The article below was published in the East Valley Tribune, December 30, 200.
The article is reproduced here without permission of the publisher. (I haven't asked for it.)
Photograph of the gate area with three runners coming through
Gluttons for running: Runners in the Race Across the
Years cross the start-finish line on Friday.
Competitors run for 24, 48, or 72 hours.
Runners make friends, exchange experiences during 72-hour event
by Sam Ganczaruk - Tribune
Most people dislike running and just do it to stay in shape or to compete for first place.
But the "Race Across the Years" is not about that. It is about the growth and bond of people on a race track.
Participants spend their New Year's weekend sprinting, jogging or walking beside other people of different ethnic backgrounds, age and communities. As the race wears on people relate to each other and get to know one another as they struggle through the fight against exhaustion.
"A lot of people think that running around a track for one, two, or three days would be incredibly boring, but it ends up real rewarding," race director Paul Bonnett said. "They spend 24 to 72 hours together sharing stories and experiences."
The Arizona Road Racers club holds the race this weekend at Canyon State Academy in Queen Creek.
Lynn Newton heard about the race two years ago and came out to investigate.
"I was afraid and shy by nature when I came to the track," Newton said, "But I loved what I saw and fell in love with the environment. I thought, 'This is really cool. I have to do this."'
Newton trained the whole year, running in various 50K races and marathons. He came back the following year in 1999 and ran in the 24-hour race.
"I want to run for at least 100 miles this year," Newton, 57, said after completing 81.52 miles last year. "I will not sleep in the first 24 hours and I then hope to run 36 hours with a few breaks."[*]
The race has three different parts to it — a three-day run, spanning 72 hours, followed by a 48-hour and 24-hour race. Each runner has to pay an entry fee of $75 per day but are supplied with the necessary items, including food, beverages, medicine, and showering facilities.
As the run continues, some take breaks in their tents that are setup covering the football field. Camping chairs, sleeping bags, and just about anything else a runner would need for their particular trek surrounding them. [sic] The track is lit all night.
"People are just out here to have fun and bring what they need to do it," Bonnett said.
Bonnett has been the director of the event for the past five years. Last year's event drew about 65 runners and lasted for six days. He decided just to hold a three-day event this year.
The race founder Harold Sieglaff, still competes in the race every year. He founded the race 18 years ago but it was originally run on Easter Day. He moved it to New Year's Day because it falls at the same time every year, allowing people to plan for it.
"This is a safe way to spend your new year. I don't know how I would spend it if I wasn't here," Sieglaff, 80,[**] said as he rounded the track toward another 100-mile run.
[*] He failed to mention that this goal was for 24 hours plus maybe four more, and that 130 miles was my real goal for 48 hours, although it is true that of the three goals I set for myself, reaching over 100 miles was the primary one.
[**] Harold is 66, not 80.