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When the Ironman World Championship is a short day

Ultra-phenom Viktoria Brown’s unique road to Kona

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

How’s this for a Kona journey? In 2013 Viktoria Brown decided to take up running because she wanted to lose some weight after her third daughter was born. That year she ran her first 10 km.

Fast forward seven years. By this time the 47-year-old from Whitby, Ont. (originally from Hungary, she moved to Canada in 2008) has become a triathlete in addition to being a runner. Thanks to the pandemic, all her planned races were cancelled in 2020, so she decided to try a 24-hour running event.

“It turns out that I’m a natural,” she said during an interview a few days before she would race at the Ironman World Championship. (We’ll explain how she got there momentarily – bear with us!) I broke a bunch of records right away, despite not having gone further than a regular marathon. I did 213 km in 24 hours, at that time that was the Canadian soil record as well as the course record. It turns out I have much more talent for ultra-running than triathlon.”

It’s not like she’s any slouch when it comes to multisport racing, though. She was in Hawaii this year after winning her age group at Ironman Waco by almost an hour. While she’s a top age grouper when it comes to Ironman racing, though, when it comes to ultra-running, she’s amongst the best in the world. In September, she won the 48-hour world championship, running 314.28 km. During her short ultra-running career she’s also set the women’s Canadian 48-hour (353.86 km) and the world 72-hour records (467 km).

Brown finished the race in Kona in 11:55:53, and looks to return to the race next year, to0. Despite being sick for three weeks heading into Ironman Arizona, she was able to earn a qualifying spot for the race in Kona next year. In December she competed at the Desert Solstice 24-hour race in Arizona, she had hoped to recapture her Canadian record from Amanda Nelson at that race, but unfortunately sickness forced her to pull out after 11 hours.

Despite that tough ending to 2022, it was a hugely successful year – in less than a decade Brown has gone from “zero athletic experience” to both a Kona qualifier and a world-class ultra-runner. How’s that for an impressive road to Kona journey?