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Getting better every year

Mother, daughter returning to run JFK 50 mile

Mother, daughter returning to run JFK 50 mile

November 15, 2005|By DAVE McMILLION

Editor's note: This is the second story in a six-part series about some of the people who will compete in the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon Saturday in Washington County.

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - It was three years ago when Barbara Hunt, her daughter, Heather, and Heather's boyfriend first heard about the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon.

They dared each other to do it.

It seemed to be a worthwhile ambition, given the career aspirations of Heather's boyfriend, Barbara Hunt said.

"He was going in the Army, so it was a good excuse to get us all out running," she said.

The JFK 50 Mile is America's oldest ultramarathon. The event, which will be Saturday, takes participants from Boonsboro to Williamsport along paved roads, the Appalachian Trail and the C&O Canal towpath.

The Hunts, of Charles Town, are registered for the third time.

Barbara Hunt missed the 14-hour time limit by three minutes in her first attempt, but she completed last year's race in 13 hours, 45 minutes.


"We're slowing coming down," the 44-year-old nurse said as she laughed.

Heather Hunt, 18, did not finish the first two races. She stopped after 27 1/2 miles the first year with blistered feet. She was pulled off the course last year after failing to meet a cut-off time at the 38-mile point.

So why come back?

Both said they return to see if they can do better.

"It's just something I wanted to say I've done before I die," Heather Hunt said.

There's also a feeling of accomplishment, Barbara Hunt said.

"You did it and you lived," she said.

Barbara Hunt said she ran for fun in college. She and her roommate ran a regular route and treated themselves to ice cream if they met a certain goal, she said.

She ran in later years, too, sometimes as part of her job and other times to clear her mind after housework.

After running the JFK 50, Barbara Hunt realized it was more of a mental task than anything.

"After so many miles, you just keep going. You have to tell your mind to keep going," she said.

Barbara Hunt said last year she ran with an Army drill instructor who told her the only way they were going to finish the race was to sing cadences.

"Everyone around us looked at us like we lost it," Hunt said.

Barbara Hunt works full time for Blue Ridge Care and Rehabilitation Center along W.Va. 9 east of Charles Town. She also works as a nurse for Jefferson County Schools and is a cross-country and swimming coach at Martinsburg High School.

Heather Hunt is a freshman at Shepherd University, majoring in history and pursuing a minor in chemistry. She played in a soccer league this year, which she hopes will help her prepare for the grueling race.

As for other race preparations, Heather said she has been working out on a treadmill, and Barbara said she is trying to run five miles a day.

The Hunt file

Name: Barbara Hunt

Age: 44

Residence: Charles Town, W.Va.

Occupation: Nurse

Number of JFK finishes: One

The JFK in one word:


Name: Heather Hunt

Age: 18

Residence: Charles Town, W.Va.

Occupation: College student

Number of JFK finishes: None

The JFK in one word:


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