This weekend the ultra community will be focused will be on Palatka, Florida and the inaugural FASTtrack 24 race. The race, co-directed by Tim Schaum and Winston Fletcher, is the first 24 hour race in the state of Florida. The timed race will have 6, 12 and 24 hour options. Weather conditions should be near perfect with highs in the high 50’s and lows in the mid 40’s overnight.
Local Florida standout athletes, Marc Burget, Sally Libonati and Regina Sooey will be joined by elite ultrarunners from across the USA in what should be a competitive race. This is also a qualifier for the US National 24 Hour Running Team competing in Austria in 2019. To meet the minimum 24 hour standard, men must run at least 145 miles and women must come in over 130 miles. With the elite field and expected near perfect weather conditions, we would not be surprised for some new additions on the USA qualifier list after this weekend.
Below is a preview of the 24 Hour field starting with the men, but first, Steve and Gina Slaby, both representing Team USA at the World Championships in Belfast, will be competing in the 12 hour. No doubt we missed some deserving athletes competing this weekend. We wish the very best to everyone lining up in the 6, 12 and 24 hour races and look forward to sharing photos, videos and updates throughout the weekend.
12 HOUR RACE:
Representing half of Team Slaby, Steve is a proven ultrarunner across trails, tracks and roads. He, along with his wife Gina, represented the USA on the 2017 National 24 Hour Team that competed in Belfast at the World Championships. Steve was the second American male (12th in the world) with 157 miles which helped the team podium with a Bronze medal.
His personal records include: 100 miles 14:46 at Run4Water (enroute to 154 miles), 50k: 3:20 at Dahlgren 50k in 2014. Marathon: 2:29 (San Diego 2009, Marine Corps Marathon 2007, Philadelphia Marathon 2006).
He ran on the US Military Cross Country World Championships in November and also won the Plain 100 (2016), Seattle Marathon (2015), Vashon Island 50k (2017) and Pigtails 50k (2017).
Gina burst onto the ultrarunning scene two years ago. She was the 10th Ranked Ultrarunner of the Year by UltraRunner Magazine in 2016 and in 2017 moved up to #9.
She set the 100 mile World Record at Desert Solstice in Dec 2016 (13:45:49) and held the record until Camille Herron’s impressive run at Tunnel Hill. Gina was 4th at the 24 Hour World Championships (2017 – Team Gold) with 154 miles. Prepare to watch her fly around the track this weekend as she MAY be making a run at the USA 100k team.
Her list of race wins is impressive:
– 1st Female at Plain 100 (2017 – CR)
– 1st Female Run4Water 24hr – (2017) 142 miles
– 1st Female Pigtails 50K (2017 – CR)
– 1st Female Vashon Island 50k (2017 – CR)
– 1st Female Capitol Peak 50K (2017 – CR)
– 1st Female Vermont 100 (2016)
– 2 time Olympic Trials qualifier in Marathon (2:39 PR)
– USATF Cross Country Championships Pan Am Games (2016 – Team Gold
24 HOUR RACE – MEN:
Pete’s 24 Hour PR of 163.68 miles ranks him as the 5th all time furthest American distance. Pete represented the USA on the 24 Hour National Team at the World Championships in Belfast. In 2016 he became the fastest to run across America: 3,067 miles in 42 days, 6 hours, 30 minutes. (Averaging 71 miles a day!). He is the Styr Labs Badwater 135 two-time champion and course record holder (21:56)
His 100 mile PR is 14:08. The jury is out whether this weekend’s run is a warm up for a later 24 hour race or if he is going to throw down for a qualifying time.
The weather this weekend will feel like a heat wave as he has been training this winter in frigid temps in his hometown of Cincinnati, OH. He has momentum with another dominating win at Root and Rock 50k in 4:43:30 just two weeks ago. He was also part of one of the most exciting races in 2017 with a second place finish and a mind-blowing 241.668 miles at Big’s Backyard “Last Man Standing” Ultra race in October. In between these races, he ran 4th at the Tunnel Hill 50 mile race. Harvey won Styr Labs Badwater 135 in 2014. With a 24 hour PR of 158.7 miles, Harvey has represented the USA in the last FOUR World Championships. This could be a breakout race for Harvey Lewis who has the foot speed, endurance and experience to hit a qualifying mark this weekend.
Joe Fejes has represented the USA on two National 24 Hour Teams – in 2012 at Katowice, Poland, where the team earned a Bronze medal team and again in 2013 in Steenburgen, Netherlands where the team earned Gold. Joe specializes in multi-day races. In May 2015, Joe became the first modern-day American to break the 600-mile barrier in six days at the EMU World Trophy races in Hungary. While most of were recovering from celebrating New Years, Joe brought in 2018 with another win (3 of last 4) at the Snowdrop Ultra 55 Hour Race & Relay 55 Hour Race in Sugar Land, TX with 236.133 miles. It will be exciting to watch Joe this weekend. His 24 Hour PR is 156.6 may have been a few years ago, but he is one of the most resilient and tenacious competitors in the field.
Californian Andrew is racking up some serious 24 hour miles races – four weeks ago, he completed the Desert Solstice 24 Hour in Phoenix and in hour weeks he has signed up for the Farmdaze 24 Hour race in Brooklet, GA. He holds the World Record with 138.81 miles running barefoot in 1 day. He holds the course record at the Fort Clinch 100 mile race in 16:50. His 100 mile PR is 16:40 (within a 24 hour race) and his 50 mile PR is 6:20.
Andrew is also the “Screwed” champion of VolState 500k in 2016. (“Screwed” = self supported)
Unproven at the 24 hour timed races, Marc has dominated the the 100 mile and 12 hour races he has entered. No doubt he has the foot speed, but questions are open about his endurance and 24 hour strategy. However, he has completed the historic 264k Spartathlon last year. Burget, who resides in Jacksonville will feel right at home at Palatka. The 2016 Azalea 12hr race, also held in Palatka, FL is among the three 12 hour races he won in the past two years. We are excited to see Mark compete this weekend and expect he will do well. Below are races he has won recently (most with Course Records):
– Fort Clinch 50 Mile Champion/Course Record Holder
– 2015 Wolfson Children’s Challenge 55K Champion/Course Record Holder – – – 2016 River To Sea 6 Hour Champion/ Course Record Holder
– 2016 Bronze Man 12 Hours Of Fort Clinch Champion/ Course Record Holder
– 2016 Azalea 12 Hour Champion/Course Record Holder
– 2016 Daytona 100 Miles Champion/Course Record Holder
– 2017 Donna 110 Ultra Marathon Champion/ Course Record Holder
– 2017 Keys 100 Ultra Marathon Champion
– 2017 River To Sea 12 Hour Champion/ Course Record Holder
24 HOUR RACE – WOMEN:
USA National 24 Hour National Team alumna and winner of over 85 Ultras. Enough said.
She has a PR of 149.038 miles with her second place finish as the 2012 World Championships in Poland. Well-rested from Desert Solstice in December, Connie has the most 24 hour experience in the field which could pay off with big miles this weekend.
In her last four races in 2017 (one 50k and three 100 mile races), she placed either first or second. #momentum. She has experience with the 24 Hour format and an impressive PR of 140 miles. She was the first alternate for the 2017 USA National Team, squeezed out by Gina Slaby on the last weekend of qualifying. Megan is a sign language interpreter who lives in Springfield, Virginia. This weekend could be magic for her.
In mid October Emily won the Doan Creek Trail Run 50K in Cleveland, OH. Two weeks later she won the Run With Scissors 52.4 Miler in Peninsula, OH. One month earlier in September, she set her 24 Hour PR at the Olander 24 Hour Race. With her frequency and recent focus on speed in shorter races, this weekend could be big for Emily. She also has familiar faces on the track with fellow Ohioans Harvey Lewis and Connie Gardner.
Natalie from Muscatine, Iowa, currently lives in Riverside, California. At Desert Solstice she set a new PR of 105 miles. However, based on the smiles and enthusiasm at the end, it’s fair to say she has alot left in the tank for some even bigger miles. This summer she set a solo, self-Supported, Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the California Coastal Trail, 1,171 miles in 44 days, 18 hours, 40 minutes, 2017. Her running resume continues to grow:
-Overall Course Record at Boundiful Endurance Runs 12 Hour, 2017
-Female Course Record at Jackpot 100 Mile, 2016
-Female Course Record at Bare Burro 5k, 2016, 2017
-1st overall, Beyond Limits Ultra 100 mile, 2016
-1st female, Riverbank One Day, 2016
-1st female, Orange Curtain 100k, 2016
-1st female, Chino Hills 50k, 2015
-1st female, Merrill’s Mile 24 Hour, 2015
-17:24:58 100 mile PR, 2016
-2017 USATF Southern California Mountain Ultra Trail Overall Champion
Regina only has one 24 hour race under her belt – 101 miles at Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race in Rockingham, NC. However that was back in 2014. Since then, she has been tearing up 6-12 Hour races and distances between 50k and 100 miles. Similar to Marc Burget, this could shape up to be a breakout race on her “home turf.” Regina was a 2017 Spartathlon finisher and 2016 and 2017 Comrades Marathon finisher.
She also won the River 2 Sea 12hr race in 2016 & 2017. Her 100 mile PR is 17:29 and 50 mile PR 7:33 at Azalea. She has foot speed with a marathon PR of 3:14 at Grandma’s. Watch out – Regina’s 24 hour Race #2 could be big.
Sally, from Englewood, Florida, started off 2017 with a win at the Skydive Ultra Run 200 Miler in Clewiston, FL. She has two back-to-back 24 hour races, Dawn 2 Dusk 2 Dawn in Sharon Hill, PA and Southern Discomfort in Albany, GA, running for a buckle and finishing both at 100 miles. We expect a new PR here this weekend. Last month she ran the Dayton 100 miler in 19:19:21.
6 Hour Race
Jacksonville, FL resident, Susan Haag will have a short commute to Palatka and will be running in the six Hour race. She is the world record holder for females with 110 full Ironman finishes… and counting. Susan also sits on the board for USA Triathlon. We are excited to see her crush loops this weekend.
The Slabys are a power running couple. So are the Fejes’. While Joe runs for 24 hours, Kelley will be cranking out fast loops in the six hour race. This will seem like a walk in the park after her 183.6597 miles at Snowdrop Ultra 55 Hour Race & Relay 55 Hour Race in Sugar Land, TX on January 1. She was first female and 4th overall. In October and November, she won three 24 hour races with 100 miles in each. We think she should trade up to the 24 but suspect she may have crew duties after her six hour race!