Runners recount this year's JFK 50 Mile

November 22, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

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    TRI-STATE -- Dale Rhoderick is known for his perseverance over extreme weather, injury and personal setbacks in the running of the JFK 50 Mile race, and Saturday was no different.

    Rhoderick, who has finished the foot race 22 times, stepped on a rock on South Mountain and said he might have broken his foot.

    The 49-year-old Hagerstown dairy farmer said he "hopped for a while," then went on to finish the ultramarathon in 12 hours, 29 minutes and 29 seconds.


"I'm still living," a sore Rhoderick proclaimed Sunday night.

Rhoderick was one of 10 race runners profiled by The Herald-Mail in advance of Saturday's event, which attracted 1,000 competitors.

Some of the runners who were profiled were contacted Sunday night to get their reactions on the race.

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

Gregory Crowther of Seattle won the 47th running of the race on Saturday in 5 hours, 50 minutes, 13 seconds.

Four people from the Louderback family in Hagerstown ran in Saturday's race and for one, Sarah Louderback, this was her first attempt at the event.

Sarah ran the race alongside her father, John Louderback, who has finished the event five times, and the two finished together in a time of 11 hours, 54 minutes, 11 seconds.

"That was really special," John Louderback said.

John Louderback's two sons, Ben and Tom, finished the race in 10 hours, 56 minutes, 30 seconds, and 10 hours, 37 minutes, 32 seconds, respectively.

Sarah, 19, said the toughest part of the race was the last eight miles and the mundane run along the C&0 Canal.

"That's where I first started to feel pain," Sarah Louderback said of the canal run.

Duane and Teresa Jensen successfully finished their third JFK 50 Mile Saturday, with Duane finishing in 11 hours, 36 minutes, and Teresa crossing the finish line in 13 hours, 35 minutes, 58 seconds.

Fitness became therapy for the couple before they met three years ago. Each was recovering from the end of a marriage.

Assessing her physical condition Sunday night, Teresa Jensen said she might lose three toenails as a result of her feet taking a banging on the course. Duane Jensen said the latter section of the C&O Canal route was "tougher than I remember."

But despite the challenge, Jensen was able to get up and preach Sunday at Hancock United Methodist Church.

Ray Kitchen, 64, has finished the race 13 times. He finished the race Saturday in 11 hours, 41 minutes, 29 seconds, which he said was 27 minutes faster than his time last year.

Although Kitchen said Sunday night that he was "stiff-legged" and the bottoms of his feet were sore, he felt "pretty good" overall.

"I've done this enough times. I know what to expect," Kitchen said.

Knowing what to expect can be tricky, as 16-year-old Ben Louderback realized.

Louderback said he planned to have fun in the race, but the "pressure of that" bothered him as he ran.

The weather for Saturday's race was perfect, Kitchen said.

Kitchen said overcast skies and temperatures between 45 degrees and 55 degrees are the best conditions under which to run the race.

"It was that all the way," Kitchen said.

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