Charlie Lawrence, 28 years young hailing from Foley, Minnesota, took the running world by storm this past weekend when he set the 50 Mile World Record at the Tunnel Hill Ultras with an official time of 4:48:20. To put that time in perspective, that's...
- 5:46 mile pace
- 17:55 5K pace
- 1:15:33 half pace
- 2:31 marathon pace
- 2:59:10 50K pace
Pretty, pretty, pretty quick (for very long).
We asked ourselves, what could possibly be going through the mind of someone while they're fighting for a goal requiring nearly five hours of non-stop mental and physical endurance? So we caught up with Charlie to understand just that.
Charlie, tell us a little bit about yourself...
Minnesota Gophers Track & Field/ XC Alum, Got my professional start with Hansons-Brooks in 2019, was with them through the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, moved to Boulder after that and have been training here since. Quick hitters for you - coffee aficionado, long run extraordinaire, the most geriatric 28 year old you’ll ever meet and trophy boyfriend.
Charlie's thoughts at 7 different points in the race...
Resounding you f*cking got this, man. It’s a long race so take it mile by mile, aid station by aid station, and moment by moment.
Finally I am starting to feel decent! I’ve already got 30 seconds or so on the record, so just stay relaxed. First bottle is just over two miles ahead so let's get to that and make sure we down all of it and cash the gel taped to it.
We’re burying this. We’ve got a slight downhill and some actual pavement going into the next bottle in half a mile. Let’s put some extra seconds in.
We’re way, way ahead of schedule, but this is where you have to commit and go to work. It’s 10 miles gradually uphill so if we can put more time down or just maintain 5:48’s we can ride the downhill back to the finish.
Sheeeesh! We’re working to hold 5:50 to 6:00 but we have a lot of time to work with. Next bottle is right after the tunnel and you get to see baby girl for a second. 5 miles to get there—LFG.
LAST 3 MILES
Bonking, legs fried from the hard uphill charge from 28-40 or so, but you’re still under. No pop or power from my quads and my last mile was a 6:13. F*ck! Maybe a quick quad stretch will help, but I don’t know if I will be able to start again if I stop. *stopped for 10 seconds to stretch quads* watch says 7:50 pace since you stopped—gotta get back on it. *few steps later* we back and we’re running low 6 minute pace. This shit is in the bag. Just stay on your feet and get to the finish.
Told you that I was going to do it. Never a doubt.
*Hits the Shooter McGavin celly*
Not gonna lie, with a distance and a pace so aggressive, we were expecting more mental demons, more adversity, but it seems like the very opposite—a near perfect race with supreme confidence the entire way. How'd you get there?
Truthfully, this was a goal I've had for myself since the fall of 2021. I was out all of 2022 with a grade four sacral stress fracture and every day I was cross-training in the pool or on the bike, I grew hungrier towards the goal.
My favorite session is without question the long run—I've been comfortable with it since my early college days. Back from injury, I was physically and mentally excited to push things to a new personal level. Sure, I may have been overly confident in chasing this record, but it came from years of accumulated work being able to hold the pace for long distances and finally being able to do the thing I love again. I left with a world record to my name and I really didn’t expect anything less.