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Walmsley breaks 50-mile world record at Hoka race

Warm weather on the 100K course meant that Kazami's 2018 record went undefeated yesterday in California. Photo: Noah Carroll

The new Hoka One One Carbon X shoe may be super fast, but hot weather got the better of most of the athletes competing at the race designed to show off its speedy properties in California yesterday. But in spite of that, Jim Walmsley took down the 50-mile world record with his 4:50:08 (by 43 seconds)–that’s 50 consecutive 5:48 miles (between 3:35 and 3:40 kilometres).

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All the runners appeared to be struggling as the sun warmed up the course.

Walmsley’s time beat Barney Klecker‘s American record from 1980 by almost a minute. Walmsley took some time to recover and cool down after bagging the 50-mile before once again setting off to complete the 100K, smiling and high-fiving supporters along the course. (He had to finish the main event, which was a 100K race, in order for the 50-mile split to be ratified as a record.)

Double 100K world champion Hideaki Yamauchi of Japan won the 100K in 6:19:52, almost 10 minutes off Nao Kazami’s 100K world record (6:09:14, set last year at the Lake Saroma Marathon), which the project was designed to challenge. Patrick Reagan was second, in 6:33:50. Yoshiki Takada of Japan was third, in 6:52:03, and Walmsley fourth, in 7:05:24, a new PB for him in the 100K distance.

The previous 50-mile world record of 4:50:51 was set by ultrarunning legend Bruce Fordyce in the London to Brighton Ultramarathon in 1983.

Mike Wardian, who also did not get the result he was hoping for yesterday, finished fifth, in 7:29:12. Wardian has represented the US on the 100K team multiple times, and continues to clock incredible results in ultras almost every week of the year, at age 45. Commentating yesterday, Eric Senseman, who trains with Walmsley, referred to Wardian’s continued great results as “inspiring and unfathomable,” though Wardian admitted his legs could feel the mileage he has logged already in 2019 (including the Israel National Trail FKT, the Boston Marathon and last weekend’s Big Sur Marathon).

The race consisted of a 32K straight between Folsom and Sacramento, and then nine repeats of an approximately 7.5K loop.

Sabrina Little hung on to finish the women’s race after Aiko Kanematsu dropped out, finishing in 7:49:28.

The 10x10K mixed-gender relay team successfully brought down that world record, finishing in 5:45:50. The second-place team also went under the world record time, finishing in 5:46:16.


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