On November 11, 2023, on the Tunnel Hill 50 Mile, up-and-coming runner Charlie Lawrence entered the historical past books by means of breaking the males’s 50-mile global file in a time of four:48:21.
This time beats the earlier file of four:50:08, set by means of Jim Walmsley in 2019, hanging Lawrence proper up there with one of the vital best possible ultrarunners on the earth.
We stuck up with him to be informed just a little bit about his background, in regards to the build-up to this file strive, and to listen to how issues performed out at the day.
[Editor’s Note: The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.]
iRunFar: Congratulations at the new 50-mile global file. You had some robust effects ahead of this at the street within the marathon and part marathon distance. May just you in short communicate us via your background as a runner?
Charlie Lawrence: I trainer about 14 or 15 other folks, and I’ve been within the recreation for a very long time. My mother was once my highschool cross-country trainer, and my dad was once a monitor trainer when I used to be born. Lengthy tale brief, my folks were given divorced when I used to be in first grade. So, in 2d grade, it was once both pass to pass nation and monitor with my mother or pass to daycare.
It advanced from there throughout highschool. [My coach through college] is considered one of my best possible buddies, best possible mentors within the recreation, and I in reality wouldn’t have got the shot I did after school with out him. I used to be now not a rockstar in school, I used to be first rate, All Area in pass 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 part marathon proper after school. He persisted to train me after which in spring 2018 I did the Garry Bjorklund Part 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 sexy forged basis with the part 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 once 2:19. I’m like, yeah, it might be a groovy roughly bucket checklist factor, simply to qualify for the rigors. So, we determined at the USATF Marathon Street Championships [at the California International Marathon] in 2018 to be my shot at a qualifier time.
I used to be running a full-time task in price ticket gross sales and in addition completing my graduate level, so it was once a sexy busy fall and summer season. I were given it completed in 2:16:10 there as my marathon debut. I say this so much now, however 2:16:10 in 2018 was once much better than it’s this present day. It was once nonetheless the early increase of tremendous footwear and all that.
I’ve now been out right here [living and running in Boulder, Colorado,] for 4 years or so and had some beautiful reasonable effects, in truth, simply been getting wholesome. I used to be out all of 2022 with a pressure fracture after which had some first rate effects evidently. I assume that’s the lengthy tale brief.
iRunFar: You’re nonetheless beautiful new to lengthy distances then. Was once this your first extremely or had you completed 50 kilometers ahead of?
Lawrence: I’ve completed 50k. Off the bat and beautiful lucky, an individual who I owe a ton of credit score to, is Des Linden. I knew her husband Ryan first, however we adopted each and every different on Instagram and she or he simply stated messaging backward and forward, “If you wish to have anything else, let me know.” We stored in contact over a pair beers and occasional right here and there, some runs.
Then in 2021 she discussed, with races canceled [because of the COVID-19 pandemic], that she sought after to take a stab on the 50k global file, and I used to be like, “Howdy, if I will assist whatsoever, let me know. I will tempo you if that was once one thing you’d be desirous about.” And she or he was once like, “Smartly yeah, I’ll desire a pacer for it.” So, it simply labored out that, already being a chum of hers, and as any individual I glance as much as so much, it was once a good chance. I paced her for that 50k [where she set the then 50k world record].
I ran the USATF 50k Street Championships seven weeks after that and blew up. In truth, I didn’t admire the space. I went for the win method too early, began operating 5-minute miles, a few sub-5s, and simply blew up. I ran 3:09 or one thing. I used to be fairly frankly beautiful embarrassed with it. However once more, a studying enjoy, you’ve were given to admire it. So, to an extent, that was once my extremely distance enjoy. I’d run, I assume, 5 marathons. However my favourite day of the week is Sunday longer term.
iRunFar: With the 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile, for your social media, you nailed your colours to the mast by means of calling it out as a file strive previously. How lengthy had you had this concept to check out to wreck the 50-mile global file?
Lawrence: Honestly, about two years. In 2021, I’m now not positive if you already know who Fernando Cabada is, however he’s any individual I’ve identified since my first race post-collegiately. I watched him win the USTAF Marathon Street Championships again in 2008 when I used to be in heart college. He’s any individual I will soar stuff off. I used to be having dinner with Fernando in 2021, that fall, and he was once performing some extremely stuff himself. I instructed him I sought after to head for the 50-mile American file [which was also the world record].
Sadly, I got here down with a grade-four pressure fracture that January. In order that unquestionably put it on grasp. However he’s the person who was once like, “You’ll be able to do it, you must do it at Tunnel Hill.” I by no means heard of the race ahead of that. It’s roughly been on my radar, I assume. This purpose in reality got here up two years in the past.
iRunFar: The file you broke was once set by means of Jim Wamsley. Did it make it extra intimidating, or extra interesting, to have this type of giant title connected to the file?
Lawrence: In truth, now not intimidating in any respect. Some other folks unquestionably snort at it and there’s unquestionably part of overconfidence on my aspect on account of how, I don’t wish to say easy, however I may just on any given day pass run 30 miles at 5:40 consistent with mile tempo in Boulder. There’s section that’s mentally — it’s most effective 20 miles, you wish to have to do 20 miles extra at that tempo, and whilst you issue within the altitude. So in reality now not intimidated in anyway.
I knew it was once a tall activity, so you were given to head do it. My largest day ever in follow was once 35 miles, so there’s nonetheless the unknown of 15 miles, and for a large number of other folks 15 miles remains to be a longer term, so that you’re stacking so much on it. However no, unquestionably simply tremendous, tremendous assured in myself and the paintings I installed the previous few months. Virtually overly assured, in truth, however on the identical time that’s how I am getting for those races. Simply really consider I will do it.
iRunFar: Your pacing technique — you looked as if it would get started slower and straightforwardness into it. Was once that the plan and the way did that determine?
Lawrence: In truth, it was once a multitude, however the [the published splits from the race] have been method off.
iRunFar: Oh, good enough! What if truth be told came about 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 once mile 25, it was once 5:40 even. So, I had a large number of time within the financial institution.
iRunFar: Had been there any low issues in the second one part or have been you in a position to carry that effort slightly neatly?
Lawrence: No, it were given arduous. It were given in reality arduous. I needed to in reality decide to it and keep on it.
Moderately, this is a flat, speedy direction — however there’s a stretch from kind of mile 30 to mile 38 or 39, it’s all uphill, it’s not anything steep however you’re mountaineering all of the time. Which is excellent, however on the identical time I have already got 30-ish miles in my legs at 5:40 tempo. I needed to put a large number of effort in to take care of tempo up that.
Then you definitely flip round, you may have this downhill going again house after you pass throughout the tunnel, it’s nice. Clearly you’re operating downhill towards the end the final 8, 9 miles. However at that time, I’d caught to it in reality arduous for 30 to 40 miles to ensure I had it. My quads have been beautiful fried from mountaineering and the 40 miles prior, so operating downhill didn’t really feel nice.
iRunFar: What’s subsequent for you? Have you were given anything in thoughts?
Lawrence: Brief time period, I’ve the Olympic Marathon Trials arising in 80 days. That’s in reality the plan, to perhaps get a quick part, to run the Houston Part Marathon to paintings on some velocity.
Past that, a large purpose is the USATF 100k Street Championships arising, so far as I do know, subsequent fall. I’d love to head get a name there.
I do know issues alternate with [the International Association of Ultrarunners] and the entirety, however we’d like to additionally attempt to chase a U.S. 50k name 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 consistent with mile and even faster is helping 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’ll do this, you’re competing for global medals.
iRunFar: You’ve gotten so much to stay up for. Thank you such a lot for taking the time to talk, and I am hoping you recuperate neatly.