Why do you do it?
The JFK has always been a huge part of my life since I was born, with my dad running it 15 years in a row. Its a way of life and I remember always being so inspired by the runners. It takes a really dedicated person to collapse at the finish line with nothing left in them and say I will run this again next year.
What is special about this race?
The history of this race is special enough let alone the people you meet along that 50 mile stretch through the Appalachian Trail and C&0 Canal. I have never met someone who has ran this race that wouldn’t stop their own race to pick up a fellow runner and brush them off after they had a hard fall on the trail or hasn’t cheered on a runner they are passing on the C&O Canal saying “Ill see you at the next aid station, keep going you can do it.” Its rare to see anything like that in other races.
How important is this race to you?
I plan my entire year around the JFK whether I am running the race or volunteering and I do my best to be as much of a part of the race as possible. I told my dad before I ever ran the JFK that when I grew up I wanted to run the JFK and get a JFK 50 Mile tattoo just like he did, to this day that is my favorite piece of art in the world.
Tell me about your toughest/best/fastest JFK-50.
My toughest JFK was my third one when I didn’t finish. It’s a feeling you can never forget.
Tell me about your strongest finish.
My first JFK I finished with my dad putting the medal around my neck and all I remember from the finish line was tears. My tears weren’t because i had just ran for 12 hours, but tears because I did it! I did this crazy, amazing thing and I wanted to jump and down with joy, so I waited about 4 days before I could actually do that.
Which section is your favorite and why?
The Appalachian Trail is my favorite part. Its such a difficult portion of the race whether it be skipping rock to rock or face planting into a tree, its so exciting to run through the trail even if its exhausting. The runners on this section are so close it feels like a 5k the whole time.
Tell me about the most interesting person you’ve met while running JFK-50.
The volunteers who have never ran the race are the most interesting. Its easy to say you love the JFK after running it, but those that show up to work the aid-stations year after year and help with the traffic and spend countless hours in the freezing cold without a number on their back, those people are awesome!
Who is your inspiration?
It might sound pretty cheesy but my inspiration other than my dad of course is every single person who has stepped across the start line of the JFK. Whether they finished the race or didn’t, whether they ran it once or 30 times, it is inspiring that someone has the guts to put their body and mind through such a grueling endeavor.
What would you say to someone who feels they wouldn’t be able to do this race?
One of my favorite runners in the JFK is Fred. And I would point to Fred and say, Fred runs it every year. He’s ran in the snow and rain and wind. He’s finished time after time, and he has also come back to the race after not finishing and finished again.
What do you tell runners who are struggling during the race?
I tell them to remember how great that beer is going to taste at the finish line and how heavy that medal is going to feel around their neck.
What do you want your JFK-50 legacy to be?
I plan to finish the JFK as many times as I can. I’ll never start it again without finishing it. I want it to be a race I can pass on to my children when I have a family, something they can forever be proud to be a part of like I am.
Imagine the race in 10 years, tell me about it.
The race in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years is still going to be something I plan my life around. The race volunteers do such an amazing job putting this race together year after year its so hard to imagine it not growing and being one of the most popular races in the USA for a very long time to come.