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Luzier is head of county class at JFK

November 19, 2011|By ANDREW MASON |
  • Cassie Scallon, of Watertown, Wis., wins the women's title Saturday at the 49th annual JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon.
Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — Kathleen Luzier had a blast at the finish line at last year’s JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon — helping out as a volunteer.

“I loved it,” she said, “just seeing everyone’s expressions.”

She decided she had to give the race a try for herself.

Luzier, 43, of Boonsboro, completed the JFK 50 on Saturday in 8 hours, 57 minutes, 49 seconds in her ultramarathon debut.

Of the roughly 1,000 starter, she finished 197th overall, 32nd among females and — much to her surprise — first among all Washington County participants.

“Wow!” she said. “That’s pretty neat.”

Luzier has completed 10 regular (26.2-mile) marathons, but never anything quite as strenuous as Saturday’s ordeal.

“I just wanted to enjoy it and enjoy the experience, and I loved the Appalachian Trail,” she said. “I felt good, I really did. I didn’t struggle that much, and the last mile I flew, which made me feel great. I really wanted to break 9 hours. That was my goal.”

The second county finisher was Jeff Gish, 50, of Boonsboro, in 9:02:43.

Dymond in the rough

Laurie Dymond, 45, of Chambersburg, Pa., didn’t let a broken bone slow her down Saturday at the JFK 50.

“I fell on the Appalachian Trail and broke my finger, and they had to cut my wedding ring off at the finish,” she said. “But it was still a great day. I ran a PR.”

Dymond was 96th overall, 14th among females and first among all area runners in a personal-record time of 8:05:20, as she completed the race for the fifth straight year.

“I wasn’t worried about the finger,” she said. “I had bigger issues. I couldn’t stop.”

‘Nothing beats JFK’

Rick Meyers, 45, of Fayetteville, Pa., was the first local male to cross the line, finishing his ninth JFK in 8:09:28.

He had hoped to improve on his personal-best time of 7:11:51 from last year’s JFK, but said he was a bit drained from already having run eight other ultramarathons this year. The JFK was his third 50-miler in the last four weeks.

“I’m not upset. I’m proud of what I’ve done this year,” Meyers said.

“Nothing beats JFK,” he added. “Of all the races I’ve run, it’s definitely the top race.”

Palmer in top 10 again

Jackie Palmer, who grew up in Middletown, Md., and graduated from Boonsboro High School in 2006, was a top-10 award winner for the second straight year.

Palmer, 23, finished ninth in the women’s race Saturday in 7:30:17. Last year, she was fourth in 7:29:18.

“I gave it my all, and I’m happy with it,” said Palmer, a graduate student at the University of Delaware. “Last year I definitely felt better. Some days you feel better than others.”

She had hoped to improve on last year’s time.

“I’ll keep trying,” she said.

Hanlin improves again

During her senior year at North Hagerstown High School in 2003, Jessica Hanlin won a Maryland Class 2A state cross country title, two weeks after only placing seventh at the Washington County championships.

Hanlin, 25, of Chapel Hill, N.C., now is moving on up at the JFK.

She completed the race for a second time Saturday in 9:29:51, more than 45 minutes faster than she did it last year.

“This year, I just knew what to expect and that was the biggest thing,” Hanlin said. “My goal was just to finish, but definitely I hoped to do better than last year. ... It was awesome.”

Hagerstown’s Iron Man

Paul Betker, 66, of Hagerstown, completed the JFK 50 for the 30th straight year Saturday in 12:43:26, becoming just the seventh member of the event’s 1,500-mile club.

Betker has a personal-best time of 8:39:31.

Clifton’s mark

Eric Clifton, 53, of Winchester, Calif., recorded his 19th JFK finish Saturday in 8:06:18.

Upon finishing, he learned that his course-record time of 5:46:22 from his 1994 victory had been broken by David Riddle, who won Saturday’s race in 5:40:45.

“Every year they’ve been going for it, so I’ve been prepared for it,” he said. “I would have liked to have made it last 20 years, but it was due. It’s been sweet.”

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