ENCINITAS — While many will be glued to the highs and lows of the NCAA Tournament, six friends will be competing in their own version of March Madness, Encinitas style.
In 2019, friends George Arrizabalaga, Jason Kreidman, Alex Nemet and others held their first “A Day of Madness,” in which the group surfs, runs a half marathon, completes a round of golf and skis the slopes, all in 24 hours.
Now, the group is at it again for its fourth event on March 19, starting with a round of surfing before competing in the Moonlight Beach Half Marathon. After the race and a round of golf, the group will hit the slopes for some night skiing at Mountain High Resort in Wrightwood.
“Last year, six of us did it,” Kreidman said. “When guys are over 40, it’s not an easy thing to commit to. After I do it, I’m so glad we did it. I have tons of stories for the whole year. It’s like a little bit of bonding thing with these guys.”
The festivities began several years ago after Nemet, a 48-year-old ultramarathon runner and godfather of “A Day of Madness,” approached Kreidman about competing in the Moonlight Beach Half Marathon.
Kreidman, was reluctant at first but Nemet kept up his sales pitch. Soon, the six friends were planning logistics, and the group soon completed their first maddening experience.
“(Nemet) talked me into it, saying, ‘I like we should add to it so we can create this day of madness,’” Kreidman said. “We pulled this all off. It was just this crazy idea and so much fun.”
As the Day of Madness grew, the group started wrapping up its long day at the bowling alley. The event gained traction and grew to about a dozen people, with some flying in as far away as Cleveland to participate in the fun.
Despite the crowd, Kreidman, Nemet and Arrizabalaga are the only three who have done the event every year.
Kreidman said sometimes it’s tough for him because running because of past injuries. But the day is about spending time with his friends doing activities they all enjoy.
The pandemic slowed the availability of venues, but Kreidman said there may be an opportunity to expand, if the group decides. If not, the core group will likely continue their yearly tradition until they drop off due to age.