Did you know the oldest woman to complete a 100-miler lives right here in Canada?
82-year-old Erlinda Biondic spends most of her days trekking from her home in Aurora, Ont. to Newmarket, Ont.’s Fairy Lake Park (about 7 km). Erlinda and her husband, George, have been ultrarunning for many years, completing popular treks along Ontario’s Bruce Trail, Spain’s Camino de Santiago and the Appalachian Trail. Last month, Erlinda became the oldest woman to complete 50 miles and 100 miles and to break the six-day world record, covering 251 miles (403 km) in 144 hours at the 3 Days at the Fair ultra in Augusta, N.J.
Erlinda felt confident and well trained heading into the ultra. She was intending to break the world record for 48 hours and 6 days in the 80+ age group. She spent the pandemic training for this event in the hallway of her Aurora apartment. When restrictions were lifted, she walked at the local golf course and on the trails around it.
“No matter the weather, I try to get outside twice a day,” says Erlinda.
Besides leaving her apartment twice a day, she credits a lot of her fitness and strength to the yoga and boot camp instructors at the Aurora Seniors Centre. “We are constantly working on keeping my balance strong with core-focused exercises,” she says.
Erlinda has a strict diet during training. “I consume a lot of carbohydrates and add a vegetable to every meal,” she says. During the race, Erlinda and George pre-cooked tuna, crumpets, eggs and ramen and carried them in ziplock bags while out on the course.
Each lap at the 3 Days at the Fair ultra is a one-mile loop circling the aid station. “The course is flat and great for runners to break records on,” says Erlinda, who has done this race several times.
Days after covering 251 consecutive miles, the new six-day world record holder was back to training. “I luckily had no blisters or swelling during my six-day ultra,” Erlinda says. “George’s foot and quad massages help me recover.”
When asked about how she felt to be the oldest person to cover 100 miles, she talked about her next races and records she hopes to chase. In September, Erlinda and George will compete at the Race for the Ages, an age-graded, eight-hour handicap race, where the oldest runners get a head start on the rest of the field.
As Erlinda gets older, she continues to push her physical barriers. She and George plan to hike the famous rim-to-rim in Grand Canyon National Park this month and participate in Ottawa’s Sri Chinmoy 24-hour ultra on July 23.