CHICAGO — Chuck Schultz won't have much energy left if he completes a 200-mile running challenge that begins at midnight Friday.
But he still plans to hold up his 1-week-old daughter, Emilia, when he gets there.
"Having a child and finishing a 200-mile race have both been something I've wanted for a long time," said Schultz, of Avondale. "Holding her at the finish will be a dream come true."
Schultz is one of 10 runners — and the only one from Chicago — who will attempt the Potawatomi Trail Runs' 200-mile event in Downstate Pekin.
"I will always push the envelope in what is possible to achieve. I believe it makes me a better man," Schultz said.
Justin Breen discusses the likelihood Schultz will finish the race:
The 44-year-old Schultz, a veteran ultra-marathoner, has run several races of 100 miles or more. The longest distance he's run without significant sleep is 168 miles during an event in Pennsylvania. He also completed a 410-mile race from Illinois' southern border to its northern state line in seven days, sleeping at hotels each night.
Schultz said he's dedicating the race to his nephew, Nick, who died unexpectedly a year ago Friday. Along with his daughter, his wife, Melissa — who ran the 150-mile Potawatomi event last year — will be waiting for him if he finishes.
Potawatomi Trail Runs race director Eric Skocaj doesn't expect anyone to finish in less than 54 hours (they have 64 hours to complete the task). He also noted most of them will go without sleep during the duration of the event.
Schultz said he wanted to finish in less than 60 hours and plans to take two 45-minute naps.
The course in Pekin is 20 laps of a 10-mile loop, which includes two creek crossings per loop.
"We are supposed to get hit hard with rain [Thursday], which means the course will be a mudfest," Skocaj said. "There is a chance nobody finishes, but I would guess four or five of them will."
This is the first time Potawatomi Trail Runs, in its 15th year, has offered a 200-mile distance, mainly because of Schultz. In 2014, he started eight hours before the 150-mile runners (there also are 30-, 50- and 100-mile events) and tried to do a 200 himself. Schultz didn't finish due to what Skocaj described as a "horrible" ankle sprain.
Schultz, an electrician, said last year's race summed up why he loves extreme distance running.
"It's unique in that I can go to a race and experience the lowest of lows and the highest of highs, and then go back to normal life Monday morning," Schultz said.
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