Home Running An Interview With Charlie Lawrence Following His 50-Mile World Report on the 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile – iRunFar

An Interview With Charlie Lawrence Following His 50-Mile World Report on the 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile – iRunFar

An Interview With Charlie Lawrence Following His 50-Mile World Report on the 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile – iRunFar


On November 11, 2023, on the Tunnel Hill 50 Mile, up-and-coming runner Charlie Lawrence entered the historical past books by breaking the males’s 50-mile world document in a time of 4:48:21.

This time beats the earlier document of 4:50:08, set by Jim Walmsley in 2019, inserting Lawrence proper up there with among the greatest ultrarunners on the planet.

We caught up with him to study a bit bit about his background, concerning the build-up to this document try, and to listen to how issues performed out on the day.

[Editor’s Note: The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.]

Charlie Lawrence - 50 mile world record - 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile - photo 2

A fast second of assist for Charlie Lawrence en path to a brand new 50-mile world document on the 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile. Picture: Zack Lever/@TrailLive

iRunFar: Congratulations on the brand new 50-mile world document. You had some sturdy outcomes earlier than this on the street within the marathon and half marathon distance. May you briefly discuss us by means of your background as a runner?

Charlie Lawrence: I coach about 14 or 15 individuals, and I’ve been within the sport for a very long time. My mother was my highschool cross-country coach, and my dad was a observe coach once I was born. Lengthy story brief, my dad and mom bought divorced once I was in first grade. So, in second grade, it was both go to cross nation and observe with my mother or go to daycare.

It developed from there all through highschool. [My coach through college] is one in every of my greatest buddies, greatest mentors within the sport, and I actually wouldn’t have gotten the shot I did after school with out him. I used to be not a rockstar in school, I used to be respectable, All Area in cross nation.

[Editor’s Note: Lawrence ran cross country at the University of Minnesota, an NCAA Division I school.]

We set our eyes on simply getting a half marathon proper after school. He continued to teach me after which in spring 2018 I did the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in Minnesota, only a couple hours up the street from Minneapolis [where I lived then], and ran 64:14. On the time I used to be like, that’s a reasonably stable basis with the half distance.

Everybody began asking, “Are you going to run a marathon?” I stared to consider a U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, and the usual at the moment was 2:19. I’m like, yeah, it could be a cool form of bucket record factor, simply to qualify for the trials. So, we selected the USATF Marathon Highway Championships [at the California International Marathon] in 2018 to be my shot at a qualifier time.

I used to be working a full-time job in ticket gross sales and likewise ending my graduate diploma, so it was a reasonably busy fall and summer time. I bought it completed in 2:16:10 there as my marathon debut. I say this so much now, however 2:16:10 in 2018 was so much higher than it’s these days. It was nonetheless the early growth of tremendous sneakers and all that.

I’ve now been out right here [living and running in Boulder, Colorado,] for 4 years or so and had some fairly common outcomes, honestly, simply been getting wholesome. I used to be out all of 2022 with a stress fracture after which had some respectable outcomes for positive. I suppose that’s the lengthy story brief.

iRunFar: You’re nonetheless fairly new to lengthy distances then. Was this your first extremely or had you completed 50 kilometers earlier than?

Lawrence: I’ve completed 50k. Off the bat and fairly lucky, an individual who I owe a ton of credit score to, is Des Linden. I knew her husband Ryan first, however we adopted one another on Instagram and she or he simply mentioned messaging backwards and forwards, “In case you want something, let me know.” We stored in contact over a pair beers and occasional right here and there, some runs.

Then in 2021 she talked about, with races canceled [because of the COVID-19 pandemic], that she needed to take a stab on the 50k world document, and I used to be like, “Hey, if I might help in any method, let me know. I can tempo you if that was one thing you’d be concerned about.” And she or he was like, “Properly yeah, I’ll want a pacer for it.” So, it simply labored out that, already being a good friend of hers, and as somebody I look as much as so much, it was a fantastic alternative. I paced her for that 50k [where she set the then 50k world record].

I ran the USATF 50k Highway Championships seven weeks after that and blew up. Truthfully, I didn’t respect the space. I went for the win method too early, began working 5-minute miles, a few sub-5s, and simply blew up. I ran 3:09 or one thing. I used to be fairly frankly fairly embarrassed with it. However once more, a studying expertise, you’ve bought to respect it. So, to an extent, that was my extremely distance expertise. I’d run, I suppose, 5 marathons. However my favourite day of the week is Sunday future.

iRunFar: With the 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile, in your social media, you nailed your colours to the mast by calling it out as a document try beforehand. How lengthy had you had this concept to attempt to break the 50-mile world document?

Lawrence: In truth, about two years. In 2021, I’m unsure if you understand who Fernando Cabada is, however he’s somebody I’ve recognized since my first race post-collegiately. I watched him win the USTAF Marathon Highway Championships again in 2008 once I was in center college. He’s somebody I can bounce stuff off. I used to be having dinner with Fernando in 2021, that fall, and he was performing some extremely stuff himself. I advised him I needed to go for the 50-mile American document [which was also the world record].

Sadly, I got here down with a grade-four stress fracture that January. In order that positively put it on maintain. However he’s the one who was like, “You are able to do it, it is best to do it at Tunnel Hill.” I by no means heard of the race earlier than that. It’s form of been on my radar, I suppose. This aim actually got here up two years in the past.

iRunFar: The document you broke was set by Jim Wamsley. Did it make it extra intimidating, or extra interesting, to have such a giant title connected to the document?

Lawrence: Truthfully, not intimidating in any respect. Some individuals positively giggle at it and there’s positively part of overconfidence on my facet due to how, I don’t need to say easy, however I might on any given day go run 30 miles at 5:40 per mile tempo in Boulder. There’s half that’s mentally — it’s solely 20 miles, it is advisable do 20 miles extra at that tempo, and if you issue within the altitude. So actually not intimidated in any respect.

I knew it was a tall activity, so you bought to go do it. My largest day ever in follow was 35 miles, so there’s nonetheless the unknown of 15 miles, and for lots of people 15 miles continues to be a future, so that you’re stacking so much on it. However no, positively simply tremendous, tremendous assured in myself and the work I put in the previous few months. Nearly overly assured, honestly, however on the similar time that’s how I get for these races. Simply actually consider I can do it.

iRunFar: Your pacing technique — you appeared to begin slower and ease into it. Was that the plan and the way did that work out?

Lawrence: Truly, it was a large number, however the [the published splits from the race] have been method off.

iRunFar: Oh, okay! What really occurred then?

Lawrence: Yeah, I had some huge cash within the financial institution. I used to be beneath 5:40 for each mile [in the first half of the race.] My first mile at 5:40 was mile 25, it was 5:40 even. So, I had quite a lot of time within the financial institution.

iRunFar: Have been there any low factors within the second half or have been you capable of maintain that effort pretty properly?

Lawrence: No, it bought laborious. It bought actually laborious. I needed to actually decide to it and keep on it.

Comparatively, it’s a flat, quick course — however there’s a stretch from roughly mile 30 to mile 38 or 39, it’s all uphill, it’s nothing steep however you’re climbing your entire time. Which is nice, however on the similar time I have already got 30-ish miles in my legs at 5:40 tempo. I needed to put quite a lot of effort in to take care of tempo up that.

Then you definitely flip round, you’ve got this downhill going again house after you undergo the tunnel, it’s nice. Clearly you’re working downhill towards the end the final eight, 9 miles. However at that time, I’d caught to it actually laborious for 30 to 40 miles to verify I had it. My quads have been fairly fried from climbing and the 40 miles prior, so working downhill didn’t really feel nice.

iRunFar: What’s subsequent for you? Have you ever bought the rest in thoughts?

Lawrence: Quick time period, I’ve the Olympic Marathon Trials developing in 80 days. That’s actually the plan, to perhaps get a quick half, to run the Houston Half Marathon to work on some velocity.

Past that, a giant aim is the USATF 100k Highway Championships developing, so far as I do know, subsequent fall. I’d like to go get a title there.

I do know issues change with [the International Association of Ultrarunners] and every part, however we’d like to additionally attempt to chase a U.S. 50k title down the street, make a worlds staff there.

And to be aggressive on the marathon, as a result of I feel being environment friendly on the marathon and having the ability to run 5:10 per mile and even faster helps exponentially with having the ability to run 5:40 to five:50 tempo for a 50 miles, or 5:50 to 6-minute tempo, for 100k. So completely if you are able to do that, you’re competing for world medals.

iRunFar: You might have tons to sit up for. Thanks a lot for taking the time to speak, and I hope you recuperate properly.

Lawrence: Thanks.



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