Desiree Linden breaks the world 50km best in Oregon (© Justin Britton)
Desiree Linden has become the first woman to run 50km in under three hours, breaking the world best with 2:59:54 at a specially-organised event in Oregon, USA, on Tuesday (13).
With that time, the USA's 2018 Boston Marathon champion takes more than seven minutes off the previous world best mark of 3:07:20 which had been set by Britain’s Alyson Dixon when winning the world 50km title in 2019. The previous ratified US record had been Janis Klecker's 3:13:51 set in 1983.
Two-time Olympian Linden is no stranger to running long distances – as well as her many marathons, she completed a 496-mile ‘Destober’ challenge in October which saw her run a mile for each calendar date through the month – but this was her first official ultra-running event.
On a loop course in Oregon, Linden – who has a marathon PB of 2:22:38 set in Boston in 2011 – averaged at a pace of 5:47 per mile for the 31 miles (3:35 per kilometre), clocking 1:15:47 at the half-marathon mark.
Being paced by Charlie Lawrence, her time at 30km was around 1:47:30 and her marathon split was 2:31:13.
Lawrence clocked 2:59:59 for the 50km, while Romania's Adriana Nelson won the marathon in 2:35:26.
The event – named the Brooks Running 50km & Marathon – had been organised by Linden’s sponsor and her agent, Josh Cox, when her original plan of racing the Two Oceans ultramarathon in South Africa was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Jess Whittington for World Athletics