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Pa. woman started running as a teen and hasn't stopped since

Laurie Dymond improves her time each year she participates in the JFK 50 Mile

November 16, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE |
  • Laurie Dymond trains for the JFK 50 Mile on trails around Caledonia State Park.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Editor's note: This is the third story in a five-part series about some of the people who will compete in the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon Saturday in Washington County. The event takes participants from Boonsboro to Williamsport along paved roads, the Appalachian Trail and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath.

Laurie Dymond has some advice for runners who are tackling their first JFK 50 Mile on Saturday.

"Go into it with an open mind and be satisfied with just crossing the finish line — and then take a nice long week off," the 45-year-old from Chambersburg said. "You're pretty sore after it. It does take a lot out of you. You don't realize it when you're running, but then the next day when you wake up, it's like the biggest running hangover ever."

Dymond, a stay-at-home mother of three, has completed the grueling 50-mile race every year since 2007 and has improved each time. Last year, she posted her best finish, coming in 18th in the women's field with a time of eight hours, 19 minutes.

"I was thrilled with that," she said. "Every year, I've done something a little differently. And, every year, I've run it a little faster."

Dymond, whose goal Saturday is to finish in less than eight hours, is no stranger to long-distance running. She became interested in the sport at 14 years old and has completed 27 marathons. She said she hopes to one day run a 100-mile race.

As a teenager, Dymond never envisioned herself as an athlete. It was her late track and field coach, Tim Cook, who got her interested in running. Her parents were in the middle of a divorce when she was making the transition to high school and running became her outlet, she said.

"Mr. Cook gave me the gift of running that has woven my life of 45 years together," Dymond said.

She finished last in her first track event, the 1,600-meter run. But the next time out, Cook had her compete in the 3,200 meters, with far different results.

"I finished in first place," Dymond said. "Mr. Cook always said, 'Distance runners are made, not born.' I have thought about that all these years, and decided I could build my own running successes."

Dymond has logged 100 miles per week since September and said she's ready to take on the JFK 50 Mile once again.

"People always ask me, 'Laurie Dymond, are you still running?'" she said. "And I'll always say to them, 'No, I just haven't stopped yet.'"


Watch live video from the finish line Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at

Coming Friday: Meet Waylan Showe, a 24-year-old from Sharpsburg who is entered in the JFK 50 Mile for the third time.

The Dymond file

Name: Laurie Dymond

Age: 45

Residence: Chambersburg, Pa.

Occupation: Stay-at-home mom

Number of JFK finishes: Four

The JFK in one word: "Awesome"

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