2021 JFK 50 Mile Results: Adam Peterman, Sarah Cummings Win

The 59th annual JFK 50 Mile kicked off on a cool, overcast morning — perfect for a day of racing. Though neither the men’s nor women’s fields saw a 2020 champion returning to defend their title, on paper, the competition looked plentiful.

The prestigious 50-mile event, which has been run annually since 1963, holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously run ultramarathon in the United States. The course features three distinct segments, each of which caters to different runners’ strengths.

After a zippy 2.5-mile warm-up on a paved road, the first part takes runners on the Appalachian Trail and consists of 15.5 miles of very rugged terrain and some of the more challenging climbs and descents on the course. The next 26.3 miles drops runners on the Chesapeake and Ohio Towpath, a flat, fast dirt path that runs along the C&O Canal. The final 8.3-mile segment finishes on paved roads with some rolling hills thrown in for good measure.

Unlike a straight trail ultramarathon or solely road course, the mix of terrain at the JFK 50 Mile means that runners get to navigate the challenges of both — requiring both technical trails expertise and fast road running to take home the trophy.

Sarah Cummings - 2021 JFK 50 Mile champion

Sarah Cummings on her way to winning the 2021 JFK 50 Mile. Photo: Rich Secrest

2021 JFK 50 Mile Men’s Results

On the men’s side, the top three settled into position by the first checkpoint, and the remainder of the race didn’t see any shake ups on position. Adam Peterman took the lead over Zack Beavin from the get-go and steadily increased his lead to finish a little over 16 minutes ahead of the runner-up.

Peterman, who won the 2021 Speedgoat 50k and finished second at the 2021 Pikes Peak Marathon, clocked a winning time of 5:19:38, the second-fastest time ever run on the course after Hayden Hawks’s 5:18:40 course record set in 2020. By adding the JFK 50 Mile win to his belt, it seems that 26-year-old Peterman has officially stepped onto the ultrarunning scene.

Adam Peterman - 2021 JFK 50 Mile champion

Adam Peterman, 2021 JFK 50 Mile champion. Photo: Andy Mason

Beavin similarly hit his stride in second place and held his spot there for the entirety of the race, though his gap over third-place finisher, Eric LiPuma, was smaller, at times ranging from one to two minutes at the checkpoints. Beavin cruised in to finish in 5:35:44 with LiPuma rolling in just over four minutes later to round out the top three.

Men’s Top-Five Finishers:

  1. Adam Peterman — 5:19:38
  2. Zack Beavin — 5:35:44
  3. Eric LiPuma — 5:39:49
  4. Sean Van Horn — 5:44:57
  5. Justin Scheid — 5:46:21

Full results.

2021 JFK 50 Mile Women’s Results

On the women’s side, the field had the potential to be fast, with a reported eight Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers and 2020 JFK 50 Mile runner-up, Sarah Cummings, in the mix.

Kristina Randrup took the early lead with Devon Yanko and Kimber Mattox chasing her in the second and third positions, respectively. Randrup held onto her lead through the halfway mark but eventually faded to fifth, leaving the door open for Cummings and Sarah Biehl to make moves in the second half of the race.

With the battle at the front shifted to Cummings and Biehl, Cummings eventually pulled away for the win in the end, clocking a 6:18:43 to Biehl’s 6:22:03. Yanko held on for third place in 6:31:12.

Women’s Top-Five Finishers:

  1. Sarah Cummings — 6:18:43
  2. Sarah Biehl — 6:22:03
  3. Devon Yanko — 6:31:12
  4. Kimber Mattox — 6:41:23
  5. Kristina Randrup — 6:44:42

Full results.