50K a Day? Revelations From Candice Burt’s Epic Running Streak – Women’s Running

50K a Day? Revelations From Candice Burt’s Epic Running Streak  Women’s Running

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On Monday in Boulder, Colorado, the predawn temperature hovered around minus 5 degrees and peaked at 9 degrees by mid-day, making it the coldest day of winter so far.

Despite the frigid conditions, Candice Burt laced up her shoes and headed out for a long run on the local network of flat trails. A very long run.

Because she’s been on an unthinkable running streak and wanted to keep it intact, there was never any question that Burt would get out the door for what has become her typical daily run—even if it meant wearing ski goggles to protect her face and heated socks to protect her toes, which suffered frostbite the day before.

Her run streak is anything but typical. As of January 31, Burt has run at least 50K for 87 consecutive days, for a total of 2,820 miles since November 5—an average of 32 miles per day. It’s a feat that will almost certainly become an official world record, once Guinness World Records verifies the data and details she’s been meticulously collecting every day.

“When I find something that sounds interesting, I usually just go for it and deal with the consequences later.”

Believe it or not, the streak started on an excitable impulse not long after Burt finished directing the Moab 240, the last of the 10 Destination Trail races she puts on every year.

“I just kind of wanted a fun challenge,” says Burt, 41, who moved to Boulder in September. “I usually go on some kind of adventure in November because that’s when my birthday is. I thought I would go after the marathon streak maybe [which is now at 150 consecutive days], because that sounded pretty cool. But when I realized there was an ultra streak, I was pretty intrigued. And I kind of decided on a whim to start it—which is something that both plays in my favor, but also can be a bit problematic, too. When I find something that sounds interesting, I usually just go for it and deal with the consequences later.”

Surprisingly, despite running nearly 2,800 miles over the past three months, there haven’t been a lot of consequences. She deals with fatigue on a regular basis, but the only minor overuse ailments have been minor bouts of Achilles tendonitis, back of the knee immobility and pain, big toe swelling, back and shoulder pain, and osteitis pubis (pubic symphysis pain) that cleared up as she kept running on flat trails around Boulder. (She mostly runs in Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% marathon racing shoes and occasionally Altra Torin and Lone Peak models.)

Burt isn’t raising money or drawing attention to a cause. She’s just running—relentlessly. So what has she learned running all of those miles? Have there been any great revelations?

“One thing I realized pretty early on was how little I needed to be happy,” she says. “I realized that just the simplicity of doing something I loved during the day and observing nature is extremely gratifying. It reminds you that you don’t need all these material things. You don’t need the most beautiful home. You don’t need the best job. If you take time to get out and move and do what gives you joy, it sounds simple, but it’s truly a beautiful concept. It makes you realize that, if there’s something you love to do, then you should try to do more of it.”

Burt typically starts early in the morning as her daughters, Marina, 17, and Stella, 15, are about to head to high school for the day. Every run requires numerous photos, videos, and data for Guinness record-verification process, not to mention a witness over the age of 17. She posts some of it to Instagram with a daily update that includes thought-provoking revelations and quotes from famous people.

Burt says she’s grateful for the mentorship of Alyssa Clark, who in 2020 ran 26.2 miles for 95 consecutive days to set a since-broken women’s record for consecutive marathons. Clark reached out to Burt early on for tips on how to properly manage her recovery, create documentation logs, and a variety of expectations.

“One of the things I told her is that it’s interesting the reaction that some people will have to it. Some people are not super nice,” Clark says. “They think you’re overdoing it or just like you’re being unhealthy or you don’t understand your own body. We spend a lot of time being able to understand what we can do and putting our best foot forward. Everyone has their opinion and that’s fine. Just keep doing what you’re doing. She seems to be just absolutely crushing right now, and I am 100 percent in awe.’”

Burt is an experienced elite-level trail runner who has set a handful of fastest known times and has been racing ultras since 2010. Needless to say, the kind of streak she’s undertaken is an extreme endeavor, not something that most runners should consider. It’s working well for her, but anyone ramping up their mileage or getting involved in ultrarunning should consider working with a coach, following a training plan, and consulting with a general healthcare practitioner.

A woman and her pacer run in Hawaii on rooted trail. They are smiling and the forest is green.
The Hurt 100 course. (Candice Burt)

Hurting After the HURT 100

Burt says the segment of the streak that’s been the most difficult, so far, were the days before, during, and after the HURT 100 race in Hawaii. She ran the morning before flying from Denver to Honolulu, but her flight was delayed, so instead of landing at about 8:30 P.M. as scheduled, she arrived at about 2 A.M. There were no rental cars available at that hour, so she just decided to run to get that day’s 50K out of the way. “It was one of those moments where I said, Alright, I guess I’m just gonna run,” she says. “It was the thing that made the most sense at that hour.” After clicking off 32 miles on roads and sidewalks near Honolulu, she returned to the airport, picked up her rental car, checked into her hotel room, and slept for several hours.

The next day, during the race—which is considered to be one of the hardest 100-milers in the U.S. because of humid conditions and relentlessly rough footing—she ran 60 miles on Saturday and 40 more in the early hours of Sunday morning to keep her streak alive. She recorded her sixth HURT finish and placed eighth among women and 30th overall out of 56 finishers (and 127 total runners) in 33 hours, 14 minutes.

But it was the day after that was really menacing to Burt.

“The day after was really rough, probably the hardest day I’ve done so far,” she says. “The fatigue the two days after was intense. My legs just were like lead and I had burned out my quads in the race, so I couldn’t go down anything at all. I couldn’t squat. I couldn’t run very well at all. It was bad.”

It was even more challenging for her pacer, Adam Eckberg, who helped her out by logging 40 miles alongside her during the race, but then had trouble keeping up the next day.

“As hard as it was for me, I think it was harder for him,” she says. “It made me realize, to some degree, the level of what I was accomplishing and what I’d gotten myself to that point. So I was like, I guess I’m not doing too bad. I gave myself a pat on the back that I was able to make it through the day because that was rough.”

Running Toward a World Record

Burt has run 224 miles a week for more than 12 weeks without missing a single day, and she’s done the vast majority of it alone or with one of her dogs. (Eckberg has run with her 8-10 times for parts or all of the daily 50K, while Stella has also helped out by finishing off a few runs with her.) Most of her runs have taken her between 5 and 7 hours, and while she slowed a bit in the two weeks after the race, she says the monotony of it has become routine and, to that point, the streak is easier to keep going than it is to end.

The existing world record for consecutive days of running 50K was set in 2022 by Kirsten Beverley-Waters, who last summer logged 22 straight days to raise awareness for The Trevor Project—the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth. Although that mark surpassed the existing women’s (11 days) and men’s records (21 days), Guinness recognized that mark in a new non-binary category, at Beverley-Waters’s request.

On January 15, Australia runner Erchana Murray-Bartlett completed a streak of 150 consecutive days running the 26.2-mile marathon distance, a mark that could become a new record, once verified, for the most marathons run consecutively by a woman. That surpassed the effort of Kate Jayden, a British runner who set the existing Guinness-sanctioned record of 106 in 2022.

So how long will Burt keep her streak going? She’s not sure, or at least hasn’t declared a definitive end date.

“I have work and kids and there are only so many other things you can do when you’re running like this. That being said, I have my sights set on the new women’s marathon record. I thought it would be kind of cool if the ultra record beat the marathon record. I mean, it’s really not that far off, right? If you think about it, reaching 150 days is just a couple months away.”