Photo of Jenn Shelton by JOSH NIELSEN/Patagonia
Acclaimed ultrarunner Jenn Shelton will compete in this year’s KPMG Tortola Torture ultramarathon in the British Virgin Islands. The American 100-mile trail record holder until 2014, Jenn shot to fame in John McDougall’s 2009 book Born to Run.
Jenn set the American trail 100-mile record in 2007 with a time of 14:57:18 at the Rocky Raccoon 100 in Huntsville Texas. She held it for seven years until it fell to Traci Falbo in the 2014 Tunnel Hill 100 Mile in Vienna, Illinois. (Nicole Studer took another 35 minutes off this record in the 2015 Rocky Raccoon).
Last year’s winner and current recorder holder, Eric Senseman said: “She has wheels! If she decides to put the pedal to the floor at the 2017 Torture, she’ll compete for the win. But Jenn also knows how to enjoy life and the people around her, and she may well decide to soak in the experience and culture of the BVI. No matter the outcome, Jenn will be a breath of fresh air at this year’s Torture.”
Born to Run chronicled the adventures of Scott Jurek, Christopher McDougall, Jenn as the sole female runner, and several other ultrarunners, as they traveled to Copper Canyon in the remote southwestern part of the state of Chihuahua in Mexico to run with the Tarahumara Indians. It became a national bestseller and a Forbes and Washington Post book of the year attracting a lot of attention to the sport of long distance running.
Jenn competed in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, but suffered a hamstring injury and did not finish. Jenn has set many other records but is famous for her free spirit and all-around badassery, much of its spawned by Born to Run. Jenn attended the University of North Carolina where she played on the rugby team. She dropped out to focus on writing poetry, but later enrolled at Old Dominion University.
Joel Wolpert has just released Outside Voices a film about Jenn’s life living a small van known as “Hi-C” and travelling the Mountain West spreading her unique approach to the wilderness. She is sponsored by Patagonia.
The KPMG Tortola Torture is a 33.74 mile (54km) race that circumnavigates Tortola with only 22% on the flat, the rest is on hot and humid hills with 12,000 feet of elevation change. The steepest gradient is 33.33%.
“After that easy 10, the race begins a series of relentless, incredibly steep, and constant series of climbs and descents, that systemically squash your soul. And, this goes on until the very last mile,” said Christian Griffith after last year’s race. However, he is returning to destroy his 2017 time after gaining fame on the History Channel’s The Selection.
The KPMG Tortola Torture is open to individuals, two-person, and three-person relay teams.
Pro SCOTT runner Eric Senseman set the new benchmark time of 04:45:05 in last year’s KPMG Tortola Torture. He joined 84 runners including 28 other individuals.
“I’m bummed. I definitely plan to be back next year though,” Eric said, on his inability to return to defend his title this year.
Bridget Klein from St Croix currently holds the women’s crown with a time of 05:38:55.
Guy Williamson and Roddy dos Santos hold the two-person team record with a time of 05:12:19.
The Demon Deacons (Mike Ennis, Michael Killourhy, Julius Farley) hold the three-person team title with a time of 05:03:44.
Title sponsor KPMG provides audit, tax and advisory services together with industry insight to help organizations negotiate risks and perform in the dynamic and challenging environments in which they do business.
Mourant Ozannes, platinum sponsor, is a leading offshore law firm, advising on the laws of the BVI, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Jersey. It presents the “Best Second Half Award” for the best performance from Sage Mountain to the finish at Trellis Bay.