By Larry Carroll
Reports out of Arizona have Marisa Lizak breaking records at Desert Solstice, the annual elite-level ultrarunning track event in Phoenix. The news is particularly noteworthy because she is coached by Camille Herron – a Solstice juggernaut herself just last year.
“If you are not familiar with the name, Marisa Lizak, you will soon,” reports the Instagram page for the US National 24 Hour Running Team . “She quietly came to Desert Solstice Invitational Track Meet – 100 Miles & 24 Hours race and has run away with the fastest time for a 100 mile race in 2019.”
With her stunning under-15-hours time of 14:50:44, the Marina del Rey, California native broke the previous 100-mile run record of 15:32:31 set by Kaci Lickteig at the Javelina Jundred Endurance Run just two months ago. She then went after the World Record for 24 Hours, running a total of 148.08 miles to take the new American 40-44 AG record (besting Traci Falbo’s 147.11 in 2014). These numbers give her the 4th best women’s qualifying time for the 2021 World Championship, and also make a strong qualifying mark for the 24 Hour National Team.
Just last year, Herron herself was the talk of Solstice “Desert Solstice 2018 Re-Cap“. She broke the Women’s World Record for 24 hours with a distance of 162.9 miles, and claimed the 100 mile American Track Record for Women with a time of 13:25:00. This past October, Herron re-asserted her dominance in Albi, France, winning the IAU 24-Hour World Championships, adding just under five additional miles to her record by covering 167.8 in 24 hours.
“I may need @runcamille as my coach!” tweeted @Tracey_Outlaw, using the hashtag #runlikeagirl. “Her athlete, Marisa Lizak, just threw down at Desert Solstice. Massive number for 24 hours.”
The dominance of Herron and Lizak seems to be ushering in a new era of competitive track ultra-running, as records are seemingly rising and falling with each successive race.
“Fangirling from afar for our athlete Marisa!” Herron tweeted mid-race, in support of her protégé. “She’s running great.”
Herron then followed that up tweet after the race with clapping emojis and the celebratory boasts of a proud parent: “148.08 miles to win Desert Solstice overall and break the 40-44 age group American Record!!! Fantastic!”
Held annually on Central High School’s oval track measuring 400 meters, Desert Solstice is seen by many as an event orchestrated to optimize record-breaking potential – and once again, it lived up to its billing.
Lizak ran 595 laps and beat her own personal record by more than 11 miles over the course of 24 hours. “Overwhelming!” was the word she used to describe the experience to USA Ultrarunning , who tweeted a photo of her after the race recovering in a chair, staring down with head in hands.
“I just can’t imagine what these runners go through, running for 24 straight hours,” tweeted Patrick Duggan, a sprinter in awe of Lizak’s achievement.
Following behind Lizak was Rolfe Schmidt (Fayetteville, AR) with a distance of 145.80. Here’s the top finishers for each field in terms of 24-hour distance:
1. Marisa Lizak (Marina del Rey, CA) – 148.08 miles
2. Yvonne Naughton (La Conner, WA) – 117.81 miles
3. Adela Salt (Leduc, AB) – 116.13 miles
4. Sarah Emoto (Sierra Madre, CA) – 91.21 miles
5. Suzi Swinehart (Fort Wayne, IN) – 70.58 miles
6. Laurie Dymond (Chambersburg, PA) – 63.63 miles
7. Meghan Laws (Cool, CA) – 62.13 miles
8. Nicole Bitter (Phoenix, AZ) – 35.79 miles
1. Rolfe Schmidt (Fayetteville, AR) – 145.80 miles
2. Oswaldo Lopez (Madera, CA) – 141.13 miles
3. Zachary Szablewski (Issaquah, WA) – 115.36 miles
4. Scott Traer (Lyons, CO) – 102.15 miles
5. Pete Kostelnick (Brunswick, OH) – 100.66 miles
6. Mark Hammond (Millcreek, UT) – 100.00 miles
7. James Elson (St Albans, GBR) – 100.00 miles
8. Jacob Moss (Ladson, SC) – 90.47 miles
9. David Huss (Seattle, WA) – 70.58 miles
10. Kyle Pietari (Edgewater, CO) – 68.60 miles