When two-time gold medal winner, Camille Herron, prepared to start the Cowtown Ultra Marathon Sunday, she knew something wasn’t right.
The Ultra Marathon consists of 50 kilometers, 31.6 miles. The race is 5.4 miles more than a regular marathon.
The Cowtown added the Ultra Marathon in 2008 as a 30-year anniversary celebration. Though it was only supposed to last one year, the popularity generated by the event made it a permanent race.
“The Ultra Marathon is actually one of our fastest growing events, even though it is our smallest event by percentages,” said Cowtown executive director Heidi Swartz.
In 2015, Herron was the World Champion for the 50K and 100K. She planned to run in the Cowtown Ultra Marathon in hopes of beating Janis Klecker’s 1983 American record for the 50K.
This was Herron’s first time participating in the Ultra Marathon. Though Herron planned on making her debut in the Ultra last year, the race was cancelled due to snow and ice.
“We will see if there will be a record or not,” said Swartz. “Camille Herron from Oklahoma is trying to set the national record for the Ultra Marathon.”
The route of the Cowtown Ultra Marathon is unique because it allows participants to run on the same route as marathoners, rather than on a trail.
“The runners run with the marathoners all the way up to mile 25 and then they break off and do about 5 miles on their own and then reconnect with the marathoners to finish the race,” said Swartz. “Most ultras aren’t done that way.”
After a three-month race hiatus, Herron kicked off 2016 at the Cowtown 50K.
It was at the 10-mile mark that Herron was forced to withdraw. She said it was due to exhaustion and a lack of training.
“I won the 50K World Championship back in December and I took a break after that,” said Herron. “I probably made the mistake of not racing the past three months so I maybe came into today feeling a bit rusty and just felt flat.”
She said she saw her husband at 10 miles and, in that moment, knew she would not be completing the race.
“This race felt different as I had a sense of overwhelming fatigue and lethargy from the get-go and lack of gusto in my whole body,” said Herron.
Herron will make her trail debut in April and hopes to qualify for the Western States in June, the largest 100-mile run in the United States.
“Running to perform isn’t just about putting in the training, but also, how everything else around you impacts your well-being,” Herron writes on her website.