Sunday, January 6, 2013

Race Spotlight - Destin 50 Beach Ultra

Weekly Spotlight: Zane Holscher - Destin 50 Beach Ultra
Congratulations to Brandi Zakrzewski for winning the comp entry into this years Destin 50 Beach Ultra! A huge thanks to Zane for donating this! Be sure to buy your raffle tickets at and help support SOWF, this also make a PERFECT Christmas present for that special Ultra Runner in your life!!!

1. Can you tell me a little about your event? The Destin 50 Beach Ultra has 50K and 50M distances and takes place on the white sand beaches of Destin, Florida on February 17, 2013.  I created the race to benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) and every dollar goes toward putting on a great race and the SOWF. 

2. This year, leading into your event you have begun a special fund raiser. Who is that going to benefit and how does it work? The Destin 50 was created to benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF).  We encourage all runners to raise funds for the SOWF and this year we reached out to race directors all over the nation to get entries donated for us to raffle for the SOWF.  They responded in true ultra fashion, blowing us away with generosity.  To date, we have over 90 entries in 30 states! This means we will have 80+ people winning free race entries.

3. Where can we find more information about the Fund Raising Event? All the races up for raffle and instructions how to buy tickets are at  You just buy tickets online and then rank all the races in order of preference on our website.  We will fill out the paper tickets for you and have the drawing on Feb 17th at the Destin 50.  If folks don't want to buy a ticket they can still donate to the SOWF there.

4. This year you have several folks attempting to break the world record, how did that all come about, who's racing and what is the current record? In an effort to raise awareness for the SOWF Sean 'Run Bum' Blanton and I talked about putting together something unique for the 2013 Destin 50 Beach Ultra.  We were kicking around the 24hr idea when I approached Mike Morton with the idea.  Being in special operations, and an all around great guy, he liked the idea and it really took off from there. We have a team of some of the greatest ultra runners in the nation to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for 'Greatest Distance Run on Sand in 24hrs'. The current Guinness record is 83.04 miles and the greatest known distance (not certified by Guinness) is 94.08 miles. Each of our runners is unique, but they are a great team together.  I have already been enjoying the banter and challenges between the runners.  It is pretty interesting that 23 years separates our oldest and youngest runners but they all seem to have an unlimited supply of energy and positive attitiudes!
Mike Morton, who everyone reading this is sure to know after his amazing 2012, is the men's 24hr American record holder, 2012 24hr World Champion, 2012 Badwater winner, 2012 USATF Ultra Runner of the Year. 

Connie Gardner is the women's 24hr American Record Holder, 2012 USATF Ultra Runner of the Year, and just ran across Ohio last weekend.
Joe Fejes was on the American 24hr Team in 2012 and is a very experienced fixed time runner.
Sean 'Run Bum' Blanton has ran over 80 ultra races in just a few short years and, as mentioned, helped come up with this event.

Dustin Krajewski is a Leadville 100 finisher who has been my best friend since we were about 10 and is representing me and all of us 'non-elite' runners.

5. A lot of talk within the Ultra community lately has be in regards to course distances and the validity of the advertised distance. For your event to qualify for a World Record, you had to have your course certified. What was that process like? Our ultra courses have always been very close to the advertised distance since they very close to a straight line.  But the measurement of the 24hr course has been quite a process since it is all on the sand and the beach is constantly changing. These factors make it impossible to measure with the normal distance wheel. According to Guinness, it has to be measured within 1/2 meter, so we enlisted the equipment and expertise of some of our special operations troops who are specially trained to survey airfields.  They have extremely precise GPS survey equipment that we have used to layout a straight line 1 mile out and back (2 mile total) 24hr course that is within an error of .3 meters.

6. Will we be able to track the runners during the event? There is internet at one turn-around point, so we plan on posting hourly updates on our Facebook page at the very least.

7. On a personal note, how did you get involved in running and ultimately putting on this event? I had been running marathons for several years and had talked a lot of friends/family into running marathons.  One was my cousin, Jake Holscher, who really got into running and started taking on ultra events.  During his first Leadville 100, he asked me to pace him the last 23 miles and that was my first exposure to ultra running.  I was simply amazed by him and the other runners there.  That same summer, I moved to Destin, Florida for a new assignment with the Air Force and was getting involved with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.  With no mountains in Destin, I wanted to create something that would really test people and raise money for the SOWF. Having already put some miles in on the beach, I thought 50 miles in the sand would be pretty tough and unique. Four years later, I am still in the Air Force and I spend most of my spare time trying to improve our events and raise more for the SOWF.

8. Where can we find all the details for your event? has a ton of information on all our events.  I also encourage folks to email me personally at with any questions they have. 

FREE STUFF!!! Zane has agreed to donate a comp entry into the 2013 Destin 50K or 50 Miler to one lucky reader. Be sure to sign the Guest Book and tell us why you want to race for free, be sure to put Destin50 in your post!!! I'll be pulling one lucky winner on December 14th at 8:00pm. Please support this amazing cause by purchasing a raffle ticket.

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