US athlete, Des Linden breaks the 50km world record and becomes the first woman to run 50km in under 3 hours.

In her first competitive ultra-race, Des Linden destroyed, Briton, Alyson Dixon’s previous 50km world record by a whopping 7 minutes. The 37 year old finished the run in an outstanding 2:59:54 to become the first woman to run under 3 hours.

Just as remarkable as the time itself was the wonderfully consistent pacing that she managed throughout the race, sticking at 5:46 to 5:47 per mile the entire time. Paced by marathoner Charlie Lawrence, Linden passed the marathon mark in 2:31:12 and from then on it was a matter of just finishing because she was well inside the world record time with 5 miles to go.

Those who know anything about Des Linden will not be surprised by her achievement; she boasts a marathon PB of 2:22:38 and significant marathon championship pedigree, having completed at the Olympic Games in both London and Rio and selected as a reserve for Tokyo 2021. Perhaps her most famous victory was the 2018 Boston Marathon becoming the first US woman to win the famous World major for 28 years. 

We’re never too keen to get technical here at Trackstaa but, technically, it’s a World best and not a World record but that being the case, it’s still a phenomenal effort in a distance which often gets overshadowed by the global popularity of the marathon. Alyson Dixon, previous holder of the world best tweeted, “the 50km should be a world record distance. I think it needs a bit more prestige to encourage more of the 2:29:30+ girls to give it a go.

Des, who ran in the Brooks Hyperion Elite 3, due for release in early 2022, said of her achievement, “I hope the 50k does become more popular…We want to see progress. We want to see recognition. We got a little bit of pushback on hyping this event. That’s the point. Let’s get people excited. I hope that people got excited and I hope the record does move forward and the 50k does get more eyeballs on it and is run more often.”

Whilst many considered this to be a precursor to Des running ultra-marathons more regularly, she was keen to stress that running the world marathon majors would continue to be her focus as the covid-19 pandemic dies down. At her post-race press conference, she said, “If I’m finishing top 5, top 1- and contending at the front, that’s what is exciting for me. I love competing at that level, if that gets too much then I’ll shift and make sure that I’m enjoying what I’m doing, having fun competing or chasing down different goals.”

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