Whitby, Ont.’s Viktoria Brown has conquered the multi-day racing scene, and she just keeps getting better. Brown ran a whopping 747 kilometres at the EMU 6-day Race in Hungary, besting her previous Canadian 6-day record of 736 km. Runners competed on an 898.88 metre-long certified road loop that was 100 per cent asphalt.
Brown is well-known for her many multi-day records, and for recently competing at Badwater 135, the scorching ultra in Death Valley, Calif., where she finished fourth.
She holds the 48h Canadian record (363 km), and the 72-hour Canadian record (471 km), and was the owner of the 72h WR, recently bested by Danish athlete Stine Rex. She entered EMU having trained minimally, and became ill with salmonella poisoning partway through the event.”My goal at this race was to hit 800 kilometres,” Brown told Canadian Running.
“Only three women have ever done that, and I believe that without the salmonella poisoning, I would have hit it,” she said. “I only ran 56 km on day five, while I ran 110+ km on all other days, including 151 km on day six.”
Ultras are often a test in troubleshooting, and this is only magnified by multi-day racing.”Vomiting started at noon on Monday (the start of day five) and went on all day until I went down for sleep around 10 pm,” Brown said. “I got up at 3:30 am, was back on the course at 4 a.m., and ran straight until the race ended, 32 hours later.” Brown says she was extremely lucky to have a medical doctor on her crew, whom she credits with bringing her back from illness.
To combat the salmonella, Brown slept for six and a half hours to reset her body.”I wasn’t throwing up anymore, although my body was completely empty and I still had diarrhea,” she said. “But that meant that five-10 per cent of the intake was absorbed, so we could slowly start to refuel.” Brown had to walk until late afternoon on Tuesday, both because her body was recovering and due to intense heat during the daytime.”By late afternoon I was able to start jogging, then running, and then even running relatively fast by the end.”
Brown says she felt she was unable to train for this race, but her excellent base fitness proved to be enough. “After the 48h World Championship in August (that I won) I had some slight pain under my right knee, so I could only do minimal training,” she explains.”By the time the injury healed, I caught a cold, so then I couldn’t train at all. Maybe being more rested for this race helped more than the training would have,” said Brown.
Post-race, Brown says it’s hard to catch up on sleep, but she has a surprising lack of soreness and no blisters.”My body is in great shape, but my mind will need some serious recovery,” the runner said. “These races are extremely demanding mentally.” Brown will compete next at the Kona Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in October, and later at the 24-hour world championship with Team Canada in Taiwan.