US ultrarunner Camille Herron’s nutrition sponsor, Unived, has just released a new video about her experience at the 2019 Western States Endurance Run (WSER), six months after setting the 24-hour world record of 262K at Desert Solstice. We already know how WSER ended–the runner had a hard fall about 12 miles in, and dropped out after 55 miles. (2018 winner Courtney Dauwalter also dropped, and Clare Gallagher emerged the winner in 17:23:25, the second-fastest time ever run by a woman.) An MRI showed Herron had a torn hamstring.
That of course, isn’t the end of the story, or anywhere near. Four months after States, Herron was back on the track, outrunning the field at the 24-hour World Championships in Albi, France with 167 miles (270 kilometres). The film covers only WSER, but the bigger context that Albi provides makes it a really useful case study into how one elite athlete deals with setbacks–philosophically, and without giving in to discouragement.
It’s clear from the video that Herron views running as a calling, a mission to show people the resilience of the human body and spirit. She gets very emotional when describing the car accident that could have killed her, but that only increased her sense of mission. (The film doesn’t mention that Herron won the Tarawera Ultra, a 100-miler in New Zealand, two weeks after the accident.)
Dauwalter also had a successful comeback after the States DNF, winning UTMB 2019 on her first try.
Herron plans to return to WSER in 2020. Her ultimate goal is sub-16. (Ellie Greenwood‘s course record, set in 2012, is 16:47:19.) The lottery will be held on December 7, and the 2020 event starts on June 27.