A woman from Portugal Cove-St. Philips broke a new record over the weekend and, despite being a seasoned athlete, she says it was the most gruelling challenge of her life. 

Caroline McIlroy ran the length of the East Coast Trail in just 34 hours — that's one hour less than the previous record.

"It's fantastic. I'm very excited about it," she told CBC News. 

"I picked up a little bit the last few miles, just knowing I was nearly there. Which was surprising because I thought, coming into Black Head, I was about done. But you've always got a little bit left."

Last year, McIlroy made it to Petty Harbour before having to stop 28 kilometres short of the finish line.

This time, she focused on pacing and making sure she fuelled her body properly.  

"I just really concentrated on just keeping food going in me, even when I really didn't want to. I even set an alarm so every hour an alarm went off to say, 'Eat now.'"

While McIlroy consumed a variety of snacks at the beginning of the race, she soon adopted a bananas-only diet, eating about 50 bananas in total.

McIlroy was followed by a support team of family and friends, including her daughter. 

"One of my friends was running some it with me and he said a couple of times, 'We're not doing this again next year,' so that was in my mind as well."

She wore a headlamp to navigate the trail during at night, and said one of the most difficult parts of the run was passing the La Manche bridge and knowing she still had 20 hours left to go.

"I think it's more of a psychological thing. It's just harder to be positive, I think, at night. We definitely got a big boost when the sun came up in the morning, especially as it was a beautiful day coming."

McIlroy said she has no plans to run anytime in the immediate future. Following her record-breaking run, she said she can hardly walk. 

With files from Azzo Rezori