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JFK run produces many stories along the way

November 12, 2006|by JOEL HUFFER

Demanding.

Grueling.

Habit.

Celebration.

These are some of the words used by entrants in this Saturday's JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon when asked to describe the endurance event.

The JFK 50 Mile, organized in 1963, is America's oldest ultramarathon.

The course takes participants from Boonsboro to Williamsport along paved roads, the Appalachian Trail and the C&O Canal towpath.

The fastest runners complete the event in fewer than six hours, but more than half of the more than 1,100 registered participants will take 10 hours or more to complete the course.

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Last year, 952 people finished the ultramarathon.

We introduced you to some of them in a six-part series we called Faces of the JFK 50. The response we got from readers to the series was so positive that we decided to profile more local participants this year.

Beginning Monday and continuing through Saturday, we'll introduce you to eight people from the Tri-State area who are registered for this year's JFK 50.

Here's who you will meet:

· Adam Bridendolph, 21, of Williamsport, and Nathan Bridendolph, 29, of Hagers-town. The brothers, who don't consider themselves runners, began training about five months ago for their first attempts at completing the JFK 50.

· Martha Carpenter, a 48-year-old Keedysville resident who has finished the last three JFK 50s. Her best time was in 2004, when she covered the course in 12 hours, 31 minutes and 32 seconds.

· Dave Downin, a 60-year-old Sharpsburg resident who first completed the race in 1987. He is looking to finish the event for the 20th consecutive year and join the JFK 50's 1,000-mile club.

· Larry Herman, a 40-year-old Waynesboro, Pa., chiropractor who completed his first JFK 50 last year in 12 hours, 43 minutes and 49 seconds. His goal this year is to finish the event before darkness falls.

· Tom Louderback, an 18-year-old student at West Virginia University who is competing in his second JFK 50. The Hagerstown resident finished last year's event in 10 hours, 57 minutes and 25 seconds.

· John Rice, 41, and Tracy Rice, 36, of Martinsburg, W.Va. The husband and wife completed their first JFK 50s in 2004 and are back after taking off last year. These people, like the thousands of participants in the 43 previous JFK 50-mile events, each has a story to tell.

We hope you enjoy reading them.

And who knows?

Maybe one day, you'll have a JFK 50 story of your own to share.




Joel Huffer is managing editor of The Morning Herald. He may be reached at 301-791-7587 or by e-mail at joelh@herald-mail.com.

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