On Saturday October 8, 2022, at the 35th annual Ruth Anderson Memorial Run 50k in San Francisco, California, American CJ Albertson reset — and reclaimed — the 50-kilometer world record in a new best time of 2:38:43 (to be ratified).
Albertson previously held the all-surface 50k record, which he set on the track, in a time of 2:42:30 in 2020. This was narrowly bested by Ethiopia’s Ketema Negasa, in a time of 2:42:07, at the Nedbank Runified 50k Race in Gqeberha, South Africa, in March 2021. A year on, in March 2022, South Africa’s Stephen Mokoka took almost two minutes off the record at the same event — running 2:40:13 in a breakout 50k debut.
Unlike his 2020 track run, Albertson’s latest record-breaking run took place on a looped course made up of seven roughly 4.5-mile loops of asphalt and dirt path, accumulating around 100 feet of elevation per loop. The event comprised a 50k, 50 mile, and 100k race. Co-race director Steve Jaber told iRunFar that part of the reason the Californian runner chose the local race for this planned record attempt was that the course was fully ratified for records. On learning of Albertson’s intentions, the organizers also secured a bronze label accreditation for the event from the International Association of Ultrarunning.
He ran without pacers, leading the charge from the get-go, and went through the half marathon distance (13.1 miles) in 1:05:40. He reached mile 26.5 in 2:15:02, and held strong for the last loop to finish in a time of 2:38:43 — a comfortable 90 seconds clear of the world record.
His time equates to a pace of 5:07 minutes per mile for 31.1 miles.
Earlier this year, Albertson placed 13th at the Boston Marathon in a time of 2:10:23, down from 2:11:44, which had earned him 10th place the previous year.
He also holds the world record for an indoor marathon — 2:17:59 — which he set in April 2019 in New York.