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Charlie Lawrence Sets 50-Mile World Record at 4:48:21

Charlie Lawrence sets a new 50-mile world record in 4:48:21 (to be confirmed) at the 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile in Illinois.

By on November 11, 2023 | Comments

Charlie Lawrence enters into the history books, after setting the 50-mile world record at 4:48:21 (to be confirmed) at the Tunnel Hill 50 Mile in Vienna, Illinois, on November 11, 2023.

The previous record of 4:50:08 was set by Jim Walmsley at the 2019 Hoka One One Project Carbon X event in California.

We’ve now published an in-depth interview with Charlie Lawrence.

Charlie Lawrence - 50 mile world record - 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile

Charlie Lawrence on his way to setting a 50-mile world record of 4:48:21 at 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile in Vienna, Illinois. Photo: Zack Lever/@TrailLive

Lawrence’s effort comes out to an incredible average pace of 5:46 per mile (3:35 per kilometer) over 50 miles (80.47 kilometers).

In an interview with iRunFar, Lawrence described how he set an aggressive pace in the first half of the race to bank some time, before slowing down some at the halfway point: “I was under 5:40 for every mile [in the first half of the race.] My first mile at 5:40 was mile 25, it was 5:40 even. So, I had a lot of time in the bank.” While his pace would slow in the remaining miles, he maintained the average pace needed, resetting the 50-mile world record by 107 seconds, or a little under 2 minutes.

The Tunnel Hill 50 Mile takes place as a double out-and-back on the Tunnel Hill State Trail, a dirt, rails-to-trails trail. The trail — and race — get their name from an iconic tunnel through which the trail passes. The course is a USA Track & Field-certified course. Also, the International Association of Ultrarunners now considers and governs the 50-mile distance for world records, as of January 2022.

Lawrence, age 28, currently hails from Boulder, Colorado. It appears he has a marathon PR of 2:16:10 and a 1:04:14 PR in the half marathon.

Charlie Lawrence - 50 mile world record - 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile - photo 2

A quick moment of aid for Charlie Lawrence while en route to a new 50-mile world record at the 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile. Photo: Zack Lever/@TrailLive

Meghan Hicks

Meghan Hicks is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. She’s been running since she was 13 years old, and writing and editing about the sport for around 15 years. She served as iRunFar’s Managing Editor from 2013 through mid-2023, when she stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief. Aside from iRunFar, Meghan has worked in communications and education in several of America’s national parks, was a contributing editor for Trail Runner magazine, and served as a columnist at Marathon & Beyond. She’s the co-author of Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running with Bryon Powell. She won the 2013 Marathon des Sables, finished on the podium of the Hardrock 100 Mile in 2021, and has previously set fastest known times on the Nolan’s 14 mountain running route in 2016 and 2020. Based part-time in Moab, Utah and Silverton, Colorado, Meghan also enjoys reading, biking, backpacking, and watching sunsets.