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Downin helps friend cross JFK finish line

November 30, 1999|By HEATHER KEELS

For many runners, the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon is a very personal event, whether the goal is beating a personal best time or just crossing the finish line in one piece.

But after 20 years of entering the marathon, Sharpsburg resident Dave Downin decided to make this year's race all about helping someone else.

"I have a friend who is 71 years old, and he wanted very much to finish this thing one time," Downin said.

So he and his friend, Bill Moore, started together at 5 a.m. to allow an extra two hours, and ran together the entire way.


They crossed the finish line holding hands with a time of 13 hours, 28 minutes, said Rita Doherty, a friend who met them at the finish line.

"I think he was elated," Downin said.

Doherty said she was impressed by the way Downin, who has finished the race in 8 1/2 hours in the past, was able to pace himself to stay behind to help a friend.

"He's done that for a couple of people, including my husband," Doherty said. "He's a very motivating person. He'll bring you through."

Downin said he didn't mind hanging back because he was able to chat with everyone he knew as they passed by.

"He's just such an unselfish guy," Doherty said. "That's what I admire."

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