When Andrei Nana completed his first 100 mile race, the Ancient Oaks in Titusville, Florida on December 3, 2011, he knew that this race was just the beginning. While many first time 100 mile finishers swear “never again”, for Nana, the sentiment may have been something more like “not good enough.” To be sure, since that first race, Nana has not only completed 20 more – including the Spartathlon where he finished 27th overall and 2nd American — but defined himself as the representative of International Ultrarunning in America.
Beginning with the formation of his International 100+ UltraRunning Club — which now has over 400 members from 34 different countries — Nana’s vision was to create an international presence for ultrarunning in America. “I felt as though this country, unlike many European countries, fails to organize and truly support ultrarunning,” Nana states. And Nana should know. Raised in Romania, Nana and his younger sister both specialized in martial arts and won many regional and national titles.
With the International 100+ UltraRunning Club in full swing, Nana now seeks to add Florida’s first six day race to his list of accomplishments. Named the Icarus Florida UltraFest, after the mythological Icarus which warns us against complacency and hubris, this six day event features much more than just a six day race. “The idea was to create an environment where ultrarunners of all levels could experience a top class international ultrarunning event, and be able to run with the six day competitors,” Nana explains.
To accomplish this, Nana organized 13 separate races in total. “We have three 24 hour races, each beginning on the first, fourth, and last day of the six day race, and additionally on each of those days we will have a 12 hour, six hour and three hour race,” states Nana. Runners will then have an option to choose which event best suits them, a three, six, 12 or 24 hour race, and the day in which they would like to run. As the six day race spans the length of the event, any race chosen will be run with the six day competitors. “We have several Italian, Hungarian, and French runners planning to attend already,” states the race organizer.
The location alone should be enough to compel many runners to attend as the race is set November 10-16th in Snyder Park in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. “The weather in should be perfect for some very fast times — high around 75 degrees and lows in the mid 60s,” Nana explains. Flat, completely paved, almost entirely shaded, and just one kilometer in length, the course promises to be fast. “In looking at record times for six day races, it seems as if the shorter loop courses are more conducive to faster times,” shares the race director.
With just 13 other six day races in existence internationally, a six day race in sunny Florida is a welcome addition to many runner’s competitive schedule. “It’s tough to find good six day events where there is little distraction,” Nana explains. “In Arizona, (Across The Years in December) many runners had trouble with the dust, and may people don’t want to go to Colorado (Silverton 1000 Multiday Run, held in August) because of the difficult adjustment to the altitude,” he continues. Different from both of these races, the Icarus Florida UltraFest is designed as an international event, with qualification races for both the 24 hour World Championship, and the Spartathlon.
But more than anything, the Icarus Florida UltraFest will be the realization of a vision — to organize and support ultrarunning in America on an international level. And with race participants from 13 years of age to 74 years of age, perhaps demonstrate as the Icarus Florida UltraFest mission states — that limits do not apply.
For more information about Icarus Florida UltraFest, visit www.icarusfloridaultrafest.com or find them on Facebook.