Finding a Groove: An Interview With Camille Herron About Her 6-Day World Record at the 2024 lululemon FURTHER Event

The U.S.’s Camille Herron broke the 6-day world record at the 2024 lululemon FURTHER event.

By on March 20, 2024 | Comments

Camille Herron of the U.S. has set yet another world record, this time the women’s 6-day world record by running 560.330 miles (901.764 kilometers) at the 2024 lululemon FURTHER event in La Quinta, California.

The race was held on a 2.55-mile loop around Lake Cahuilla made up of largely dirt. Ten women, all lululemon-sponsored athletes, started the event, which was held between March 6 and 12. New Zealand’s Sandra Barwick set the previous record of 549.063 miles (883.631 kilometers) in Australia in 1990.

In this interview, Camille outlines her eating and sleeping, what went wrong with her body and what didn’t, what she learned during her first six-day effort, what makes her a genetic outlier, and what records she’d like to go for next.

[Editor’s Note: The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.]

Camille Herron - 2024 lululemon FURTHER - 6 day world record - 2

Camille Herron on her way to setting the 6-day world record at the 2024 lululemon FURTHER Ultramarathon. Photo courtesy of lululemon.

iRunFar: Camille [Herron], congratulations on your new 6-day world record: 560 miles, 901 kilometers. That’s a really long way.

Camille Herron: It was a really long way. I felt like after a couple of days, the miles just kind of melted away and the days blended together. I felt like I was taking it 100 miles at a time after a period. [laughs] It’s just all a daze right now, and I’m still trying to process it all.

iRunFar: And probably will be for quite a while. Not just how grand an accomplishment that was, but the actual doing it. Does it feel like an entirely different level than a 24-hour, 48-hour kind of event?

Herron: Yeah. I kind of mentioned on social media that it felt like internally my body was shutting down, and it went beyond the typical muscle and brain fatigue that you get from a shorter race distance. I felt like my internal organs were losing control, between my bladder and my bowels.

Talking to the medics during the race, they said that’s what happens is the body starts to prioritize the legs and the brain, and the organs just lose control. I just had to let go. I had to let go of trying to control everything, and just focus on continuing to move forward and achieve the records. Things got really crazy out there. [laughs]

iRunFar: We’ll get into some of that depending on how much you’re willing to share. You’ve set out for these multi-day events before, but this event was set up for six days. That was your intention from the start. How did you set [things] up? You can’t have a pace, a plan the whole way, but if you have to visualize, here’s what I’m going to try to do early on versus later, do you feel like you went out hot? You set a 48-hour USATF American road record, well off your 48-hour best. How did that actually feel? Was that Camille under control?

Herron: [laughs] Yeah, having worked with the researchers, with Trent Stellingwerff and his group up in Canada, they had figured out where my optimal running economy and fat metabolism was at, which is between about 100-mile and 24-hour effort. So, looking on the surface, probably all the multi-day runners are looking at me like, why is she going out so fast? That’s way too fast. But that was actually optimized for my own physiology to go out at that pace. So, I had confidence that I was going at the optimal starting pace for myself.

I know that going over time, having done 48 hours, the body just eventually finds its groove to sustain for the multi-days. So, it takes about 36 hours for your body to kind of settle and to find that groove. But you have to go through this chaotic first 36 hours where you’re going out fast, and your body breaks itself down. So things were pretty chaotic those first 36 hours. But I felt like after about a day and a half is when my body settled and started to flow a bit more the rest of the way.

iRunFar: So, that’s really interesting to hear. Obviously, things probably got chaotic toward the end in a different way, but how is it chaotic? Because you’d almost think you know rationally you’re going out at a reasonable pace for you. So, what is chaotic, or what’s not? What isn’t settled in that first 36 hours?

Herron: I felt like I knew maybe within the first half day that I was going to have to pivot my goals, just given the course, conditions, and circumstances. This was not an ideal course. It was mostly dirt and gravel, and it was extremely hot during the day, and we had rain and wind during the first two nights. So, it was really, really challenging. It was unlike your typical 6-day quiet Sri Chinmoy race in a park. I mean, it was a science experiment. We had blood draws and urine, and all these different biometrics were being measured on us.

It was a lot of stress and chaos that was atypical for a race. I felt like at the start of the race I had to be like, ‘Okay, I’m probably going out a little bit too hot and heavy.’ I need to pivot my goals and be a bit more methodical. I had already strategized with my dietitian to break the race down into four-hour segments where I was taking small meals every four hours. I was very consistent about taking breaks every four hours to get in more voluminous types of food. But between that, I was trying to sip my carbohydrates. Taking gels, and different sports drinks in between.

I felt like the first 48 hours were pretty on point with what I’d hoped. But obviously going for six days is an extreme endeavor, and things got chaotic after that.

2024 lululemon Further - Camille Herron

Camille Herron breaking records at the 2024 lululemon FURTHER event. Photos courtesy of lululemon.

iRunFar: You said for the first 36 hours you hadn’t settled in. You’re settling in the latter half of day two. How long are you in that, like, ‘Oh, I’m in my groove. I’m feeling alright. Everything’s just clicking.’ How long did that last?

Herron: I felt like I had maybe about a day and a half where I felt like things were flowing pretty well.

I know during my 48-hour race I had bladder issues, where I mentioned it just feels like your body just stops trying to control your bladder, and you’re just peeing all the time. I was already starting to experience that on day two.

I also started my period on day two, which we were expecting to happen. And so being in perimenopause, things are a little bit more challenging because I’m really affected by my PMS and my menstrual cramps, and how it impacts my digestion and my bladder and all that.

So, not only am I trying to deal with the normal challenges of an ultra, but I’m having to manage my period, my bladder losing control, and then just trying to be as stable as possible. And be like, ‘Okay, just treat it like I settled at 36 hours. Let’s just keep going.’

But I feel like the days kind of flowed together. And by about the fourth day, I felt like I reached a point where my body was really settled and in balance, but my metabolism just kicked into overdrive and I just became ravenously hungry.

iRunFar: Really?

Herron: Yeah. I mean it was really kind of strange because I felt like I was pretty good about getting in protein and eating these small meals throughout the race, but I just hit a point where I just literally just wanted to indulge in all the doughnuts and tacos I could. [laughs]


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A post shared by Camille Herron (@runcamille)

iRunFar: Wow. Isn’t that quite different from when you race shorter distance-based ultras or even a one-day [race] where I assume in those races, sometimes the eating gets more challenging as it goes along. Is that correct?

Herron: Yeah, I don’t think you can even compare the shorter races to the multi-days. I feel like with the shorter races, you can stay pretty consistent with gels, or sports drink, or maybe the odd thing that you feel like you’re craving. But multi-days, you go to whole-food meals.

I think of myself as being like a battery in that you’re always trying to top off your battery and not let it get run down too much. I felt like by the fourth day, I just got really, really hungry. And I just wanted to start eating more snacks, doughnuts, and tacos. Just feed me all the food.

iRunFar: So even if your bladder and your bowels aren’t doing so hot, your stomach itself, the upper gastrointestinal tract is hanging in there the whole time.

Herron: Oh, yeah. I mean, I never had issues eating food. My appetite was there the whole time. I only puked once during the race. And I think it was on day one. After that, every time I ate a meal, the food settled really well, and I kept going. But it felt like, in terms of muscle control, my bowels, my bladder, my body just said, ‘The heck with you.’

iRunFar: And I think I read something and I experienced it myself, but your mouth. Probably your lips and mouth probably don’t fare so well as time goes on? How do you manage that?

Herron: This is something I’ve never experienced before. I had no problem eating food. Every time I ate a meal, I got the food down. I felt really good. But it’s a stress to your mouth and your lips. We’re running in the sun and it’s really hot during the day, and I kept trying to apply sunscreen on my lips. My lips got sunburned. I’d have to talk to more multi-day people, how do you keep your mouth from being on fire and getting mouth fatigue?

iRunFar: Did you get mouth sores as well?

Herron: My lips pretty much got sunburned. It just hurts right now to try and eat, or trying to consume hot foods or spicy foods.

iRunFar: Or whiskey.

Herron: Yeah, like even whiskey has been a bit spicy to consume, and so I’ve literally been drinking a lot of things with a straw. [laughs]

iRunFar: Oh. Jameson with a straw, that’s been tried?

Herron: Oh yeah, I had to go buy a box of straws.

iRunFar: So, you’re having those problems, but your stomach is holding up. How are your legs holding up this time?

Herron: Yeah. My legs were great. They had a biomechanics tent set up on the other side of the course. And they were shocked I only had one lap where I walked through the plate. And the other 219 laps I ran through the tent. They were amazed that even on day six, I was still running.

I was still springing. I was still running. I felt like my legs were feeling pretty good. There was obviously a lot of swelling that I had to deal with, and we had to keep modifying my gear, and my shoes, and my socks to accommodate all that swelling. But I would say my feet are the best part of me right now.

iRunFar: Wow. So, you didn’t end up getting any major blisters or foot problems along the way?

Herron: My feet look really, really good. And I had Tonya Olson, who co-wrote the book, “Fixing Your Feet.” She was part of my crew, and so we did a lot of preventative taping on my toes before the race. As my feet started to swell, we just started cutting different parts of the shoes to accommodate that swelling. She applied tape in a couple of places. And my feet actually held up really well. In fact, I’ve been able to get out and get some walks in since the event, so I’m feeling pretty good with my feet.

iRunFar: Nice. And running-wise you said you kept running, I assume as is natural, even if you feel like you’re running at the same effort, the pace does decrease over time. Please tell me that happens with you as well.

Herron: For sure. I don’t even know what pace I was going at, but I still had a spring in my step.

iRunFar: That’s awesome.

Herron: Yeah, it was pretty amazing.

iRunFar: Sleep has to be a big factor, both planning for it and adapting when you can and can’t sleep. What was your plan for sleep going in?

Herron: Yeah, from talking with our sleep expert that we had for our team, I planned to sleep at some point during the night, maybe for a couple of hours, and then to also nap during the day. What I found through the event is that I just had to work with my body when I felt tired. From talking to Trent, because we had all these biometrics monitoring us, he said I hardly slept any during the race. It was really shocking how little sleep I got.

I actually preferred running at nighttime versus the day. Well, I was running most of the time, but I was logging a lot of my miles at nighttime when it was a lot cooler and calmer. And, in fact, my teammate Leah [Yingling] and I kind of became the nightcrawlers. [laughs]

iRunFar: It’s kind of magical running at night, isn’t it?

Herron: It really was. My favorite time was running at 3:00 a.m. Me and Leah out there pounding the miles. [laughs]

Leah Yingling - 2024 lululemon FURTHER - 400 miles

Leah Yingling, Camille’s fellow nighgtcrawler, during the event. Photo courtesy of lululemon.

iRunFar: There was probably excitement at different times during the day, like when 48 hours strikes and you just set a record and those milestones.

Herron: Yeah.

iRunFar: It’s probably just the bare-bones crew at three in the morning, isn’t it?

Herron: Yeah, but I loved it. My favorite time. I’m a night runner, I’m a night owl. The night portion was my favorite. So even my crew would be sleeping at night and Conor [Holt] would be dozing off and I’m out there like, cranking out the miles.

iRunFar: As somebody gets sleep deprived, mental acuity quickly diminishes, for everybody. How did you deal with that? How do you offload tasks or checklists? How do you make sure that you’re on track and on task?

Herron: I don’t know. I think I’m just naturally good at running sleep-deprived. I never had any hallucinations. I was pretty good about whenever I felt I was reaching a point where I really needed to lay down and recharge my brain, that I would lay down. Most of my sleeps were between 30 minutes and 90 minutes. And my crew was timing my sleep whenever I got my sleep. I could literally just pop off the table and get going again.

I’m used to running at night. It felt really natural for me. And then I guess on the last night, there were a couple of times that I popped some Ouzo and Coke. So that kind of helped to settle, especially with my bowels being really spastic. So, I felt much better. Just being a bit sleep-deprived and taking the Coke and Ouzo.

iRunFar: You have your crew and this whole team there. Tell me what that was like and how much they help.

Herron: Oh, man. I felt like everybody on our crew had some sort of pivotal role. It was magical, really, because I felt like everybody played a certain critical part.

We had Tonya who’s a physiotherapist. She was a lifesaver for my feet.

We had Scott Kummer, who you may have heard of him from [the podcast] Ten Junk Miles. He was kind of my go-to guy to get food. He went and did many, many taco runs. I probably had at least three tacos a day, sometimes more. So, he was the guy who went back whenever I was craving it.

Then, obviously, my husband Conor.

I had two people from Australia who were part of the Sri Chinmoy team that had helped me with my 48-hour record.

Then I had Conor’s sister Sinead, who was managing my social media, and helping Conor manage a lot of things.

Kevin McGinnis is another guy that helped crew me before with some of my other world records. And he’s kind of a bit of an oddball that I’ve known for a long time, but him and Conor get along really well.

iRunFar: What are they doing for you? What are the highlights of you interacting with them along the way?

Herron: [laughs] Oh, gosh, I don’t even know. They were just so positive, and I felt like every person was there when I needed them for something.

I really liked when Martin [Fryer], the last couple of days, we were trying to kind of pivot my goals because things were getting really crazy. And Martin kind of laid it out like this is the number of laps you need to get to 500 miles. So just helping to break down. How do you eat the elephant? Eat the elephant one bite at a time. So, Martin’s really methodical, and he kind of broke it down lap by lap. So that really helped me to mentally be like, ‘Okay, I’m going to take it four laps at a time and then take a break and then another four laps.’ And Martin’s a multi-day runner. He was the guy who timed my 48-hour world record. He’s run 433 kilometers for 48 hours. So, he understands the whole multi-day thing.

iRunFar: You had some specialists on your team, but you also had a lot of experience in terms of 48 hours and beyond, which is a big difference going from 48 hours to six days.

Herron: Yeah, Susan Marshall. She’s completed the Sri Chinmoy 3,100 Mile. So, she had things. I was eating cucumbers and peppermint tea. Weird. She’s more into the holistic medicine type stuff. She had kind of weird things that she was throwing at me. I rarely ever eat cucumbers, and, I tell you, I’m totally hooked on cucumbers now. [laughs]

iRunFar: Something you normally wouldn’t think about necessarily having during an ultra.

Herron: Yeah.

iRunFar: I saw maybe one crew mistake along the way. Who poured that beer [referring to a heady beer Camille had posted a photo of] and how are you going to train them?

Herron: [laughs] That was Conor. Conor got sleep-deprived. I joked that by the end I was taking over the bartending duties. [laughs]


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A post shared by Camille Herron (@runcamille)

iRunFar: Did you have more beers or tacos during the run?

Herron: Tacos.

iRunFar: Okay, so not too many beers.

Herron: Yeah, yeah, we were trying to be pretty chill with the beer, but I was doing the bartending by the end of the race.

iRunFar: Funny. What was your favorite memory or moment from the event?

Herron: It was probably just the finish. I mean, my song they were playing for me was Madonna’s “Vogue.” And, so, when I finally finished, and they were playing “Vogue,” and they got me on the mic. It was a dream come true. I’m channeling Madonna. And I’m dancing. I mean, it was just so fun.

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Camille Herron on her way to setting the 6-day world record at the 2024 lululemon FURTHER Ultramarathon. Photo courtesy of lululemon.

iRunFar: You didn’t just collapse in a pile on the ground. You were having fun in the moment.

Herron: I started dancing. Yeah, it’s like my nine-year-old self came out at the finish.

iRunFar: Awesome. What are you proudest of from that whole six days?

Herron: That’s a great question. It’s probably just that I kept enduring. I didn’t give up on seeing the records happen. It took everybody there to make it possible. It wasn’t just me. They were calling me their little unicorn. [laughs] It really took an army of people there to bring out that magic.

Obviously, it’s a very difficult process to ratify records. Especially this course. This was a dirt/trail/gravel course, and trying to certify a course like this was monumental. So, I really give credit to all the USATF people, the Dave McGillivray group. I mean, there were a lot of USATF and IAU [International Association of Ultrarunners] people there, and it was a monumental effort to try and ratify all this. And then also drug testing. I was drug tested three times: before the race, during, after the 48-hour record, and then after the race. Then, they also drug tested all 10 athletes before and after the race. So, if you can imagine, there’s just so many parts to the event.

I’m really grateful to lululemon and all the people involved that will make these records possible.

iRunFar: So, you set a 6-day world record, but it’s the first time you’ve run for six days, what did you learn?

Herron: Oh, man. I know my multi-day friends are probably cringing at how I paced, and I’ve seen all the criticisms, and people talking about how lavish the event was. I’m an introvert. If it were up to me, I would just run quiet loops in a park with hardly any people there and just break records. I mean that would be me. I think that there’s a lot to digest from this event, and I’m trying to optimize the variables the next time I do six days. And I definitely want to do six days again.

iRunFar: You beat me to my next question. Do you want to another shot at this 6-day?

Herron: Absolutely. I think that this was a very atypical event and circumstances. We had a science experiment happening. I was having blood draws every morning. I was having my urine taken. I really felt like all these people were converging on me the entire time, trying to take whatever data they could from my body. I was swallowing temperature pills every single day so that they could monitor my body temperature. This was not a typical race. I can’t wait until the next time I do six days and I don’t have to deal with blood draws and urine.

iRunFar: Will that be a condition of you doing another six-day race, fewer moving parts?

Herron: For sure. Just have less people and less demands on my body. But this is exciting, all the science that’s going to come out.

iRunFar: On you running six days, what do you think is possible? Are we talking 600 miles? We talking more? I mean, 561 [miles] would be a new world record, but you’ve got to be dreaming a little bit in there.

Herron: Absolutely. I think I can break the men’s world record. I think that we know enough people in the world now that I think we can work on optimizing all the variables and create the optimal situation to go for the men’s record. Obviously, there was a lot of time wasted during this event. It was just such a learning curve with my first six-day race that I think we can work on optimizing all the variables. I definitely believe I have a shot to go after the men’s world record.

iRunFar: You’re not looking at that 561, you’re not looking at 600. You’re talking 644 miles. [The record held by Yiannis Kouros.]

Herron: Yeah. I think at least 600 miles, at least 1,000 kilometers [621 miles], is possible. It’s amazing. Even at this event, I pretty much only ran for five days, and then I took it a bit easy on day six. So, I think I could have tried to squeeze out 600 miles, or maybe even 1,000 kilometers if I wanted to, but my body was in a really, really dire situation and I just kind of gave myself a bit of grace on that sixth day. But I definitely think it’s possible to get to the men’s world record and exceed it, so I think that that’s something that we’ll just try to aim for in the future.

iRunFar: What’s next for you in sort of the shorter term before you hit six days again? Do you have any summer running plans?

Herron: Yeah, I have so many things that I want to pursue, and it’s just really a matter of what my mind and heart want to go after. I really want to step down in distance. I’ve wanted to go after the 50 mile, 100k, [records] for a really long time. Ever since I did my first interview with you in 2015. I think I still have it in me to break seven hours for 100k. So that’s something that’s a really high priority for me, especially being in my early 40s now. I think I’m pretty much in the prime of my running career. I want to give myself that chance to try and break seven hours, especially since shoes are much better than they were when I first entered the sport, so we’ll see what happens.

iRunFar: I’ll be looking forward to that. You mentioned the studies that were going on and there’s all this data, and you’re a biologist by training. What exciting science do you think is going to come out of those six days?

Herron: I can’t speak to the whole group yet and what they’re going to find, but I know with what we found with myself that I’m definitely a genetic outlier. Conor says, “No shit.”

iRunFar: Yeah. Thank you, Conor. [laughs]

Herron: We started doing testing last year, and I’m a genetic outlier. My fat metabolism and running economy are at a much faster pace than most people. I’m naturally that way. This is not how I eat or how I train. I’m naturally a good fat metabolizer. Trent says it’s probably because I’m mostly slow-twitch muscle fibers. My lactate threshold and VO2 to max are pretty comparable to other elite marathoners. But what sets me apart is that I’m mostly probably slow-twitch muscle fibers, so I have a greater fat metabolism than even top ultrarunners. That’s why I’m able to go for days and days, and my body is just naturally good at fat metabolism.

I think we have to wait and see what comes out of all the research, but I know with myself that I definitely have some genetic things going on with me that make me the unicorn that I am.

iRunFar: I look forward to seeing what that data looks like. It’s pretty exciting. Well, Camille, thank you for your time and congrats again on your tremendous six days of running. Wow.

Herron: Thank you, Bryon.

Camille Herron - 2024 lululemon FURTHER - 6 day world record - 1

Camille Herron on her way to setting the 6-day world record at the 2024 lululemon FURTHER Ultramarathon. Photo courtesy of lululemon.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.