In the age compensated, Race for the Ages ultra-marathon held Labor Day weekend at Fred Deadman Park , the older you are, the older the participants are, the earlier they start, and numerically, the oldies runner has the lowest number.
At 90, Bib Number 1, Don Jans, of Villages, Fla., got the premier spot on his weekend-long journey to complete his 119-mile course. Last year he logged 115 miles.
He succeeded in 89 hours, 52 minutes.
Over the course of a weekend, participants become like family. Jans said that’s the big difference between ultra-runners and some other races. Out on the course there’s competition, but it’s a runner against himself; everyone supports one another and wants everyone to succeed.
Back in the 80s, Jans flew to Hawaii to do the Ironman in 1987. This race makes 13th 100-mile race and his fifth Race for the Ages.
“It’s a lot of fun. Everybody’s out here. Everybody wants everyone else to do well,” he said.
Jans is running with his two daughters Sharon Jans and Marilyn Schupbach.
“This just goes to show you age is not a factor,” Sharon Jans said. “It’s the time that is the factor. A lot of the 100-mile runs in the country have a time limit.
“It’s easy,” she said. “It’s basic. All you need is decent shoes.
“There’s something about it. It’s just you against the elements and your two feet. You are just out there. You have your own personal goal. It’s very satisfying when you achieve that.”
His other daughter, Schupbach said. “You don’t have to be that good at it. In tennis, if you suck nobody wants to play with you. With running, you can do it by yourself. Just lace up and out the door.”
Jans said that he once could finish an ultra in the 30 hour allotted time. His daughters have never completed an ultra in under 30 hours.
Bib number 38, runner Claudia Tuori, 70, of Howell, Mich., knocked out an even 100 miles in 65 hours, 57 minutes.
This is the second year Tuori participated in Race for the Ages, she learned a lot of lessons during last race.
“Lay down and take naps every once in a while, or you hallucinate and fall over dead in the middle,” she said.
At the last race, Tuori pushed too far too long and about fell out one night at about 9 p.m. A fellow participant saw her predicament and came running with a bottle of water. The trail angel then insisted she go lay down.
“I only had 60 miles done at that point. I slept for six hours, got up at three in the morning, a new person and did my 100 miles with time left over,” she said.
This year she planned to pace herself with breaks and naps.
“I never ran a step in my life until I was 59 and a half. Some of my 30-year-old friends were training for some of those (half marathons).”
Tuori on a whim signed up for a 5K. She started to run and has been at it ever since.
John has been with the Manchester Times since May 2011. John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. John is a 1994 graduate of Tullahoma High School, a graduate of Motlow State Community College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Tullahoma, enjoys painting, dancing and exploring the outdoors.
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