British runner Joasia Zakrzewski has broken the world 48hr record with 410.843km (to be confirmed). 

Not happy with breaking the British 24hr record last September in the European Championships in Verona, with 247.985km, the international runner set off for the world best at the Taipei Ultra-marathon this weekend.

Not only does the world record of Patricia Bereznowska go, the Polish athlete who was also in the same year too, the 410+ kilometre mark breaks both the men’s and women’s British records too. The results is more than 255 miles. Well over 5 miles per hour for two days.

Previously the best British marks were 366km by Hilary Walker and 401km by Richard Brown. Walker, now the IAU’s General Secretary, set her record back in in 1988 at the British seaside resort of Blackpool, whilst Brown, another stalwart of British ultra-running, ran his best in 1991 in Surgeres, France.

From 50k to two days…

It’s the first 48 hour race for the Australia based medic, but not the first time she has run for that length of time. In 2021 Zakrzewski won the Ultra Great Britain, a 215 mile trail event, in 2 days, 14 hours and 20 minutes. Long distances and sleep deprivation seem to be strengths.

The 48 hour discipline, which dates back to the Victorian sport of pedestrianism, sees athletes compete on a looped course to see who can cover the greatest distance in a 48 hour period. The times keeps ticking for all stops, any sleeps and every toilet visit. It’s purely about how far you can move in two days.

Zakrzewski has represented Great Britain on several occasions, from 50km to 24 hours, and every distance in between. Well, 100k and trail ultra are the distances in between, but also donned her native Scotland’s colours for the Commonwealth Games marathon too.

Liverpool John Moores Uni physiologist Dr. Jamie Pugh, who was part of the support team at the European 24hr Champs in Verona, tells us that “the body will  go through a huge physical stress over these two days and it’s ability to utilise stored body fats and still take on board some nutrition throughout the whole event will be key to the forward motion required for such a record.”

Photo: Paul Magee