Imagine running for 12 hours straight in Bakersfield. Or dare to run for a record of 24 hours. Heck, being a watcher of these two races could be daring enough.
And you can be a part of this rather interesting experience starting at 8 a.m. Dec. 20 as part of the Celtic Winter Classic 12/24 Hour Run to be held at Highland High School.
I’m told that a 5k race will also be available for the mortals and the not-so crazies.
If you wonder who would compete and run for 12 or 24 hours, then look no further.
Endurance athletes, both local and from a far, are probably salivating at this opportunity.
Of course, I should clarify that there is an individual or a team option. So, many super-fit ultra runners may opt for the solo journey, while others who like to run may choose the team category.
Up to 10 members are allowed on a team.
The course is a one-mile flat loop around Highland that will be repeated by runners — individual or team — in either timeframes.
Or again, you can settle for the 5k race, call it a day and watch the rest of the action unfold. Station aids will be provided.
The event is being organized by Andy Noise, coach of the Bakersfield Distance Project, and Adam Setser, of Ridgeview High School, who has coach high school track and cross country for 13 years (he is currently taking a break to focus on his son, Garret Hicks, a freshman who runs at Highland).
The event will support the Highland High School Cross Country Athletic Booster Club.
“Back when I was a high school distance runner, a 12-hour relay called the 12 Hour Run to the Sun was put on at West High School,” Setser recalled.
“This race was run on the track and anyone could compete, even individuals. My friends and I got a team together and had a great time! We set up tents on the football field and rested in our sleeping bags when it got late, and it wasn’t our turn. I remembered how much fun I had and wanted to create a similar atmosphere for local runners with this event.”
In addition, Noise has run his share of similar experiences. He’s logged in a number of ultramarathons (races that go beyond the usual 26.2 marathon distance) and has participated in looped ultra distance races such as the Bakersfield one is designed.
“There are many looped 24-hour races, and people like them because they are social and a lot safer than a trail race,” Noise said. “Perfect race for those who want to test their limits.”
The idea originated when Setser and Noise talked about organizing an ultra race (those that go beyond 26.2 miles) in town; Noise added that this race could help friend and ultra runner Ed “The Jester” Ettinghausen break the world record by running the most 100-mile races in a year.
Ettinghausen’s goal is to run 40 100-mile races and he’s currently run about 35, according to his Twitter feed, runjesterrun.
According to writer Allison Pattillo of Competitor.com, Ettinghausen, who is a 52-year-old Wildomar resident and CPR instructor, broke the Guinness world record a few years ago for having run the most marathons (26.2 miles) in a year. He ran 135.
Ettinghausen, who is known for his signature jester hat, now has his eyes set on finishing another 100-miler at the Bakersfield event, Noise added.
“We will be allowing any 24-hour runners who have completed at least 86 laps to continue to run for a 100-mile finish,” Setser said. “These runners will get an extra four hours with which to finish. All 100-mile finishers will be awarded a customary belt buckle for their accomplishment.”
I was curious to know who else holds the record on running the most 100-milers in a year and found some answers.
According to Leadville Running Company and iRunFar.com, Liz Bauer is credited for setting the world female record of running 36 100-mile races in a year, and Scott Brockmeier set the men’s record by running 27 100-mile races in year, both feats occurring two years ago.
Although Ettinghausen will likely be the main attention-getter, Setser is encouraging the recreational runners and serious athletes to sign up.
He is especially calling out high school runners to complete, whether as a relay team or individual.
“This will be a fun event under the lights,” said Setser. “It benefits local high school athletes and of course, you can run with a world record holder and witness history in the making.”
For more information about the Bakersfield race, visit ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=30282.
Fees are $100 for 24-hour individual run; $300 for the 24-hour relay team (up to 10 people); $70 for the 12-hour individual run; $250 for the 12-hour relay team (up to 10 people); and $30 for the 5k.
Awards will be provided to top finishers in different categories.
Olivia Garcia is a Californian columnist and editor of Bakersfield Life and BWell magazines. Send her tips at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her work appears here every third Monday; the views expressed are her own.