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  • Miriam Diaz-Gilbert

The Secret to Masters Triathlete and Ultrarunner Viktoria Brown's Records and World Championships

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

Never an athlete, Viktoria Brown talks consistency, endurance, enjoyment, and more.


Viktoria finishes 8th female in her age group at the 2022 Ironman Arizona. Photo courtesy of Viktoria Brown.

I first saw Viktoria in person at the GOMU (Global Organization of Multi-Day Ultramarathoners) 48-hr ultra world championship on Labor Day weekend 2022 in Hainesport, NJ. Hainesport was also the site of the Hainesport Endurance Run - 12-hr, 24-hr (I was in this event), and the

100-mile event.

Viktoria finished first female and second overall with 314.282 km (195.2861 miles) on a 0.9913 paved loop course. Prior to GOMU, the Hungarian-Canadian triathlete and ultrarunner got top honors - first female and first overall - at the June 2022 Six Days in the Dome after logging 736.135 km (457.4135 miles) on an indoor track. "I like flat terrain. I was certainly happy in the Dome and in Hainesport. I do like the convenience of the track but I find more problems with my ankles because of the constant turning on the track."


Viktoria's world-class accomplishments in such a short time is quite impressive. She's been running triathlons since 2018. A peek at her extraordinary stats on DUV Ultra Marathon Statistics and her podium trophies on UltraSignup reveals that she's been running ultramarathons since 2020. At her first ultramarathon at age 45, Viktoria beat all the runners at the 2020 That Dam Hill 24-hour event in Ontario with 213.826 km (132.57212 miles).


In a post on her Instagram - a picture of her running her first half-marathon in 2015 after having her third daughter and a picture of her crossing the finish at Ironman Hawaii in October 2022 - Viktoria writes, "The only secret is consistency...If I can do it, you can do it!


NEVER ATHLETIC


"I’ve never been a runner. I was never athletic. I was always the nerd, the smart kid who just liked to sit in her room and read and just not move. But I wasn’t as chubby as that picture. That picture is from after three pregnancies. I put on all that weight. But I was always curvy. I’ve never been skinny but I was not obese. I did not do any sports. I did not like any kind of sports. At school at recess if I could pull it off I wouldn’t even go outside. I didn’t like to be outside. I would just sit in the classroom."


Never a runner, Viktoria began running after giving birth to her third daughter. She had her daughters close in age and losing weight after each pregnancy became harder. "I was older, 38, 39 and I just wanted to lose weight. I just started moving. I just went out running for half an hour six times a week and I changed my diet. I started eating low carb. I also watched the calories. So the change came all together because I realized I did not want to be unhealthy and I just wasn’t feeling good carrying that bigger body. Some people feel good and are healthy even though they carry more weight and that’s perfectly fine but I wasn’t used to that and I did not feel good."


MOTIVATION


Losing weight was one motivation to start running. Viktoria ran local 5Ks and 10Ks. She won a 5K and another one in her age group. But setting her sights on an Ironman was her true motivation. "When I first started jogging my dream was to finish an Ironman so that’s what motivated me at that time in 2015." She went on to place 7th in her her age group in a 70.3 Ironman in 2018.


"That put the bug in me. When I came in 7th in that 70.3 in my age group I started thinking about a world championship. If I can qualify for a world championship that’s kind of a big deal. At that point, that seemed like a good goal. That was the next step when I started to think about qualifying for the 70.3 world championship."


ENDURANCE


A late bloomer, Viktoria can also handle endurance. "I’m not a fast runner. I started running late at age 40. I will never have the speed of top marathoners or younger athletes. But I realized quite early that I do have this incredible endurance. Even if I don’t specifically train for endurance it just seems to be exceptional compared to the amount of training I’m putting in."


TRAINING


For Viktoria, training for triathlons is not easy but it doesn't appear to be too grueling. "It’s been very gradual. I don’t jump into 20 hour weeks. Up until 2018 I was doing probably 5 - 6 hours a week. Maybe even less. Basically, the only plan I had was the run. I had a running app. It was called Adidas miCoach. It gave me a running plan and then I just put in a bike and swimming every now and then." She chuckles, "I don't like swimming. I was running four times a week so not that much."


When her kids were 2, 4, and 6, she'd put them to bed at 9 pm and then hop on the bike or treadmill for a one to two hour workout. "I don't do that anymore. I aim to be done with my workouts by 9.


Viktoria has placed 12th and 5th in the World Triathlon Long Distance World Championships. “At a world championship, I consider that success. Since I’ve had two 5th place finishes in those world championships, I’m getting better but I had not gotten to the podium yet." But not for long.


PODIUM


In 2020, Viktoria podiumed. She won the women's overall and became a Hungarian long course national champion. "There were a lot of things that went well for me including the professional girl in front of me dropping out. But I was right behind her and nobody in front of me. I got lucky. But the performance was there. That was a huge surprise." Viktoria credits her coaching. "I had a coach in 2018 - 2020."


Viktoria crosses the finish line at the Hungarian Long Course Hungarian National Championship with her daughters, now age 8, 10, and 12. Photo courtesy of Viktoria Brown.

Most people who run an ultramarathon might stick to a 50K or a 50 miler for their inaugural ultra but not Viktoria. A month after winning the Hungarian National Long Distance Triathlon, she won her first ultramarathon - the 2020 That Dam Hill 24-hour ultra.


"That’s when I had my breakout ultra performance as a first-time ultrarunner. I knocked it out of the park. I won the race out right. I broke the course record. I broke the Canadian soil women’s record and I broke the number one selection for the Canadian team. Having never run anything longer than a marathon in my life before, that was a big surprise to me as it is to you now. My coach was standing there and said, “And now what. What do we do now?” Viktoria chuckles. "After my breakout performances in 2020 that’s when I started running ultras. I’m running ultras because I’m good at it."


SIMPLE FUEL


One might think that her training and race day nutrition and fuel is complex. Quite the contrary. Viktoria's nutrition and fuel is simple. "When the training is intense, I eat whatever I want, what I crave. I love sushi. I like all kinds of different nation's food - Chinese, Thai, Greek, Italian food. I absolutely love eating."


On race day, she doesn't eat solids. At the 2022 GOMU 48-hr she just had liquids. "I drank

Glyco-Durance, a sports drink high in carbs in four flavors that is easy on the stomach. No solids. Just sports drinks and gels."


RUNNING IN HEAT


Viktoria, who was diagnosed with asthma two years ago, sometimes runs with a mask. Running in heat and humidity is usually good for her asthma. Living in Canada, she's used to cold temperatures, but does not mind competing in heat.


"I find that even though I am slower than I would be in a cooler race, other people are even more slower in a hot race so I don’t mind the heat. I think it slows me down less than it slows more people down. I handle it really well because I like it. I think it’s a big psychological advantage over people who dread the heat," adds Viktoria.


ENJOYMENT


Viktoria considers herself a very competitive person and loves the camaraderie among athletes. "I have a few friends I’m directly competing against. Sometimes we give advice to each other. We encourage each other. "


To women who want to improve their health and to women who have never run, Viktoria offers the following advice. "I think the key is enjoyment. There is a lot of scientific research...if you do something you enjoy, you will have success. Find what gives you joy - running, cycling, yoga, swimming, weightlifting, dancing, whatever form of movement. It does’t matter what the form of movement is but it’s important to move the body and be active. And it doesn’t have to be a lot. I did 30 minutes 3 times a week. When my kids were little, I went to the gym for a 30 minute circuit class. Just do what you enjoy and when you enjoy it."


BALANCE


Although Viktoria considers herself a low-mileage athlete, balancing training with life responsibilities is a challenge. "It’s always hard to balance when you have a hobby that takes up 15 hours of your week. I certainly would like to do more but it would depend on my family and work commitment. I’m no different from most others. You need to balance these things out. I try to do as much as I can with the limitations that I’ve got. It’s a tricky balance. When I’m doing a training session, I always think, "Do I enjoy doing this?" If I don’t enjoy the process then what’s the point. I’m not being paid for it. I’m actually paying a lot of money to go to these races," Viktoria chuckles. "If I don’t enjoy the training and those races then what’s the point? It’s a very important thing to keep in mind, to keep your perspective."


MORE RUNNING


And it looks like Viktoria enjoys the process of training and competing and doesn't plan on stopping any time soon. Viktoria shared that her husband, who is not a runner or triathlete and watches their daughters when she is competing, recently asked her -- "What is it that you enjoy more? How would you enjoy your life more? More running? And I said, "Yep," Viktoria laughed.


At age 47, Viktoria will be running in the Desert Solstice 24-hour track ultra in December. Last year, she placed 4th female after logging 100 miles in 14:57:13.


When she's not running, cycling, swimming, competing, and raising her family, Viktoria is running her business - Hold the Carbs - dedicated to keto baking mixes.


©2022


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