Jim Walmsley 50-mile running record

Running World Record: Jim Walmsley Sets Fastest 50-Mile Time

The 36-year-old 50-mile record fell to Jim Walmsley running in a pair of HOKA ONE ONE’s Project Carbon X, a shoe release focused on breaking road running records.

A dozen HOKA athletes, all striding in the same pair of shoes, pounded the pavement Saturday in Folsom, Calif., each of them focused on setting records. Dubbed Project Carbon X, the event was part athletic endeavor — the 100km course received USA Track and Field (USATF) approval and was eligible for IAAF world record status — and part publicity stunt for HOKA’s upcoming racing shoe, the Carbon X.

Jim Walmsley 50-mile running record

And while the coveted 100km record eluded the HOKA fleet, 29-year-old American Jim Walmsley managed to take down the 50-mile record set by Bruce Fordyce in 1983. Walmsley eked past Fordyce’s 4-hour, 50-minute, 21-second mark with a new record time of 4 hours, 50 minutes, 7 seconds.


“The first 20 miles felt really flowy, and Tyler pushing the pace helped make it all possible,” Walmsley said, referring to fellow HOKA Project Carbon X runner Tyler Andrews. “I had a little bit of everything out there, a surge, a pickup, definitely some deep digging, and then a little blowup. But it feels super positive overall. I can’t complain; for us, the 50-mile world record was almost as important as the 100K, though I’d like to take a shot at that in the future.”

HOKA Project Carbon X: Walmsley Sets 50-Mile Record

hoka one one Jim Walmsley carbon x 50 mile world record

Though steamy temps sapped Walmsley and his HOKA comrades’ stamina and kept the 100K record out of reach, USATF rules required he finish the entire 100K for the 50-mile mark to stand. Walmsley effectively had to run 12 more miles to cement his 50-mile record.

But that wasn’t the only record set on Saturday. Project Carbon X also set its eyes on the 100K relay world record. And with five teams of 10 runners, each tackling 10 km, one group of HOKA athletes crushed the old 6-plus-hour record by more than 15 minutes. The new 100K relay record now stands at 5 hours, 45 minutes, 51 seconds.

HOKA Carbon X Racing Shoe

HOKA ONE ONE Carbon X racing shoe

An impressive flyweight, the Carbon X is among HOKA’s lightest shoes to date, weighing a scant 246 grams (8.6 ounces; men’s 8.5). It provides a 5mm heel-toe drop from the men’s 32-27mm and women’s 30-25mm stack heights.

But the real story resides in the materials. According to HOKA, breathable mesh wraps the foot in the upper while a split carbon-fiber plate supports proper foot placement.

The $180 Carbon X will go live May 15 on HOKA ONE ONE’s website and at retailers worldwide June 1.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.