Kids, do not try this at home. On January 3, Western States course record-holder and 50-mile world record-holder Jim Walmsley of Flagstaff, Ariz. posted an insane double on Strava on his way to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials: a 6 x 1,600m workout at 11 a.m., and a 12 x 400m just before 4 p.m.
It all adds up to close to 28 miles (45 kilometres), most of it at a hard pace. In one day. Much of it on the track.
But Walmsley is no stranger to hard volume. We ran a similar story in mid-December about him logging a 243K (151 mile) training week. If he can stay healthy, he’ll command a lot of attention at the marathon trials, which take place in Atlanta on February 29.
There’s a mystique around Walmsley (who lives and trains in Flagstaff), born of his incredible speed on roads and trails alike and his ability to live in both worlds and excel at both disciplines.
A year ago, we looked at Walmsley’s training as the Houston Half-Marathon approached. At Houston he nailed a 1:04:00, exactly the time he needed (down to the second) to qualify for the marathon trials. He went on to win a 50-mile race in Hong Kong and take 43 seconds off the 50-mile world record before shattering his own course record at Western States. Later last year he won the World Mountain Running Long Distance Championship. Rumour has it Walmsley is planning to race the Comrades Marathon in South Africa on June 14.
The big question is whether, never having run a road marathon, he can dominate at the shorter distance against experienced marathoners like Scott Fauble, Jared Ward and Galen Rupp.
But if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s never to underestimate Jim Walmsley.