News // May 10, 2019

Zitta Rises to the Challenge: Sea to Stars

  • Jennifer Crowley Fyke
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Duane T. Zitta, a lieutenant in the Coast Guard stationed in Hawaii as the Command Duty Officer for the 14th Coast Guard District, along with Tom Steidler and Brian Wyland, reached the summit of Mauna Kea, from Hilo, Hawaii on May 3, 2019. This “Sea to Stars” challenge was a 42-mile trek from the ocean to the peak of Mauna Kea at an elevation of 13,803 feet- and raised $2,775 for the Coast Guard Foundation Fallen Heroes Fund.

This arduous trek started by touching the ocean in Hilo Bay early in the morning and ended at the summit of Mauna Kea -- 11 hours, 19 minutes and 9 seconds later. Along the way, they ran along paved access roads and trail paths with steep elevation and rugged terrain; weather conditions ranged from 83 degrees and sunny, to 28 degrees with 75 mile per hour winds, making it feel more like 14 degrees. Their assent to the summit has been recorded as the fastest-known-time for a self-supported team.

Over the last year and a half, Zitta has challenged himself to compete in multiple ultra-endurance races to generate awareness and support for the Coast Guard Foundation Fallen Heroes Fund. Before the Sea to Stars challenge, he completed the HURT 100-mile endurance run, a very difficult event conducted on trails, mountains and in the rainforest about the city of Honolulu. His prior races have raised more than $12,000 for the fund that provides tragedy assistance and support to Coast Guard families.

Mahalo to my ultra-supportive family, friends, coach, and donors.

Duane T. Zitta

Reflecting on this most recent challenge, Zitta shared, “Once again the Fallen pushed me high up the mountain and I was reminded how small we are in this world. The mountain dictated our day and we are fortunate she allowed us passage to the summit. Mahalo to my ultra-supportive family, friends, coach, and donors. Without the continued support you all have shown me none of this would be possible. Truly another way to honor the Fallen, fundraise, and represent the most amazing service around.”

Zitta is already preparing for his next challenge- the Ironman World Championship, scheduled for October 2019 in Hawaii.

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