When Antonio Arreola and Steve Schmidt crossed the finish line together at today’s Houston Marathon in 2:49:09 and 2:58:07, respectively, they achieved something few runners will ever be able to boast: becoming the first two people in the world to score sub-3 marathon finishes in no fewer than six successive decades–also known as 6DS3.
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In addition, Arreola took back ownership of the record for the longest time span between sub-3 marathon performances that was broken last month at the California International Marathon by Ian Mickle of Sacramento. According to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians, Arreola has been running sub-3 marathons for 43 years and 45 days.
The race was won by Kelkile Gezahegn of Ethiopia in 2:08:36. Bonsa Dida, also of Ethiopia, was second, in 2:10:37 and Amanuel Mesel of Eritrea was third, in 2:11:04. also
A story by 1968 Boston Marathon champion Amby Burfoot reports in Podium Runner, Arreola, a retired manager of defense contract programs, ran his first marathon in 1974, at age 15, in 3:04, but didn’t achieve a sub-3 until two years later. His lifetime personal best is 2:46:17, and he achieved 5DS3 in 2010. He told Burfoot he was running 60 to 70 miles (96 to 112K) per week while training for Houston, but modestly claimed that he felt his results have been inconsistent and that he was not feeling a lot of confidence going into today’s race.
Schmidt, a retired helicopter pilot, has a similar running history and training habits to Arreola, but has had some difficulties with injuries over the last few years, so today’s achievement would be all the sweeter. Burfoot reports that the two men had not known each other, but were in touch recently to discuss their big milestone attempt.