CLEWISTON — On Thursday, Jan. 26, nearly 250 runners visited Skydive Spaceland in Clewiston for the fourth annual Ultra Run + Skydiving event. This unique event offers runners the opportunity to start their event with an adrenaline-charging skydive, then compete in one of eight different distance running divisions at the Airglades Airport.
The Ultra Run is organized by Eric Friedman, who ran the first event in 2014 with only himself and seven friends as competitors. This year, the race has grown by leaps and bounds again, to 243 registrants.
Many of them, 153 to be exact, will also skydive from up to 14,000 feet, freefall at 120mph, and literally hit the ground running for the race. They’ll compete over distances from 10K up to 200 miles.
Yes, you read that right—200 miles! Most of the runners will compete on Saturday, but the 200-mile competitors actually began running Thursday, Jan. 26, and complete their runs at the main event on Saturday. They’ll have 75 hours to complete the distance.
Friedman reports that this year’s competitors hail from 34 U.S. states, Canada, Singapore, Germany, and United Arab Emirates.
“I’m most excited that we’re providing 20 free race slots and five free tandem skydives for our country’s armed force veterans!” he noted.
“People think what we do is extreme,” said Spaceland-Florida co-owner/operator Rick Hornsby. “These athletes take extreme to a totally different level. Not only are these athletes pushing their bodies up to a distance of 200 miles running, but they begin their day by jumping out of a plane. Best of all, they are all smiling and cheering each other on along the way. These are elite athletes who do this. This is truly a one-of-a-kind event for a one-of-a-kind athlete.”