Share Your Thoughts on the JFK 50 Mile

Ok, this is a totally shameless post, but true to my DC lawyer ways, I’m cool with that. ;-) Regardless, as you may have gathered, I’m doing a bit of writing for a national running magazine to be named later. The good news is that the piece I’ve been working on regarding the JFK 50 miler has been promoted and I’ve been given the go ahead to expand it. I know that many loyal iRunFar readers have run JFK and it’s my hope that you would help me out by sharing your thoughts regarding JFK. The only wrinkle is that I must submit my rewrite of the article by Thursday morning, so you would need to post any comments by Wednesday evening to have them considered for the article. However, I intend to leave this post up after my deadline… JFK is less than 6 months away and your thoughts/comments/anecdotes on the race will doubtless be useful to others! Read on to see what aspects of your JFK experiences I’d love to hear about.

  • What do you think are the biggest challenges a runner faces in running JFK?
  • What do you think are the best and most enjoyable aspects of JFK for a runner?
  • What are your most vivid memories from you runs at JFK?
  • What are your thoughts on the three main sections of JFK – the trail, the towpath, and the road? What are the best and worst aspects of each?
  • Any thing else you’d like to share about the race or your experiences at it.

No need to answer all of these – I would greatly appreciate your insight into any and all of them. Please provide your full name if you’d like me to consider quoting you for the article. (No, I don’t need you middle name, but please do share if it’s something funny like Ezekiel, Laverne, or Bryon. ;-) ) If you’d like to share, but would prefer not to be quoted, just let me know and I’ll honor your request. Also, if you’d prefer to share offline, shot me an email at irunfarblog at gmail dot com.

Thanks in advance!

There are 3 comments

  1. Meredith

    The first challenge in running JFK is getting thru the AT section without killing yourself, managing the crowds, and not getting stuck behind people who do not know how to run technical trails. Nothing worse than powerhiking uphill, only to find people tiptoeing downhill. The second challenge is not dying of boredom on the towpath, 26 miles of flat nothingness. The best way to combat that for me, is to break the run into 8/2 — run eight minutes, walk 2, gives you something to focus on. The most enjoyable part of the race for me is the party atmosphere. It is such a huge race with so many people, that it is just one big reunion. Most of the races i run seem to be very small and often i am alone on the trail, this never happens at JFK. The volunteers are always very nice as well. The weather at JFK is always good running weather, cool but not too cold, and usually the wet weather holds off until the end of the race.

  2. Michael Valliant

    Sorry to miss your deadline–didn't catch the post in time! JFK last year was my first 50-miler. For me the AT to towpath transition was heaven to hell–I would have loved to run the whole race on the AT–the diversity of trail, terrain, and the changing scenery were fun and made the time go by quicker (I am also a faster downhill and singletrack runner).The towpath section was like a treadmill that I couldn't get off–the scenery looked the same, etc. Like Meredith, the 8/2 cadence was key for me, and the folks volunteering at the aid stations, as well as others there cheering for runners were HUGE lifts, just to break things up.I wholeheartedly prefer trails to roads, but one of the slap-happy, elated moments in my running life was shuffling off the towpath and on to the road with 9-ish miles to go.A crowning achievement for me and the number of runners, of yo-yo'ing with familiar faces, and the constant company was a help. Having said that, for some change, I am looking at the Mountain Masochist for my 50 miler this year. I know you're not writing an article on that one, but would welcome your thoughts on it some time! Thanks for a great post. –Mike V.

  3. Trail Goat

    Meredith and Mike,Thanks for sharing your thoughts re JFK. It turns out that most folks who've run JFK note their fellow runners as a prominent highlight of the race. It wasn't what I first thought of in writing my article, but upon reflection the Navy guys I ran with off and on for the first 40 miles really made my day and especially the towpath all the more enjoyable.

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