There is no dispute that Eliud Kipchoge is the greatest living marathon runner and quite possibly the finest long distance runner of all time but is he the greatest endurance athlete on the planet? Possibly not, when you consider the extraordinary accomplishments of Sandra Brown (70) from Dorset – pictured above smashing two world records in Belfast.
Sandra Brown (Surrey Walking Club) turned 70 in April and this astonishing athlete has recently been recognised as the world's most prolific 100-miler, with more than 200 official competitions of 100 miles completed on tracks, roads and trails in all formats! Her 200th race milestone was passed during the Dublin to Belfast 107-mile run in March this year.
Having moved into a new age group, Sandra recently set new W70 world bests for running 100 miles and 24 hours with 21:15:33 for 100 miles and 182.62 kms/113.50 miles for 24-hours, while competing in the 10th Energia24 in Victoria Park, Belfast on 23-24 June.
This was Sandra's 204th finish at 100 miles in total. Belfast was her 7th event of 100 miles or more this year, and her third in 4 weeks! As Sandra said afterwards: "I like to keep busy and do all types of events, running, walking, off-road".
Sandra's achievement supplants the previously recognised world best of 176 events of 100 miles by American Ed 'The Jester' Ettinghausen. The Jester from California is still smiling, though, as he retains his world record for the most 100-milers in one year – 40! The Jester's reaction to discovering he did not actually own the record for 100 milers was typical of the respect between fellow ultra-runners: “Definitely, Sandra should be heralded as the most prolific 100-mile race-walker/runner of all time. My (jester's) hat is off to her.”
News of Sandra's exploit has even reached Utah and the keyboard of highly respected ultra-running podcaster, blogger and historian Davy Crockett, who penned a wonderful tribute to Sandra and her equally amazing husband of nearly 50 years, Richard Brown. Sandra and Richard are two of just 15 remarkable athletes worldwide who can claim to have completed 100 miles in organised events more than 100 times.
Davy Crockett's detailed blog featuring Sandra and Richard Brown is available here