Lt. Cmdr. Duane Zitta, an ultra-endurance athlete, is taking on a new challenge by running a 100-mile ultra-marathon in the Florida Keys.
Zitta is well-known in the Coast Guard Foundation community. A long-time supporter of our tragedy assistance and Fallen Hero Scholarship programs, Zitta has competed in marathons, long-distance swims, 100-mile trail runs, distance runs from the ocean to the top of a mountain, and the Kona Ironman Triathlon. He has competed wherever he has been stationed - including Hawaii, Alaska, Virginia, and Florida.
The Keys 100 Ultra-Marathon is a race that Zitta knows well. Back in 2011, Lt. Brian Bruns, with the organizational support of Lt. Lucy Love, ran this race as the inaugural Run to Remember to honor Coast Guard members who died in service to our country. A year later, the second Run to Remember was a relay with 90 participants, each wearing a t-shirt with the name of a Coast Guard member lost in the line of duty. For the second event, however, multiple races included 17 units worldwide instead of a single route through the Florida Keys. That year, Zitta joined the cause, running a local race in Virginia.
And he hasn’t stopped.
Now, Zitta is stationed in Key West and is poised to take on the 100-mile race as a solo runner on May 20-21, starting in Key Largo and finishing in Key West. Volunteers will help him stay hydrated and in good physical condition at set locations and times along the route during the up to 32-hour race.
“This year will be extremely special to me because I’m in the birthplace of the Run to Remember movement,” shared Zitta. “I am so pleased with the progress and how far we’ve come.”