Written 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.
For those who know Pam, it’s clear that she is a star both on and off the course—always smiling, positive and quick to offer inspiration and good cheer to others. A beautiful woman inside and out, Pam is all business as she tackles the miles during a race.
It wasn’t until she ran the Daytona 100 in 2016, that she realized she was starting to set records. She completed the 100-mile road race from Jacksonville Beach to Daytona Beach in 21:29, which was faster than the all-time USA age group record for 100 miles (although not on a certified course). Accomplishing a sub-22-hour finish (which is incredibly fast, regardless of her age) helped her realize that she had the potential to set national and maybe even world records.