Indialantic runner tackles six-day race at age 68


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Jim Schroeder ran the six-day Icarus Florida UltraFest last year at the age of 67. He is running it again this year. Photo courtesy of Jim Schroeder

On Sunday, Nov. 15, distance runners from around the world made Snyder Park in Fort Lauderdale their home as they pitched their tents the night before the race began. 

Indialantic runner Jim Schroeder, 68, was among them. Last November, he logged 247 miles during the six-day Icharus Florida UltraFest. 

Just at sunrise on Monday morning, the clock started ticking and the runners were off, until the clock stopped ticking 144 hours — six days — later.

By 7 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, Schroeder had covered 303.968 miles in 143.54 hours, averaging more than 50 miles a day for six days straight.

Schroeder started running longer distances when he was 62, his inaugural ultramarathon being the Ancient Oaks 100-miler, which takes place annually in Titusville’s Enchanted Forest.

Now, he can’t stop running. Since then, he’s logged thousands of running miles, but a timed ultramarathon, like the Icarus six-day, is a whole different beast.

“The winner is not the one who runs the fastest; it’s the one who runs the longest. The clock starts and then 144 hours later it stops. What you do in between is up to you. Sleep as much as you want, sit around and eat, do whatever you want to do, but the clock is still ticking.”

International records have been broken on this USATF and IAAF certified course, a 1.0408 kilometer loop. Last year, Schroeder met and ran with famous runners from Canada, Serbia, Denmark and Hungary, among others.

After the race was over, coming back to reality was difficult for Schroeder. 

“After six days of having no responsibility — people are there cooking for you 24 hours a day at the aid station — and I’m just running, sleeping, eating and talking to people on the course,” Schroeder said.  “After the awards ceremony, reality struck. I hit I-95 and could barely function. I had been enclosed for seven days in this little bubble and it took me three weeks to reenter the world.”

Toward the end of the week, the six-day runners will have more running company as the 72-hour, 48-hour, 24-hour and 12-hour ultramarathon events take place.

For more information on the Icarus six-day event, go to icarusfloridaultrafest.com

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