Multiday runner Israel Archuletta is taking part in the 6 Days In The Dome – The Redux currently taking place at the Pettit National Ice Center, Milwaukee, WI. Israel kindly sent us these notes whilst taking a break earlier today.
August 26, 2019
Observations and thoughts from the track on Day 2, less than 48 hours into 144 hour race. 100+ hours still to go. It is a unique experience watching the same 66 people go round in circles all day long. Since I was at the Alaska Dome race now the Milwaukee Dome race I’ll point out some of the different dynamics. A couple of big differences is the ice hockey rinks in the middle, that have hockey matches and practices on them, and the very annoying Zamboni machine that is loud throughout the day doing it’s thing on the ice. It’s loud.
Much more will come out over the next 4+ days, but just wanted to jot down my notes before forgetting, and just writing how I see things from on the track, during the middle of the race, from the back of the pack. Feel free to correct or critique or have me remove something if needed, I respect all privacy.
It’s cold in here. If you are running, or moving at quite a fast walking effort, then the temperature is good. But if you’re running low on energy or not moving fast enough or are hungry/dehydrated, the cold temp can be hard to overcome without a few extra layers. Wearing layers is an easy solution but sometimes it’s still just cold.
This Wisconsin Six Day is unique because you don’t have new 24 hour or 48 hour runners starting everyday with the field of Six Day runners. Here, it’s just us Six Day runners. Only us 66 out here going in circles. This helps with the dynamics that arise at other events when fast / fresh runners are let loose on the track usually at the start of every new day at other six day events. In this way here, we six day runners all suffer together, go through everything together. We don’t have new fresh runners whizzing past, and this is nice.
The foot doctors and physiotherapists were working in full force today, Day 2, that’s when people start hurting and need to get things adjusted still having 4.5 days to go.
This track is sticky. The coefficient of friction (the ratio between the force necessary to move one surface horizontally over another and the pressure between the two surfaces) is quite high, so right off the bat, many were getting tripped up in the beginning. The rubber soles on the rubber surface makes shuffling nearly impossible. A few have had to adjust their normal six-day shuffling strategy and just adjust their foot landing. John Geesler took a couple of tumbles early on and seems most have tripped on their own feet a few times. But the track surface is still much better than the Alaska surface. Tensile strength is much better!
There have been no trains (pacing with 5 or more runners doing a block of miles together) like there were in the Dome in Alaska, but if I remember those didn’t start till day 3ish there. Here, there seems to be such a big variety of style that all paces seem widely varying.
One of the biggest differences I’ve seen in styles at this race, is the obvious work collectively most of the runners have put into fast walking/shuffling. So many people have gained an extra skill – fast walking – that hasn’t been so observant in their past races.
Obviously most highly showcased is Anthony Culpepper and Yolanda Holder. I’ve seen them speed walk before. However, as long as I live, I won’t forget their first time passing me in this race about 4 laps in with the sheer speed of their walking, what seemed like a sub 10/min mile pace. It was phenomenal to watch! Another guy to see speed walking is Mick Thwaites from Australia. He both speed walks very fast and efficient, but also keeps running fast when he’s running too. Bob Hearn has also perfected his efficient movement and speed walking. Quite a few others also are using their practiced speed walking skills.
Everyone has their own unique style of moving over these 433 meters. This is obvious, but it’s rather amazing to see, hear, watch and know how each of the 66 runners/walkers move. Some run, some walk all, some zone out and listen to headphones, some don’t ever wear any. Those who have run events/races with many of the people in this event know what I mean.
Ray K has his thing, Ray is Ray, and he moves fast and keeps moving. Though, like me, when he takes a break, he’ll be slow to get up moving again. Nothing wrong with that, it takes a few laps for all the pain to go numb! John Geeser has his thing. Bill Schultz puts in the miles effortlessly.
The two phenomenal runners it has been impressive to watch is Joe Fejes and Connie Gardner. They both run, never walk. But keep going, and you can tell they are running with a purpose. They are also not running in a way that they’ll break in a couple days like some of the others. They move with a determination. They run. Dave Proctor also never walks, only runs. His style is unique. Everyone’s style is unique and fun to observe. Abbey Hendricks moves so fluidly, never a variation in her vertical oscillation (either walking or running) – you’d think she was on a skateboard if you only saw her head moving.
The two Japanese runners soft short steps, but continually putting in the miles.
William Sichel’s short fast steps I first observed when he ran the Six Days at the British Ultrafest in Oxford of August 2013. It’s great to see him again, he’s one I’d bet will be near the top at the end.
Brad Compton is completely impressive too with his seeming never slowing pace, but always able to jog/run move pretty quick. Doyle Carpenter who I met at Merrill’s Mile last month in Georgia always out on the course in all the heat, I thought was 58-62 years old, but the guy is never stopping at age 80! This race will be also a race of the 80+ category who are beyond phenomenal! Jimmie Barnes, so fast! Andy Lovy at 84 who was at the Tet Offensive (yes 1968 in Vietnam) not only is in the race, but also puts his doctor’s experience to use working on everyone while putting in miles. He has magic hands, healing and knowing how to treat any ailment of all of the 70+guys too, these guys are phenomenal!
I could speak about every person out here, all are unique and you get to learn about each individual, the more you’re out on the track together. In most running races you talk about runners in categories (fast, slow, age group, male, female) but here, all individuals are not only your competitors but your friends and runners are not in categories. You get to know them by how the sound of their feet hit the track, or their movement forward as they pass you continually.
August 27, 2019 42 hours into Six Days in the Dome Race