Canadian ultrarunner Viktoria Brown recently set the Canadian W45 100-mile record, posting a time of 15:24:23 at a 24-hour race in North Carolina. This is the third ultrarunning record for Brown, who lives and trains in Whitby, Ont., and it beat the previous Canadian best by 14 minutes. She stopped after hitting the 100-mile mark, a distance that was good enough for 11th overall in the 24-hour event.
Brown only started running ultras in September 2020, but she already has three records to her name. Her first came in her ultra debut, when she ran to the women’s 24-hour Canadian soil record at That Dam Hill in London, Ont. Despite never having run an ultramarathon before, Brown excelled, running 213.8K in 24 hours and beating the previous record (which had stood for 36 years) of 210K.
After her performance in London, Brown was invited to run in Kelowna, B.C., in October as a member of the Canadian team at Big’s Backyard Ultra. Again, although she was still so new to the sport, she ran extremely well, completing 34 laps and stopping after 228K. Next up was a 48-hour race in Duncan, B.C., in November, and Brown set another record, beating the previous Canadian 48-hour best by more than 6K with her two-day total of 324K.
Given her previous results in ultras, it shouldn’t have come as any surprise when Brown beat yet another record, this time at the Alexander County 24-Hour race in the U.S. After the race, Brown said she stopped short of the 24-hour cutoff because she didn’t want to push her body too far, as she is training for the Six Days in the Dome race, which will be held in Wisconsin in June. Stopping after just 15 hours meant Brown could dedicate less time to recovering after the race and more time to training.
“I learned what I needed to learn from this one,” she said, referring specifically to a recent asthma diagnosis. After learning that she has asthma, Brown realized she needed to figure out how to race without making the problem worse. Seeing as she set a Canadian record, it’s safe to assume she worked things out on the race course.
As Brown noted on Instagram after the race, she was on pace to break the open Canadian women’s 100-mile record (which belongs to Michelle Leduc at 15:19:45) for most of the race, but she slowed too much in the final kilometres and had to settle for the W45 age group best (a time of 15:38:18 that Bernadette Benson ran in 2014) instead.
While she was disappointed with missing the Canadian record, Brown said she isn’t too upset, and her focus is now set on the Six Days in the Dome. If she wants to break the national six-day best at this event, she will have to run farther than Charlotte Vasarhelyi‘s 2014 record of 734.225K. To run the W45 best, Brown will need to better Kimberley Van Delst‘s record of 547.177K, which she ran in 2017.