Camille Herron wants to win a marathon in all 50 states. And with 19 wins in 11 states, plus the Guinness World Record for fastest marathon while wearing a superhero costume (she was Spiderwoman), she's well on her way.

Her secret to success? Hint: It has something to do with a secret formula.

“Elite athletes drink Coke,” Herron said during a recent phone interview. “It’s almost like magic.”

A lifelong athlete, Herron often needs a quick burst of energy. From her childhood days on the basketball court to the fastest 100k ever on American soil, she has relied on Coca-Cola.

Camille Herron

Coca-Cola, a longtime sponsor of the Olympic Games, is an established presence in the running world. In the 1970s, runners would often drink flat Coke or Coca-Cola syrup during races. In the Pan-American Games, where Herron served as an athlete service coordinator, “everybody was drinking Coca-Cola.” 

Herron has trained with and learned from many international athletes who share her affinity for Coke. “International runners love Coca-Cola,” she said.“People don’t understand that elite athletes are drinking Coke and using it to help with their performance."

Camille Herron

Herron routinely drinks a few Cokes per week. She first drank Coca-Cola during a race two years ago in her first ultra-marathon, where volunteers offered it at aid stations. When Herron caught sight of her favorite drink, she had to give it a try.

“It just lit me up!” she recalled.

The tradition continued this year in Herron’s record-setting 100k at the U.S. Championship, where Coca-Cola was offered at aid stations. Through the first half of the race, Herron stuck to her usual regimen of sports drinks and gels. But for the final 50k, she turned to Coca-Cola. “It worked out perfect,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to get to the next aid station to get my Coke.”

Herron is a scholar of the human body, having studied exercise and sport science in undergraduate and graduate school. Since 2011, she has shared her knowledge in a popular blog at, where she writes about the training, diet and lifestyle of an elite athlete.

Herron will be competing in the 100k at the International Association of Ultrarunners’ World Championships in the Netherlands this September. Although she does not plan to don a superhero costume for this race, she'll be armed with her super, secret weapon.

“I’ve definitely got it planned that I’m going to do what I did at the U.S. Championship,” Herron explained. “Switch to Coke on the second half, and let that hopefully propel me to a new American record!”