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Mile a quick sellout

JFK 50

July 22, 2009|By ANDREW MASON

For those who like to go the extra distance, the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon has become a wildly popular way to do it.

The 47th annual edition of the race, which will be held Nov. 21 in Washington County, reached its maximum number of entries in record time.

The entry period opened July 1, and by July 13 it was closed. Last year, it filled in a then-record 23 days. It's the third straight year the race has sold out.

"We're four months out, and people have JFK fever already," race director Mike Spinnler said. "Obviously we're doing something right. People want to come back and bring their friends."

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Due to various restrictions, the race is only allowed to have 1,000 starters, Spinnler said.

"I think we could get 5,000 people, and that's being conservative. But I just can't do it," he said. "It's a good, manageable number right now, and we're investigating possibilities about accommodating more in the future."

The JFK 50 -- America's oldest, largest and arguably most prestigious ultramarathon -- had 927 official finishers last year. The event takes participants from Boonsboro to Williamsport along paved roads, the Appalachian Trail and the C&O Canal towpath.

"There are a number of reasons why it's become so popular -- word of mouth, magazines have been giving us fantastic coverage and the sport's growing too," Spinnler said.

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