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GOMU 48h World Championship - 3rd Woman, 1st AG, 1st Team

I've been chasing a certain number for 2-3 years now. That number was 370 km (appr. 230 mi), because the Hungarian national record for women's 48h running was 369 km (229 mi). That record was held by the legendary Edit Bérces, who was "the real deal" back in the day. She won the 100 km WC in 2000, the 24h WC in 2001, held the 24h Women's WR back then. Her 250 km (155 mi) 24h best is still the Hungarian women's record. When she set the 48h Hungarian record of 369 km (229 mi), this was the overall Hungarian 48h record, higher than the men's. This was a very meaningful number for me. I tried to take it down several times in the last few years and failed before this race.

As an added bonus, the Canadian men's 48h record is 368 km / 228 mi by my friend, Jerry Hughes. I already hold the Canadian Women's 48h record. But it just happens, that the Canadian men's mark is basically the same as the Hungarian women's record (which shows Edit's greatness since hers is from the early 2000s while Jerry set his a few years ago). To set a Canadian national record, the only requirement towards the competitor is to be a Canadian citizen (there are requirements for the race itself, eg. certified course). Running in the race as Canadian isn't a requirement, which is very confusing to most European athletes, because as far as I know in most European countries you can only set a national record if you enter the race under that nation's flag. That is not the case in Canada. So running as Hungarian at the World Championship, I can set both a Hungarian and a Canadian record in the same race, with the same result. These rules are established by the respective countries, so they are not my rules. You can agree or disagree, but this is the way it is.

Edit Bérces, Hungarian ultrarunning legend presenting the Gold Medal for my Age Group win (W45) at the awards ceremony

Surpassing the Canadian men's mark was also a goal and almost as meaningful to me. Jerry has known ever since he set that record, that I was coming after him. He is a great guy and was among the first ones to congratulate me after the race.

My plan was that if I got my 370 km, this would be my last 48h race. I wasn't sure how serious I was about it, but 48h is a very hard format, and the way I saw it was that I had nothing more to achieve, I didn't see myself having much more potential. Boy, was I wrong...

So we were shooting for 370 km. However, the way I wanted to do it was to have a plan and just flow with it. The plan didn't have distance numbers on it. It had ideas and actions, allowing for wherever I get in the allotted time. Most of the race I didn't even know where I was distancewise and it wasn't important to me, either. I knew that if I followed my plan I would be able to achieve what I set out to do. That is why I didn't pay attention when my crew started to talk about the world record late in the race. It wasn't on my mind. Proving my theory, that I can keep pace, was my main goal.

What resulted in this huge improvement in my 48h result? Actually, a theory. I have been doing multiday races for 4 years and from the get-go, my biggest question was: what causes the slow down over time? Is it muscle fatigue? Is it muscle breakdown? Is it nutritional? What is it? Once you solve that, you have the key. I spoke to a lot of people, a lot of experts, runners, coaches, scientists. We theorized and I played with different things. After years of searching and experimenting, I came to the final conclusion: the reason of the slowdown is... that there is no physical reason. There is absolutely zero reason from a physical standpoint for not being able to keep a relatively slow but still reasonable pace for the whole duration of the event. Be that 48h, 72h or 6-day. In my case, that is around the 7 min/ km mark which is about 11 min/mi. The exact number is an arbitrary guess, I'm actually even thinking that it should be 6:40 min / km (10:45 min / mi). Beyond this, any kind of slow down is purely mental. That's my current theory. 

Of course, sleep deprivation is part of the mental side of things so yes, sleep deprivation can easily slow you beyond this pace. But my point is, it all comes down to your mental power. And that is what I just proved.

Clothing changes again and again and again and again. 

As mentioned above, we were aiming for 370 km or 230 miles. Not 400 km / 250 mi or anything in that ballpark. I had thought that those numbers would be way out of my reach, ever. I was wrong. Never underestimate the power of mental toughness.

The pacing plan was simple: hit 100 mi / 161 km in 16-17h, hit optimistically 220 km in 24h (my 24h best was 215 km / 133 mi prior to this race) and then just keep going as best I can. (What happened: 100 mi / 161 km in exactly 16h, 233km / 145 mi in 24h).

I like to think that I had a significant part in what Stine Rex and Irina Masanova, the eventual gold and silver medalists of the women's race achieved. It was my idea that you can run a 48h race similar to how the best in the world run a 24h race - basically non-stop, minimizing any overhead. I don't know for sure, but my guess is, that a similar approach resulted in Patrycja Bereznowska's large improvement earlier this year. About 2 years ago she held the women's World Record at 403km / 250 mi, this February she ran 427 km / 265 mi: suddenly a 24 km / 15 mi improvement from probably the most experienced 48h female runner of our time. My theory was correct and next time, when I don't mess up my nutrition with 10 hours to go, I hope I could also be in that ballpark. 

Because of my relentless constant pushing, we were all in that ballpark at 38h (350 km / 217 mi) when I made my mistake. And the other two ladies proved that where the race was at that point, was good enough to achieve the best distance in 48h that any woman has ever run.

It is always hard to get enough rest before an overseas race, unless you are able to get there way ahead of time, at least a week before, which I can only do if I'm bringing my kids with me. That wasn't the case this time as they were still in school. I arrived on Tuesday after an overnight flight. That left me Wednesday and Thursday to recover before starting the race on Friday. I didn't sleep too well either night but finally the last night was great. We drove to Balatonfüred with Trishul and my mom on Thursday.

The opening ceremony was World Championship level. This is what GOMU would like to see, these races getting more and more professional. Opening ceremony, closing ceremony, live streaming, live tracking, cheering crowds, everything you can expect for a world class event.

The Opening Ceremony was as World Class as the race itself! Team Hungary.

The first day went very smoothly. We are finally figuring out the liquid amounts correctly for these races too. My two crew members, Zoltán Schmidt and Robert Sztrakota have both done a few races with me by now and they are both amazing. We are like a well oiled machine by now! Drink in my hand, smile, keep going. Repeat.

I'm sponsored by an online nutrition store, called TheFeed. They have a huge selection of products so I can take whatever I would like, no restriction on brands. I used SiS Beta Fuel for this race almost exclusively. 

The course wasn't easy, but we knew that in advance. There were two 180 degree turns, one almost-180-turn and several more 90 degree turns on a roughly 1 km (0.6 mi) loop. Originally the course was planned with only one 180 degree turn over a 2 km (1.2 mi) loop but a hotel construction wasn't completed on time so the course had to be shortened. The turns slowed us down and also put some extra strain on our ankles, hips and knees. For me personally, mostly my knees were complaining, they swelled up significantly by the end. There were also some stepping stones which didn't bother me that much. The organizers put mats on the uneven surfaces so we wouldn't trip, but then you had to step up onto the mats - which was a problem the second night for me where the lighting wasn't good enough to pay attention and I fell 3 times, giving me a nice black chin for the awards ceremony.

I tried to minimize the overhead. I changed my tops on the go and made very quick, 20-30 sec stops for changing shorts when the rain stopped and they were soaked. It was a good experiment again with clothing, and made me realize that I have one pair (the Shortneys) which dry incomparably quicker than my other shorts, so in the future I will probably prefer those. My Saxx shorts didn't dry well so once the rain stopped, I desperately wanted to get out of them so I wouldn't get chafed. With sock changes, I wanted to wait until the puddles all dried up, otherwise it made no sense to change my socks just to get them soaked again. I also made the mistake of not bringing enough socks even though I have a rather large supply of Injinji toe socks, which is what I wear exclusively. The luggage space is limited when I fly to these races, and I didn't expect this much rain. Previously, when I had a lot of socks with me, I did the whole race in one or two pairs. Murphy's law is that when I bring less, of course I would need more. I had 3 pairs with me, so they were enough after all, and maybe it was a good thing that I didn't have the option of changing socks more often, because that takes time.

Jacket on, jacket off, shirt on, shirt off, cooling gear on, cooling gear off - repeat again and again and again. Crew: Zoltán Schmidt, photo: Robert Sztrakota

There was one bigger thunderstorm, I can't exactly remember when, sometime during the second day. I remember I was running with Zsuzsa Maráz, a legendary Hungarian ultrarunner who used to specialize in point-to-point road races and won Spartathlon and Ultrabalaton several times. She has only recently gotten interested in timed races and immediately set the World AG record for W50 at her first 6-day race 2 years ago. She was very scared of the lightning. She is just as short as me so our theme was to be grateful that we didn't grow taller because the lightning would hit the tall guys. "Good things come in small packages."

The weather wasn't really on our side for the whole event, although it wasn't horrible. There was only that one episode of terrential rain with lightning, the other times it was more of a sprinkle or light rain. During the day time it got a bit hot, 25-28C / 77-82F, but not unbearably. The biggest challenge was maybe the constant change of weather, resulting in many clothing changes, rain jacket on, rain jacket off, shirt on, shirt off, cooling shirt on, cooling shirt off, cooling hat on, cooling hat off, ice bandana on, ice bandana off, sock change due to feet being soaked from the rain, repeat again and again and again.

The start was very chaotic, we didn't know which way to go first, because the PA system malfunctioned right as we were approaching the start time. The organizers had no way of communicating to the 120+ runners where to line up and which way to start - the start / finish line went over a part of the course that was a loop in itself, so you could go either way, East or West first. I guessed the wrong way and when everyone started the other way, the minority who lined up the wrong way had to jump over the cordon and join the crowd at the back, so I got stuck at the very end and had to get around 120 runners to join the lead group. It was raining at the start so I wore my rain jacket, but it wasn't cold at all. That also posed a challenge: what do you wear under the rain jacket so you are not overheating? Many times I simply wore my sports bra and then just the rain jacket.

Fighting my way through the crowd in the first lap after getting stuck at the start. Photo: Robert Sztrakota

The key to a good 48h race is to just keep it as smooth, happy and chill the first day as possible. The race is all about the 2nd day, so you want to preserve your energy and your mental power for day 2. 

Day 1 went relatively quietly and seamlessly. I was cruising at a reasonable pace, there were a few patches of light rain, once in the early afternoon and once later in the day. I was planning on saving caffeine for the second night, so I only took one small dose around 2 am the first night but I was happy running in the cooler temperatures when the sun was down.

In terms of position in the race, I wasn't too worried. I knew that it all comes down to day 2 and I expected day 2 to be my strength. The way I expected it to play out was that I might not be in the lead after 24h, although I do like to be in the lead to be honest. But I wasn't going to worry about it whatsoever. I was just going to run my race and start to get strategic later on day 2.

I don't even know how I did what I did on day 1. I just concentrated on keeping myself happy and smooth and I paid zero attention to how much distance I covered. I only learned after the fact that I split 233.704 km / 145.21 mi for 24h, which was an almost 20 km / 12 mi personal best!!! True, I haven't run a pure 24h race since my first ever ultra in 2020, when I had no idea what I was doing and I ended up with 213 km / 132 mi. Ever since, I only had 24h results as splits in longer events. But this was a split as well. My theory was working: it is all purely mental.

What was this big improvement due to? This February, after winning Ultraman Florida, I made the decision to finally concentrate on ultrarunning only, instead of trying to simultenously train for triathlon. I haven't scheduled any more triathlon races for this season. The idea was just to try and see, what happens if I concentrate more havily on running, instead of spending the bulk of my training time biking and swimming. I also started working with a new coach since last summer, changing from a triathlon coach to an ultrarunning coach (he also trains triathletes, but he is mainly an ultrarunning coach), Sebastian Bialobrzeski, the coach of the best ultrarunner of our time, Alexandr Sorokin. And while the training plan isn't drastically different, there are some new elements that definitely helped, but the main difference is the knowledge he shares with me during our chats. Those were more eye opening than the training, which, for a big part of it, I still put together myself. I attribute my big improvement to these three changes: no triathlon, new coach, new mindset.

Pouring some cold water on myself for cooling in the heat of the day. Photo: Robert Sztrakota. In the background: crew Zoltán Schmidt

233 km / 145 mi for 24h put me in No. 3 all time for Hungary, behind legendary ultrarunner, World Champion and then-world-record-holder Edit Berces (250 km / 155 mi) and Kati Nagy (250 km / 155 mi), who is also a 24h World Champion and she is Hungarian but she lives in the US and competes for the US. I believe in Hungary the criteria for a national record is that you have to run the race as Hungarian, so although Kati's result is about 100 m / 100 yds better than Edit's, because she was running for the US, it isn't the official Hungarian record. Other than these two legendary runners, no Hungarian woman has a better 24h result than my split here. A few years ago Szvetlana Zétényi ran the same 233 km / 145 mi in a 24h race, but her distance was just a few hundred meters shorter than my split here.

This distance also puts me 3rd in the Canadian 24h rankings behind previous record holder, Bernadette Benson (238 km / 147 mi) and current record holder, Amanda Nelson (248 km / 154 mi). Now, of course, the question in my head is, that if I can split 233 km / 145 mi in a 48h race, can I exceed these distances in a pure 24h race? I might just have to try!

All in all, I had a great first day and I knew that my main game was going to be the 2nd day, so I was happy. I was also unexpectedly leading the race, I took the lead over during the night hours of the first day. By midnight, I was 3 minutes ahead of Irina and 4 minutes ahead of Stine. 

Stine Rex of Denmark is an experienced ultrarunner, she just came 5th at the IAU World Championships last December and also 5th at Spartathlon last year. She had a great season as she started last year by breaking my 72h World Record by a large margin (471 km  vs 505 km / 292 mi vs 313 mi) although I have to note that I set that WR as a split in a 6-day race and I know I can do better in a pure 72h race, which we might just see next year when the world's first ever 72h World Championship is going to take place in Hungary.

Irina Masanova is a young mother of 2 with insane talent. This was her first ever 48h race. Can you imagine that? She had no idea what she was doing, haha... yet, she achieved this result! I can't wait what she will be able to do with a little more 48h experience under her belt. You can clearly see in her graph that after the first 24h she started to run backyard style, taking a break every hour, because she had no better ideas. Once she caught on that it is not the way the other top runners do it, she just switched and kept going. I'm in awe of her talent, if she keeps doing timed races, she will very soon be a force to be reckon with.

Night time used to be my weakness. I have been consciously working on improving my night running. I don't generally train in the dark and that was probably the reason for this weakness. However, I turned it around so much so, that night time is my weapon now. Not sure when the shift happened, it was gradual. I'm friends with the nights now. I took over the lead the first night and I was going to make a decisive move the second night - so darkness was my friend and ally. 

Thunderstorm the second night. Photo: Robert Sztrakota

But first, I had another full day of running ahead of me, with more scattered showers and a hot daytime. We pulled out the cooling gear: my DeSoto cooling shirt, my Omius hat and my D3 ice bandana. I like the heat. I really enjoy the sun and look at hot days as giving me an advantage. After all, unless Stine specifically heat trained in Denmark, she is probably not great in the heat. Irina, who was the other girl in the top 3, lives in Cyprus. So yeah, she was certainly better heat trained than I was!

Earlier this year I was accepted into the Core Performance Team. This team has 20 world class athletes from around the world, including 5 Olympians. We get advice and help with heat training protocols and execution as well as the Core body temperature device to dial in the heat training. I'm grateful for the support. In my case we decided on a continuous heat training protocol. Lately the studies show that being heat acclimated even in not so hot race conditions improves performance. So I follow the customized heat training plan that I was given and so far it is working great.

Daytime heat in full cooling gear: Desoto shirt, Omius hat, ice bandana. Photo: Trishul Cherns

I took some more caffeine during the day time and I also needed some ketones every now and then to keep my head in the game. I use the KetoneAid KE4 (if you are in the US, you can use a discount code: VIKTORIA for free shipping). 

The daytime went fine, I was slowing a bit but I wasn't worried because at this point I had a plan that I forumated during the day. I was about 2 km / 1.5 mi ahead of Stine and double that ahead of Irina. They both looked strong and I knew that they were both faster runners than I was to begin with (sub 3h marathoners vs my 3:32). I was surprised to be ahead of them but happy with it too.

I prepared a few little motivational quotes in advance and printed them out, and my crew had them to randomly give them to me when my motivation needed a boost. They used this weapon excellently and the quotes usually hit home.

The first one I got was "Pain is inevitable, suffering is a choice". This was at day time on the second day and it carried me for hours. Yes, it wasn't easy. It was starting to get challenging. No, I don't need to look at it as suffering, it is up to me how I interpret the experience. I could just be grateful that my body could do this, rather than throwing a pitty party. Once I ingrained the quote in my head, I handed the paper to Amy Mower who was running for the US and who had some gut issues early in the race. I hoped this would help her too.

Later in the day they gave me a similar one. It read "It is not pain. It is voluntary discomfort." The message is the same. I chose this and I should be happy that I'm capable of doing it. Gratitude is a very strong emotion that can mask a lot of pain. This paper also ended up in Amy's hands.

Lost in my own head

The third one was by far the most powerful. It was later that afternoon. The quote came from triathlon Olympic champion, Kristian Blummenfelt. "It hurts more to lose." This was fire and the last motivational quote that I got during the race because once the nutritional mistake happened, it wasn't a mind game any more, so there was no point in trying to fix my mind, it came down to physical issues which I couldn't overcome. I didn't get a chance to give this one to Amy, I didn't see her around so I just gave it back to my guys. But it hit home big time.

I have learned to use my music strategically in the past few races I ran. I have to thank the authority in this field, Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in the UK, who personally helped me develop the strategy and the playlists. Without his help, I wouldn't have the knowledge and the weapon in my hand that my music is. I worked on it hard for the past year and a half and finally it all came together by now.

The advantage of the home turf can't be underestimated. There was a main DJ at the start / finish line, playing retro Hungarian pop music from the 90s. I love that stuff. I was singing along and it cheered me up bit time. There was another guy, Józsi, with a smaller music player at the other end of the course, cheering for everyone enthusiastically (while also officiating). There were crowds during the day along the course, encouraging all runners and cheering extra loudly for Hungarians. I'm actually a bit nervous that maybe next year, when all this will be absent in Poland, will I be able to do just as well? Even if there are crowds at that race, they will be cheering for the Polish and not me. I don't know, I will just have to wait and see but I believe that the race being in Hungary helped me big time. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences even if the race ended for me with a "little" disappointment.

My mom was able to show up and cheer as well. She also brought my crew some delicious food. I even made a little rhyme in Hungarian which of course won't translate to English, "Fülig ér a szám, Itt az anyukám", it means something along the lines of "My grin is wide, my mom arrived". At least I kept myself busy and I was running happily.

With Edit Bérces and my mom post-race

The sun went down around 9 pm but it was 10 pm by the time it got dark. I was sitting tight and just moving along at a reasonable but slowish pace. I couldn't wait. I had ants in my pants. In retrospect I should have waited a little bit longer, maybe until midnight, but I was just so anxious to get going, to launch a decisive attack. At 10 pm I finally pulled the trigger. Again, in retrospect, I would just sit tight a bit longer keeping a slower pace. In the heat of the race though, this seemed like a good decision.

I had about a 2 km / 1.5 mi lead at that point. If you look at the pace graph, you can clearly see how at 34h suddenly the gap starts to widen between Stine, Irina and myself. I was pushing a 6:20-ish (10 min/mi) pace, nothing crazy, but faster than the others were running, and as night time was setting in, I expected them to slow further. I was feeling great, mentally and physically and very excited for the night to come. My plan was that by the time the sun was up, there would be no question about me winning the race. Stine got into a bit of a fight with me first, but tactically in an errorous way. When I passed her, she picked up the pace significantly and passed me back. She tried to increase the pace to a level that I couldn't sustain. But I simply went with her. I had no intention of passing her back, I had a 2 lap lead. I was just going to let her kill herself. She was on her way to do that. It is much easier for me to keep pace running behind her. The pace was hard for her and I was cruising and making good distance. This was a great situation for me. If I was ahead, it would have been a hard pace, but I was simply following her.

Recognizing the situation, her partner and coach, who is from what I saw an excellent strategist, pulled her out of the situation. I kept going. This was a very smart move from him. I believe he even sent her to sleep, because a while later, when she re-appeared, she told me that she slept and my only guess is that this was about the point when she went down. I kept going. My plan was working and I was still feeling great.

Discussing race strategies with Dan, Stine's coach and partner, at the awards ceremony. Stine still looks fried, not surprisingly!

I fell 3 times during the second night, my feet got caught in mats that were covering the uneven surfaces and were supposed to protect us. During one of these I hurt my chin on a rubber mat and I had a black chin for the rest of the race, including the award ceremony and for another week or two. One of these falls happened right in front of our tent, so my crew put a light over that mat which helped a lot for the rest of the race.

I was using exogenous ketones (http://ketoneaid.com) with caffeine. It was now 2 am, my lead grew to 6 km / 3.5 mi . The sky started breaking at 4am, I only had to hang on for 2 more hours and then the celebration could begin. My crew was telling me that I was on pace to break the world record. I didn't want to think about it just yet, I didn't want to worry about a number. I just wanted to keep running my race and get the most out of my body. I didn't know where I was in distance. I covered 350 km / 217 mi by 38 hours. Indeed I was on pace for the WR.

This is when I made the mistake with my nutrition that brought me down. At 38h, 2 am. I have been thinking if I should share the details but to be honest, I'm not worried. If it helps anyone, so be it. There is so much good information in the rest of my race report here, that I'm sure I'm helping others, including my direct competitors. That's just my nature. The level of competition will be higher and you can be sure I will have some new concepts and new ideas for the next one, that are not shared here yet. So here is the full story of what I screwed up and what caused me to lose this World Championship and a potential world record.

There are 3 components to the story: caffeine, exogenous ketones and nootropics. I have tried a combination of 2 of these in all interations. They all work brilliantly. I have taken caffeine with exogenous ketones before. I have taken caffeine with nootropics and I have taken exogenous ketones with nootropics. What I have never done before, and thought would be a great idea, and could carry me beyond sunrise and most of the morning was, taking the three together. After all, all the combinations work very well. Why wouldn't all 3 work well? Yes, I should have tried this in training, it is racing 101 not to try anything new on race day (or two). At Cocodona, which is a 400k / 250 mi trail race, and I was pacing my friend, Brian for 185 km / 115 mi of it in early May, I tried the exogenous ketones with the nootropics in a race situation for the first time and it was like magic. But I had tried this in training before. I also told him at that time not to add caffeine to the concoction, because I was worried about screwing up his race. As a good coach, I wasn't going to allow him to do something in a race that I hadn't tried in training. Why, then, I put my own race, world championship title and world record on the line? I don't know... I have no answer. I was stupid. Or just greedy. Yeah, more like greedy. 

Anxiously waiting to make my move as the sun went down the second night. Photo: Robert Sztrakota

I also ran out of my usual tape (2nd Skin Adhesive Knit) before the race so I taped them with Rocktape which I've never done before. It worked relatively well, but I believe the one blister that I got on my toe wouldn't have happened, had I taped with Adhesive Knit.

I power walked for a little bit. The guys told me that our mixed team gold could be in danger and that I should pick up the walk. I tried multiple times and I was unable to do even that, my guess is that by this time the lack of energy and also the lack of motivation played a big part. I knew I could casually walk to 400 km / 250 mi. That was my goal now, nothing else was left.

My bronze medal was guaranteed, 4th place was way behind. I had no chance to finish higher, the first two ladies were making history, running just over and just under the WR eventually. I was very envious, I wished I could be a part of that game, but my body wasn't having it. Ideally I wanted to go beyond 403 km / 251 mi, just because Patrycja Beleznowska had a 403 km result that used to be the World Record 2 years ago and I wanted to get ahead of that on the all time list. I finished with 405.025 km / 252 mi including my partial lap. I was happy with that given the circumstances.

2 years ago this result would have been the world record. Since then, the level of competition has risen like crazy. Prior to this race, only 3 women have ever surpassed 400 km / 250 mi in a 48h race. Now we had 3 other women in the same race surpassing that mark. Isn't that crazy? My result put me in 6th all time female.

Walking in the last few hours were torture.

If ultrarunning was a professional sport, this couldn't have happened. I would have had a coach or a full team of professionals on the side of the course making decisions for me. They would have known my history in training and that I had never tried this combination before and they wouldn't have let me take them all at once. My friends who were crewing me didn't have this information, they had no idea that I was about to do something that I haven't tried in training. Lacking professional support, I had to make my own decisions when my brain was already fried from 38h of running. Not the best set-up for making a plan to conquer the world.

As I like to say, luckily, I'm not a brain surgeon and my mistakes don't cost lives. It potentially cost me a world champion title and a world record - although, it is not a given that I would have gotten either of those, had I not screwed up. There were still 10 long hours to go and who knows if I could have hang on or not, the other two ladies were pushing insane paces at the end. But I was on WR pace at 38h and feeling great, if that means anything. 

I immediately started throwing up and having diarrhea. I had to slow the pace down but I could stil somewhat hang on for a few hours. The downfall was inevitable. Once Stine and Irina saw the struggle, they came after me. There was no way to hide the issues from them (how do you hide throwing up?) and I knew that that was it. Even until the end, anytime I tried to start running, or even just faster walking, the nausea came back. There wasn't even anything to come up any more, just an empty stomach with spasms. Of course, complete lack of energy followed and because my mind had been working extremely hard for the past 38 hours, it didn't take much for it to go too and lose all motivation to fight. 

The organizers arranged for a full Hungarian brass band to show up for the last few hours!!!

There was one last attempt on my part, just before the girls passed me. I still had 1 km / 0.6 mi of a lead. There were about 6.5 hours left of the race. I put my music on and got going, thinking that maybe the past 3.5 hours were enough for my body to get a bit of a relief and go hard again. But it wasn't happening. At that point my body was empty, I had zero energy and had nothing to give any more. At 42h Stine passed me. I congratulated her and told her to go get it. And that's what she did.

The remaining 6 hours were torture. It was painful to walk. My right knee was hurting from all the turns on the course, but of course, when you are running and pushing hard, it is easy to ignore it. Not when you are casually walking. I tried to put a brace on it but during one of my falls I bruised my knee so the brace was hurting more than helping. I took it off. I had two large blisters that I had been ignoring but it didn't really make sense for me to stop now to treat them because I was only walking and I knew that I could walk my way to a 400 km+ / 250 mi+ result. Taking 20 minutes off to take care of my feet made no sense. They were still hurting. The constant rain wasn't kind to our feet. One of those blisters was probably my own fault. I had decided to place a doughnut cushion on the side of my foot preventatively pre-race. It was a mistake and the blister formed next to and just under the cushion, not inside it. I should have just simply taped that spot without the cushion. I think I had made this mistake before with the same result. I hope I will now remember forever not to do this. 

Waiting for the 4 officials who measured the last partial lap. Photo: Robert Sztrakota

I can't wait for next year, Ultrapark Weekend in Poland, for the 2025 GOMU 48h World Championship. How crazy will that race be? With this level of competition or even higher, on a course that is significantly easier, and hopefully with weather that cooperates a little better!

Stine Rex of Denmark won the race with 435.564 km / 270.64 mi, surpassing the current World Record by 228 meters, held by Camille Herron! Irina Masanova, running as independent, a Russian living in Cyprus, came second with 434.912 m / 270.24 mi , 424 meters less than Camille's WR!!!! 

The men's race was also the strongest ever in the history of 48h running! Bartosz Fudali of Poland became the 2nd strongest 48h runner in history, only behind the legendary Yiannis Kouros, running 447.293 km / 277.93 mi, and Nicolas De Las Heras Monforte, who is in the M55 category, finished only 6 kms / 3.5 mi behind him, making him the 3rd strongest 48h runner in history! Bronze medalist, Hungarian Szabolcs Beda made it to 5th best runner ever on the all time list!

You can see in the pace chart how the gap starts to widen at 34h between myself, Stine and Irina and then how suddenly my pace drops at 38h and eventually they both pass me just after 42h

There is an important point that hasn't been mentioned yet. There have only ever been 5 other women who have gone over 400 km / 250 mi in 48h. However, all 5 of those women are capable of running a sub-3h marathon, I believe. I only found a 3:05 for Patrycja Bereznowska, she might have run faster, but even if she hasn't, it is close enough to call her a 3h marathoner. Some of these women can run under 2:50 and even under 2:40!!!! Me, on the other hand, my best official marathon time is 3:32. I think in 2020, I was in 3:20-ish shape, but that is just a guess, based on a 3:26 marathon split on the track, measure by my watch, in a 6h virtual race. But my point is: yes, it is possible. I can run 400 km+ / 250 mi+ and potentially 420-430 km / 260-267 mi in a 48h race, even though I don't have the raw speed of these other women. Why? Because it is all in the head!

Before this race, after winning the previous two 48h World Championships, I was worried, what if I loose. How I would handle it. But you know what? I'm at piece with what I achieved here, with my 3rd place and team gold, with 405 km / 252 mi which is a 40k+ / 25mi+ personal best for me. I'm even proud of myself. 6th place woman of all time. And I'm excited for how much more I can do.

See you all in Poland next May!