Camille Herron of Oklahoma City is one of the top 30 female marathon runners in the country.
She has won 13 marathons in 10 states and has a goal to win one in every state. A three-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, Herron set the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon women’s course record two years ago by running it in 2 hours, 45 minutes and 13 seconds.
She shattered the course record by nine minutes even though she had to stop during the race to get fluids.
“I go so dizzy and nauseous I had to stop,” she said.
Herron, 32, will attempt to break her own course record and win her second Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on Sunday. She skipped last year’s race in Oklahoma City to win one in Illinois the day before in her quest to capture a marathon in every state.
“My husband won it twice, so I have to at least win it twice to match him,” Herron said of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.
Herron’s husband is Oklahoma City University cross country and track coach Conor Holt, who set the men’s course record of 2:22:54 in his 2004 victory.
Herron credits her husband, a former University of Oklahoma and professional runner, for helping her become one of the top female marathoners in the country.
“I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for him,” Herron said. “He was the one who showed me how to train as a professional athlete. He is a huge, huge resource for the community. There is no one else in Oklahoma that knows how to make that sort of leap.”
Born in Norman, Herron grew up in several towns in Oklahoma. Her father was a school administrator and the family lived in Mangum, Guthrie, Duncan and Moore.
As a kid, her main sport was basketball. She only started running track in junior high as offseason conditioning.
But she discovered she could run fast. As a freshman at Duncan High, Herron was part of a 4x800 state championship relay team in 1997. She was the state runner-up in the 2-mile run the same year.
In 1998, Herron won state championships as a sophomore in the mile and 2-mile runs and had more than 30 consecutive victories at one point before injuries derailed her high school career.
Herron attended Westmoore High her junior and senior years where stress fractures in her foot and femur kept her off the track, although she earned all-state in cross country her senior season.
Despite her troubles staying healthy, the University of Tulsa recognized Herron’s potential and offered her an athletic scholarship.
However, three more stress fractures to her femur during her freshman season ended her collegiate career as a runner.
“I had seven stress fractures in 21/2 years. The doctors didn’t think I could run competively and stay healthy,” she said. “The doctors basically thought my body couldn’t handle the training load.”
After that, Herron would continue to run, but just for fun and to stay healthy. She thought her days of racing were over.
“Then I met my husband,” she said.
Holt, who received sponsorships with ASICS and PowerBar after graduating from OU in 1996, was rebounding from his own injuries in 2001 when he met Herron at the Norman Jazz Festival.