Christelle Doyhambehere, a 34-year-old nursing assistant and mother of two from the city of Pau in south west France completed the Paris marathon in a staggering 6 hours, 4 minutes, and 7 seconds – all in a pair of three inch heels.
That’s an hour and 23 minutes faster than the previous world record of 7:27:53, set by the American Irene Sewell at the Chattanooga, Tennessee marathon in October 2017.
And no doubt her knees are still feeling the effect of her impressive achievement.
The unusual idea struck the 34-year-old about a year ago, during a rainy day trip to the movies.
When she and her partner, with whom she had just signed up for the Paris marathon, left the theatre, she ran to the car, in spite of the high heels she wears regularly. “Why don’t you run the marathon in those shoes?” joked her partner.
After reading about Irene Sewell’s record, she began training five to six times a week, half the time in trainers and half the time in heels. She conducted her high-heeled session at night, wearing a headlamp, for fear of “finding pictures of herself on social media”.
When she started the race Sunday morning, she was well prepared, wearing a sturdy pair of salsa pumps over taped ankles, running socks and calf compression sleeves.
Her race went relatively smoothly except for a chafing problem which her partner and trainer, who joined her for the last third of the race after having completed the marathon himself, saw to.
Upon crossing the finishing line, she was shocked to have completed the marathon so quickly.
“I hoped to beat the record, but not by that much!” she said. “It went well from the beginning up to about the 23rd kilometre, I stopped at every refuelling point to avoid cramps. After that, I saw that I had some breathing room for the second part, so I took my time.”
She dedicated her world record attempt to raising funds for the charity Koala, which provides entertainment to children being cared for in the pediatrics department at the hospital in Pau, where she works as a nursing assistant.
Donations have increased on her fundraising page on the crowdfunding platform Leetchi since her story hit the press.
Her record is pending official approval by Guinness.
By Edward O’Reilly