The 6-Day race that began Monday, July 15 at the 15th Street Park ended at 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 20 with Jerry Schuster of Tucson being declared the winner.
Schuster, who won the 6-Day race in 2008, recorded 124.5 total miles this year. Coming in second was Ian Peters of Douglas who finished with 96 miles. Third place went to Mario Escobedo who logged in 62.25 miles and event organizer Gary Cross finished fourth with 50.25 miles.
Cross said this year’s race was more of a modified type of race where in years past it was a 24-hour a day race. This year it was a 12-hour per day race and participants were actually allowed to leave the park and sleep in a comfortable location away from the park instead of having to remain on site all six days.
The course the race was run on is a three-quarter mile circuit around the park. The winner is determined by the marathoner who completes the most miles during the 6-Day framework. Race participants can walk or run whenever they feel like it during the race.
Competitors this year endured some extreme heat and a few intense showers in addition to the course which was run on grass, dirt and asphalt.
Schuster said Saturday this year’s race was challenging not only because of the conditions but also because of the fact he is now “semi retired” and attempting to get his body back into marathon condition.
“The tough conditions can only help because it’s whipping me back into shape rather quickly,” he said. “The humidity this year seemed to affect me a little more than the heat. I’m used to the heat being from Tucson. It does obviously, cut into my performance because I’m making a comeback.”
Schuster was forced to stop on several occasions due to an occasional downpour.
“On Wednesday (July 17) when I was on the lap to reclaim the lead from Mario, I was on the north side of the field heading uphill,” he said. “By then the rain had kicked up and was coming down really hard so I had the wind and the rain in my face with lightning a little too close for comfort. I was barreling as fast as I could. I was thinking two things at that moment. I was going to take the lead when I finish this lap and duck for cover, so I did. That comes with the territory.”
Schuster said running this kind of race during the summer makes it more challenging.
Cross has stated that next year’s race will be run in April, the week prior to Easter.
“Extreme heat will cut into anybody’s performance no matter how well acclimated they are,” he said. “I’m glad to see Gary is reviving this race. This is basically a rebuilding year for the race and for myself. I’m quite confident the race will grow and continue to get better.”
In all there were 11 participants competing this year. The remaining participants and their mileages were: JR Acosta, 27 miles; Julian Pereida, 23.25 miles; Jhie Acosta, 21.75 miles; Marisela Flores, 7.5 miles; Ramon Chavez, 5.25 miles, Jaelynn Peters, 2.25 miles and Jay Clark .75 miles.