When I first started learning about Ultras, I learned about 50 and 100 milers. There were a few local races and I had known of a few wackos who ran them. Over time, I learned that there were people who would race for 24 hours – straight. I marveled at their huevos and wondered if I could ever grow a pair that big.
Just recently, I learned that the 24 hour guys are just a bunch of pansies who can not buck up and run a six day race. Yes, six days. At first when I heard about a six day race, I found it kind of unbelievable and rather obscure. I paid the idea little attention and moved on with my life.
For the last 48 hours or so, I have been captivated by the Across the Years event which takes place down in Phoenix, Arizona. According to wikipedia, the six day race has not been run for a few years at ATY, but is being run this year.
Still reeling from the shock that people actually run these things – the world record is 644 miles (1036km!)- I was even more stunned when I pulled up the running results and saw that Yiannis Kouros, the guy who set the record and who basically owns the Spartathlon was in the lead. My jaw dropped even further when I saw that he is 57 years old. Joe Fejes, who is in first as I type this is 48. The top 4 are over 48. Crazy.
The thing I love and that really intrigues me about this whole six day thing is the strategy that has to go into it. This is not a 5k where you go balls out and hang on for the last mile trying not to wretch. It is not 50 miles or 100. It is six days. Six whole days. When do you sleep? How long do you sleep? Do you push the pace when your opponent is sleeping, or sleep as well?
This race amazes me, and while I do not think I will do one anytime soon, I think it might be one of those bucket list items. It will give me lots of time to strategize…