The men’s 2017 field at the Desert Solstice 24 Hour race in Phoenix, AZ is deep and experienced. As Camille has been bold in stating her desire to go after some records, there are men who are also making bold calls. Zach Bitter is going after a 100 mile world record. Isaiah Janzen is going after the men’s American record. Three accomplished barefoot runners, Andrew Snope, Barefoot Jake Brown and Teage O’Connor are going after Andrew’s Guinness record. The weekend could produce some World or American records or it could showcase major implosions if the hours/miles are not well managed. The weather will be deceivingly warm (mid 70s in the day/low 50s at night) which will add to the challenges. Here are some of those competing this weekend:
ZACH BITTER (24 Hour PR: 125.2 miles)
The above 24 PR means nothing because Zach Bitter will only have one goal in mind: hit the 100 mile WORLD RECORD. He has been pursuing this for years. In 2013 at Desert Solstice, Zach set the American record at 11:47:21. In 2015, he topped it again at Desert Solstice with 11:40:55 and was on World record pace through 80 miles. So in 2017, will he finally strike gold? He need to shave off about 12 minutes from his current best to eclipse the World Record mark set by Russian Oleg Kharitonov in 11:28:03
ISAIAH JANZEN (24 Hour PR: 154 miles)
Let’s talk about a bold prediction. Isaiah has stated publicly that he will be attempting to break Mike Morton’s American Record of 172.73 miles. Joe Fejes’ believes he has solid leg speed although maybe not quite as fast as either Camille or Zach. Janzen made the US National Team that competed in Italy with a 24 hour PR of 154 miles (14:41 100 mile split). However, his two other two 24 hour races were 89 miles & 100 miles. He also has not raced much over the past few years according to Ultra Signup and Athlinks. His only race in 2017 that we could find was his impressive 2nd place finish at the Mad City 100k in 7:10:42. He has summited Mt Everest but can he climb past Morton and claim to the a 24 Hour American record.
BOB HEARN (24 Hour PR: 152.15 miles)
Bob Hearn has historically run very well at Desert Solstice placing second in the past two years to standouts Pete Kostelnick and Courtney Dauwalter in the past two years. Will this be his year? Bob is the most disciplined runner in the field, and a true student of ultra running. He has tweaked his diet over the past year which has worked well for him in recent races. In 2016, he became one of a handful of Americans to post a sub 30 hour time in Spartathlon, the 153.4-mile race from Athens to Sparta. In one of the most exciting races in 2017, Bob barely missed out on making the USA Team at Run4 Water 24 Hour, but still represented the USA as an alternate in Belfast at the World Championships. We expect Bob to challenge for a top spot in the race and break into the 150s.
ADRIAN STANCUI (24 Hour PR: 148.12 miles)
As with Bob Hearn, Adrian represented the USA as an alternate at the World Championships in Belfast. Adrian tends to perform well on the biggest stages: He hammered out a 2nd place finish with 144.87 miles at the NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run’s National Championship. His PR was in Belfast at the World Championships with 148.12 miles as he helped USA teammates to a Bronze medal.
ED ETTINGHAUSEN (24 Hour PR: 144.65 miles)
This weekend at Desert Solstice, Ed “The Jester” will be running his 152nd 100 mile+ race. In December 2016, Ed won the Across the Years (ATY) six-day race with 451 miles. Two weeks prior to ATY he ran 127 miles at last year’s Desert Solstice with a 17:16 100-mile split. In 2013 at Desert Solstice he ran a personal best 144.62 miles with a 14:50 100 mile split which was the former American 50-54 age group record. Bob Hearn has since taken these records. But now, Ed is in the 55-59 age division so will be eyeing records by Jay Aldous and Roy Pirrung. “Jester On..”
ANDREW SNOPE (24 Hour PR: 138.81 miles)
Andrew is the current Guinness World Records 24 hour barefoot running record holder. He accomplished this feat first in 2014 at the Six Day’s in the Dome Race in Anchorage, Alaska, tallying up a total of 136.98 miles. Andrew bettered his own record at last year’s Desert Solstice, running 138.81 miles in 24 hours. However, he will be challenged this year by to other top barefoot runners, Teague O’Connor and Barefoot Jake Brown, who are also zeroing in on the Guinness Record. This “race within the race” will be an interesting to watch.
MARK MANZ (24 Hour PR: 137.83 miles)
Manz, from Durham, NC, could be a surprise tomorrow. His impressive PR at Hinson Lake was in Sept 2017. He seems to have solid leg speed with a 3:07:26 at Umstead Trail Marathon.
Teage O’Connor is running his first 24-hour at DS, but he is a 2:23 marathoner and holds the World Record for the 100k at 7:13 100k. Watch for this darkhorse to be there at the end – if he practices patience.
Barefoot Jake Brown