a tuneup race for the new Heart of the South (HOTS) ultra this summer. But it “turns out I don’t know what that means,” she said on Facebook after the race. Anderson-Abbs ended up breaking the Canadian and American records for women 55 to 59 with her 6:31:35 finish. (This is the course that Jim Walmsley set the 50-mile world record on in 2019.) Results are unofficial.
Her time this weekend was 35 minutes faster than she ran it last year (when she was still 54), an hour and 13 minutes faster than the American W55 record set by Mary Ann Miller in 1993 and an hour and 21 minutes faster than the Canadian W55 record set by Barbara McLeod in 1992. (Anderson-Abbs also holds the Canadian W45 and W50 records at the distance, as well as the Canadian W40, W45 and W50 records in the 50K and the 50-59 age group course record in the 50K at the Jed Smith.)
“The wheels got a little wobbly on the last two laps, but they never fell off completely,” she posted. She told us about a situation that might seriously throw off a race for most runners: “…it almost fell apart on the first lap when a man let his dog off leash and the dog plowed into my legs. I went sprawling, thankfully on the dirt trail portion of the course, but my hip locked up a bit. Things sorted out after a couple miles and I was able to keep my pace.”
She goes on to comment that she likes the course at Jed Smith, which consists of 10 loops of a 4.9-mile (7.9K) loop (in addition to a shorter loop at the start of the race). “Jed Smith is kind of a fun course as it is short enough that you can think about lap pacing, but long enough, at five miles, that you don’t get bored,” says Anderson-Abbs.
Running with her husband, Alan Abbs, Anderson-Abbs broke the women’s course record at Last Annual Vol State in 2019.
Anderson-Abbs is also the last woman to complete a ‘fun run’ at the Barkley Marathons (three loops in under 40 hours), in 2013.
HOTS, which Anderson-Abbs will race in June, was created by race director Laz Lake after the UltraSignup site was mobbed with runners clamouring to register for Vol State 2020.
She’ll be racing the Hypothermic Half in Calgary on February 8.