'I think we're hoping to survive and finish it'

The Bridendolph brothers, Adam and Nathan, try their first ultramarathon

The Bridendolph brothers, Adam and Nathan, try their first ultramarathon

November 16, 2006|by TARA REILLY

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

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Though both athletic, Nathan Bridendolph and Adam Bridendolph weren't on the track or cross country teams in high school.

Until recently, Nathan Bridendolph said the farthest he had run was about 10 miles while he was in the U.S. Army.

The lack of distance running hasn't stopped the brothers from entering Saturday's JFK 50 Mile.

America's oldest ultramarathon takes participants from Boonsboro to Williamsport along paved roads, the Appalachian Trail and the C&O Canal towpath.

It will be the first attempt at the endurance event for each of the brothers.

Nathan Bridendolph had kicked around the idea of running a marathon, but the JFK 50 wasn't on his mind. It was just something he, his brother and friend decided to do.


"We talked about it, and then we said, 'Let's try to do it,'" he said. "I had never even heard of it until six months or so ago."

Nathan Bridendolph said his mother and his wife are scratching their heads over the brothers' decision to run.

"I think they think we're crazy probably," he joked. "I think my wife thinks I'm crazy. She asked me several different times if I thought I was going to make the whole thing."

The brothers said they started training for the JFK 50 four or five months ago by trying to eat right and running three times a week. They've already practiced parts of the route, including the Appalachian Trail.

Nathan Bridendolph, 29, said they've heard stories about the difficulty of the Appalachian Trail section of the ultramarathon and learned it's not uncommon for runners to fall.

"That's pretty brutal," Adam Bridendolph, 21, said.

As the ultramarathon draws closer, the brothers said they've second-guessed themselves a little, but that it was nothing that would make them back out.

Adam Bridendolph said they're doing their best at disciplined training.

The regimen including running 30 miles a week. The most they've run at one time was 26 miles, which took them five hours.

"It feels like you're running forever," Nathan Bridendolph said.

"We have been keeping a pretty good pace, but we'll never keep that the whole race, I think," Adam Bridendolph said.

Nathan Bridendolph said he and his brother aren't looking to break any event records.

"I think we're hoping to survive and finish it," he said.

"I think surviving is the word," Adam Bridendolph said.

The Bridendolph file

Name: Nathan Bridendolph; Adam Bridendolph

Age: Nathan, 29; Adam, 21

Residence: Nathan, Hagerstown; Adam, Williamsport

Occupation: Nathan, behavior counselor; Adam, mechanical engineer

Number of JFK finishes: Nathan, none; Adam, none

The JFK in one word: "Grueling"

COMING FRIDAY: Meet Tom Louderback of Hagerstown, an 18-year-old student at West Virginia University who is competing in his second JFK 50 Mile.

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