Tennessee woman training to run marathon in high heels

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WTVC) — On Sunday morning, while runners across Chattanooga lace up their sneakers in preparation for the Seven Bridges Marathon, Irene Sewell will be strapping into her high heels.

Sewell started running after retiring from her career as a professional ballroom dancer three years ago.

“I still needed that competitive outlet and community to connect with so I started running,” Sewell tells NewsChannel 9.

Since then, Sewell says she has done “three half IRONMAN’s, all here in Chattanooga, two half marathons, and probably about ten 5 k’s.”

One thing Sewell says she hasn’t done is run a marathon in high heels, “not in heels, no.”

On Sunday, that will change.

“I will be running the marathon in high heels, which is super exciting,” Sewell said.

Her friends and family have a different word for it, “they think I’m crazy.”

Sewell says she’s been contemplating this for a few years now.

It all started when she read about a London woman’s quest to become the world’s fastest marathon runner in high heels, “she ultimately didn’t get the record so I was just reading about her and I thought man! With my dancing background and now running background it’s kind of the best of both worlds.”

When Sewell contacted Guinness World Records to tell them of her plans, she received a “full guide book and it was about twenty pages long so they were very serious.”

The book stipulates the height of the heel she must wear, 2.75 inches, the width of the heel, 1.5 centimeters, and the time in which she must complete the marathon, under 7.5 hours.

Still, Sewell wasn’t deterred.

“It’s going to be amazing hopefully,” she said.

For months, Sewell has been training across Chattanooga.

At first, she trained in the heels she planned to wear during the marathon but her podiatrist “suggested to not run every run in heels” but instead to “kind of swap it out and just run normally with tennis shoes.”

On marathon day, Sewell will come prepared with blister band aids, tape, metatarsal pads, insoles for stability and arch support, and calf sleeves.

She will also have six different pairs of the same shoe on hand.

“I’m actually going to have a range of sizes from a seven and a half, which is what I’m going to start with, all the way up to nine,” Sewell said.

For Sewell, every pair is made for walking across the finish line.

“That’s kind of the moment that I run for. It’s the moment that you’ve trained for and so you’re able to just look back on all your training and say, ‘man, this was so worth it I’m so glad I did this,” Sewell told NewsChannel 9.

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