Before Nov. 11, Camille Herron had never run a 100-mile race in her life. Now, after winning the Tunnel Hill 100-Miler in Vienna, Illinois with a time of 12 hours, 42 minutes and 40 seconds, she’s the new women’s world record holder for the distance.
Not only did she average 7:38 per mile to shatter the old record by more than an hour, and win the overall competition by more than 22 minutes, but she even drank beer during the race.
“I drank a beer and a half. It was magic,” she told REI. “It settled my stomach and I had mental clarity,”
With the win, the 35-year-old Oklahoma native, who is a part-time research assistant in osteoimmunology, ran the fastest known 100 miles on a trail by anyone, male or female, in the United States.
— Camille Herron (@runcamille) November 12, 2017
— Terri Durbin (@shedurb) November 12, 2017
Herron tried to race 100 miles twice before the Tunnel Hill 100-miler, but had to drop out due to accidents and injuries. However, even before her record-setting performance, she was a highly accomplished ultrarunner. She won the Comrades Marathon in South Africa, and she is a two-time International Association of Ultrarunners world champion.
You might argue that her brain played as much a role in her win as her legs and lungs. She has a masters degree in exercise sports science from Oregon State University, where through her research, she found that recovery was the key to being able to train more effectively.
“Recovery is all about trying to get the blood—with its growth factors and micronutrients—where it needs to go. Even walking and easy jogging can help you recover quicker,” she said.
And, she’s living proof. She’s run 100 miles per week for 11 years straight, breaking her workouts into two-a-day sessions.
She also applied her science knowledge to nutrition. So, how did that beer and a half factor into the latter portion of the race?
Well, alcohol works as a vasodilator. Because it opens blood vessels, blood can circulate more efficiently to worn down muscles.
And, with a course that didn’t have any mile markers, a little alcohol went a long way for her mental game, too.
This isn’t Herron’s first world record. According to Runner’s World, she holds one for running the fastest marathon (2 hours, 48 minutes and 51 seconds) in a superhero costume.
Clearly, this is a runner who can have some fun out on the course.
Cheers to your performance, Camille Herron.