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Viktoria Brown wins gold at GOMU 48-hour World Championship

The Canadian dual citizen and 72-hour world record holder ran nearly 350 km in England this weekend to claim individual and team wins for Hungary

Viktoria Brown in Hungarian flag at GOMU 48-hour World Championship Photo by: Trishul Cherns

Viktoria Brown ran just shy of 350 km on a track in Gloucester, England this weekend to claim gold for Hungary at the GOMU (Global Organization of Multi-Day Ultramarathoners) 48-hour World Championship and continue what has been a stellar year for the Canadian dual citizen.

Brown, of Whitby, Ont., looped the track 874 times to cover 349.648 km in 47 hours, 59 minutes and 43 seconds. She racked up 59 laps more than Romania’s Mara Guler, who finished second with 326.314 km in 47:53:19. Rounding out the women’s podium was Marianne Mäkinen of Finland, who ran 320.877 km in 47:49:04.

Viktoria Brown with medal
Photo: Trishul Cherns

Brown’s win on the weekend comes on the heels of her fourth-place finish in the women’s field at last month’s Badwater 135. In March, Brown bested her own 48-hour Canadian record and 72-hour world record at the GOMU six-day world championships in Policoro, Italy—she ran 364 km within 48 hours and 471 km within 72 hours, completing the six-day event with 684 km and the women’s individual gold medal.

She tells Canadian Running she had set an A goal of of 380 km and a B goal of 370 km for the 48-hour championships in Goucester, “but I was struggling from very early on. We had to completely rewrite the nutrition plan and the weather made the race very challenging too, so I let go of any target distance super early and just focused on winning both the individual and team championship as my only goals.”

Brown explains she had to switch her nutrition to mostly solids, which she isn’t used to in 48-hour races. “Our theory is that although tap water was perfectly potable, somehow most foreigners were not tolerating it in a race situation. That’s what happened to me as well as several others,” she explained. “My only choice was to swap to solids. … We did what we had to do and eventually it all worked out fine.”

She notes the weather posed an increasing challenge as the event rolled on. “The weather was surprisingly hot the first day, which I was fine with—I had just come back from Badwater, after all. But the rain posed different challenges. Sometimes it was raining so hard that I decided I was better off with a sleep break and waiting it out after my raincoat got soaked through—which never happened before, not even in Vancouver where I first broke the Canadian 48-hour record in constant rain in 2020. Other times the rain was light and one would question putting rain gear on, and by the time I decided to do so, [the rain] was over, so I would waste another chunk of time taking it all off.”

As Canada didn’t send a team to the 48-hour world championships, the decision to run for Hungary was easy, says Brown. “I really like races where they will let me carry both flags, like Badwater, but at championships I need to pick,” she explains. “This race was under GOMU, so it has no consequences on which country I can run for in IAU races. I run for Canada in IAU (International Association of Ultrarunners)—I can’t keep switching that.”

Joining Hungary on the women’s team podium were Finland in second-place and Germany in third.

Brown’s individual and women’s team wins in the 48-hour race were part of a clean sweep for Hungary. The country also won the men’s team competition ahead of Great Britain and Switzerland. Hungary’s Szabolcs Beda ran 390.838 km in 47:54:51 to finish first among the men. He was followed by Poland’s Lukasz Sagan, who ran 376.911 in 47:57:11, and Britain’s Dan Lawson, who ran 370.592 km in 47:54:09.

“It was great to watch 59 athletes from 17 countries share the track for two days and become brothers and sisters in arms,” says Trishul Cherns, Canadian ultrarunning pioneer and GOMU president. “They all brought out the best in each other. The world certainly can learn from their example.”

 

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