At the Brooklyn Half Marathon May 21, Marie-Ange Brumelot and her father Nicolas Brumelot broke the Guinness World Record for fastest combined half marathon time by a parent and their child.
A few months ago, 29-year-old Marie-Ange Brumelot’s husband discovered a unique world record: fastest half marathon run by a parent and child. The current record stood at 2:58:35, set by Jonathan Scott and Clare Bovill of the United Kingdom on March 8, 2020.
Marie-Ange was already an elite runner. She finished as the 20th overall woman at the 2019 Chicago Marathon in a time of 2:36:23 and was even chosen to represent France in the 2020 half marathon world championships. Her father, 60-year-old Nicolas Brumelot, also runs. He’s finished numerous marathons and ultramarathons, but only one half—a 1:32:04 time from the Paris Half Marathon on March 6 this year.
Marie-Ange ran her personal best of 1:14:18 at the 2020 Houston Half Marathon, so she told Runner’s World she had no doubts they could break the record if they went for it. She already planned on racing the Brooklyn Half Marathon, so she contacted the New York Road Runners (NYRR), who were happy to host the record attempt.
Marie-Ange asked Nicolas if he was interested. “He was all into it right away,” she said. “So that was it.”
The pair began training, Marie-Ange from her home in the Catskills of New York and Nicolas from Paris. Despite drastically different training methods and individual goals, they kept an eye on each other’s training through social media.
“I was so happy when my father got on Strava,” Marie-Ange said. “I was like yay, I can finally see what he’s doing.”
“It was a scorcher,” said Nicholas. “But you’ve got to be mentally prepared to come across conditions that you don’t want... mentally you have to overcome all these things and go out and do your job.”
So, they lined up for the 7 a.m. start ready to go. Marie-Ange was used to being in the elite corral and started her race as normal. But for Nicolas, who was placed there by NYRR to assist the record attempt, found himself in unfamiliar territory: “It felt nice, but also awkward, because I knew all the runners around me and behind me would be passing me really quick.” Right after the gun, he moved to the left to get out of the way and run his own race.
Marie-Ange started strong, running her first 5K in 5:31 per mile pace—but hit a rough patch from 5K to 10K, only averaging 5:51 per mile. “I kept thinking, I got to pull my s--- together because we’re trying to do something big here.” Someone passed her, and she forced herself to follow him to speed up. She reminded herself to take it one step at a time—a strategy that worked, as she would hold a mid-5:30s clip from there until the finish. She earned third place in 1:13:46. Now, she anxiously awaited her father’s arrival.
Nicolas was running on pace, but felt haunted by a previous race experience—running the 2019 Ultra Trail Angkor 64K in dreadful heat and 100 percent humidity. But despite the nightmarish flashbacks, he stayed focused, hydrating properly and sticking to groups of other runners. Finally, he turned onto the Coney Island boardwalk that led to end of the race.
Marie-Ange, knowing her time and seeing his when he crossed the finish line, hugged him in excitement. The pair bettered the Guinness world record for fastest half marathon by a parent and child with their combined time of 2:45:32, slicing over 13 minutes off the previous record.
While the record was a sweet victory, both Marie-Ange and Nicolas had bigger takeaways from the race. They were excited to have their whole family there to watch, who ran up and down the course to cheer them on. Nicolas was also able to promote the charities he works with, Children With Cancer UK, Children With Cancer Ukraine, and Imagine For Margo. He’s raised $280,000 in total throughout his decade of running.
As for whether they’ll chase the time again, it’s all a matter of what challengers step up.
“I think it’s a fair record,” said Marie-Ange. “But I know if for some reason it was broken by somebody else, he and I will talk about doing it again.”
“Even though I’m 60, I keep planning to improve and run faster,” said Nicholas. “So we’ll be there if needed to break the record again.”
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