By Jodi Weiss,
Pam Chapman Markle entered the world of ultramarathoning in 2011 at age 55. As a certified registered nurse anesthetist for over 35 years, she had been working with a physician who encouraged her to sign up for an ultra. The Texan, who ran daily to relieve stress, decided to run Rocky Raccoon in Huntsville. She had planned to sign up for the 50-miler but when she learned that it was full, she opted for the 100-mile race. During that first ultra, Pam suffered a stress fracture in her right tibia, hypothermia and an electrolyte imbalance, all before clocking a 28:45 finish. She was determined to run another. Her comeback came after running the Keys 100 in May of 2012, where she finished first in her age group in 25:31 and fell in love with the sport of ultrarunning.
Breaking Records at All Ages: Pam Chapman-Markle’s Still Got It in Her Sixties
Pamela Chapman-Markle’s rise to the very top of the female over 60 ultrarunning world has been as amazing as it has been both unexpected and unconventional. Pamela, age 63, mother of three and grandmother of five and counting, never ran a race of any distance before the age of 55. Her first race was the Rocky Raccoon 100 in 2011, a race she finished in 28:45 despite a stress fracture of her tibia, severe hyponatremia and sub-freezing temperatures. “It was a bucket list type of thing,” Chapman-Markle recalled. “However, I just knew that I could do better if I tried another race. So, I looked for the next race.”
Faster with Age: Pamela Chapman-Markle Sets Another Ultra Record
November 14, 2018
Eight years after entering the world of ultrarunning, the 5′ 6″, 114 pound Pamela Chapman-Markle, 63, is not slowing down. In fact, she’s getting faster. In November she placed 1st female and 5th overall in 20:58:24 setting a new USTAF record in her age group at the 2018 Kansas Rails-to-Trails 100 mile ultra.
In July 2018, Pamela shaved off 1 hour and 18 minutes from a course record she set in the 60-65 age group at the 2017 Badwater 135, where she placed 3rd overall female in 35:48:31. In 2018, Pamela placed 6th overall female and crossed the finish in 34:30:53 setting a new Badwater course record in her age group.
By Spencer Markle
The emergence of Pamela Chapman Markle as a prolific runner of 100-mile races is as sudden and surprising as it is unlikely. Pamela never ran in a foot race of any distance before the age of 55; not even a 5k. Her first race ever was the 100-mile Rocky Raccoon Ultra in Huntsville, Texas, in February 2011. “I had been running in the evenings after work to quiet my mind and something just told me to try a race and see what happened,” she explained. “I enjoyed the peace and solitude of running alone, so participating in a marathon with thousands of other people didn’t appeal to me so I settled on a 50-miler. “I went to the website for the Rocky Raccoon to sign up for the 50 and it was full, so I chose the 100-miler, which still had slots remaining,” she remembered.
With little understanding of the hydration, nutritional and electrolyte demands of a 100-mile ultramarathon, Pam entered the race. The temperatures dropped to the teens during a record-breaking cold front. Severely hyponatremic and vomiting, she suffered a stress fracture of her right tibia by mile 80 and limped home (literally) with a finishing time of 28:45. It was the hardest thing she had ever done, but she was hooked.https://ultrarunning.com
Houston nurse, 60, sets record in Death Valley’s Badwater ultra-marathon
Badwater ultra-marathan is considered the toughest race in the world, taking runners through Death Valley in California. It’s 135 miles with equally high temperatures.
“It’s been 129 degrees every day in Death Valley this week,” Pamela Chapman Markle said.
Badwater allows athletes 48 hours to run 135 miles in temperatures so hot it will melt the soles off your shoes.
While most participants don’t even finish the course, 60-year-old Pamela Chapman Markle doesn’t just plan to participate, she wants to prove something.
“I have a goal to beat the course record that is held there right now for 60-year-old woman. The record is at 44 hours and I intend to do between 38 and 40,” she said.