Rochester Hills woman shatters world record for ultramarathons

Des Linden is the first woman to run a 50K in under three hours

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. – A Metro Detroit woman shattered the world record in her very first attempt at completing an ultramarathon.

Des Linden said she knew early on in the 50 kilometer race that she was making great time.

“I was very aware of the pace I was running and putting in the bank,” Linden said. “I knew I was ahead of schedule.”

When she crossed the finish line Tuesday in Oregon at 2 hours, 59 minutes and 54 seconds, she had beaten the former female record holder -- Great Britain’s Ally Dixon -- by more than seven minutes.

Linden averaged a mile roughly every five minutes and 47 seconds for more than 31 miles.

It’s been a wild year for the Rochester Hills native. Without any major marathons on the schedule due to COVID, Linden got creative. She created Des-tober in the fall and ran the miles of the date -- one mile on Oct. 1, two miles on Oct. 2 and ultimately ran 496 miles in a month, with almost half being in the last week.

After Des-tober, she said she needed a new challenge. She finished 4th in the U.S. Olympic Trials in February 2020, which made her an alternate for the Olympics in Tokyo. She doesn’t think she’ll get the call, but she’s staying in shape just in case.

After breaking the ultramarathon record, she said she has nothing left to prove. She’s a two-time Olympian, the 2018 Boston Marathon champion and now a world-record holder.

“It’s about what’s interesting and fun for me,” Linden said.

The 2024 Olympic Games in Paris are still an option. She said she’ll try, but for now, she’s back to marathons. She recently announced she will run in the 125th Boston Marathon in October.


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