One of the more prolific U.S. ultrarunners (with over 100 ultramarathons on his legs over the past 35 years, as well as 150 marathons), Arpan DeAngelo of New York City, will be on the starting line for the 16th annual New York Self-Transcendence 3100 mile (5000Km) that starts on Father's Day, June 17th. Runners from 8 other countries (starters list below), including several with truly world class credentials/ times, will join Arpan on the mostly concrete-surfaced 890 meter loop (.55 of a mile) around the shady grounds of Edison School and Austin Park in suburban Jamaica Hills, Queens, New York. Entrants must qualify in a certified multiday race, and to finish the 3100 mile in 53 days must average 59 miles a day (that's EVERY day-- no days off except in cases of emergency).
When asked why, after a long running career and about to turn 60, he entered this "concrete colossus" of an ultra, Arpan explained that "it's something I felt like I needed to do. I felt that if I did not do it now, I might get a few years down the road and regret it." What he does not mention is that 8 years ago he finished the race in 51 Days + 10 hours. The range of his running accomplishments is almost "Schwerk-ian or Kouros-ian" (these adjectives refer to the two greatest 24 hour runners of all-time, who are both sub-2:30 marathoners and centurions as well as the #1 and #6 6-Day Race runners of all-time, and tops at many other ultra distances). In his earlier years Arpan has run a 2:43:20 marathon and 45 marathons under 3 hours, 131 miles in 24 hours, among the hundreds of other quality races he has run. During his recent long and slow miles of training for the 3100 he he has also raced a few distances from 2 miles (13:01) and 5Km (20:11 through a 3:29 marathon and 37+ mile 6 hour race (these latter two a week apart) during his build-up this spring.
Arpan, who is a former elementary school teacher and currently does carpentry in New York, mentioned that "at the start of the year, I really had to get organized" with everything from consistent, quality daily training to managing his budget for the race and time off from work. I was especially impressed that while he was visiting frigid Ottawa, Ontario from this winter, he managed to average 70-100 miles a week. He kept up steady training upon returning to New York, and polished off his preparations by being part of the World Harmony Run, a biennial, Olympic-style torch relay that began in 1987 and which passes through all 50 states. Most of the relay runners are ultrarunners, and do multiple legs of 8-12 miles a day (the team covering about 90 miles a day while sometimes running with school kids, civic leaders and celebrities, and many other folks as they wind their way around the USA).
My family and I plan to be in New York City and at the race helping "Uncle Arpan" (as my kids call him) for a few days around the 1st of July. We will also cheer on all the runners from around the world. Sadly, for the first time in race history, it appears there will be no women runners this year as 2012 finisher and Austrian running legend Surasa Paula Mairer is a late scratch due to injury. I can think of several world class women who I believe could CRUISE through this race, alas they all had work/ family commitments or other race plans.
Best wishes to the above 12 courageous individuals, and to all ultrarunners around the globe.
El Paso, Texas