The idea of running the JFK 50 first came to mind 2 years ago as a friend was training for the race. I did some research on it but for some reason it still wasn’t on my list of to do’s. But last year another friend ran it and this time it peaked my interest. So this spring when the entry opened up I decided to sign up for the 48th running of this historic race.
I didn’t know what to expect for this race but I did know it was a fast 50 miler from looking at past results. From the course description it has some trail running but more tow path, which at the time I was unfamiliar with. After running the Burning River 100 this summer, I was introduced to a tow path which was flat, fast and mentally challenging. So after returning from Leadville I included faster and flatter terrain into my training and was racing anywhere from 5 milers to marathons to work on speed. The other part of my training that I was lacking in was sleep. Sleep is critical to recovery. And with my crazy part time job, I’m up every day at 3:30 am with 4-5 hours of sleep a night. Not nearly enough. So I took off a couple of days from work to catch up on sleep.
I got a reasonable night’s sleep in hotel Nissan (car camping). I had to scrape the inside of the windshield from frost as the temps dropped down over night, had a quick breakfast and then hid my drop bag before driving to the start line. Upon arriving at the start, there were lots of people for this was the largest ultra race in the country with over 1000 entries. After the pre-race meeting we had to head into town, a mile or so away, to the start. I got in a last minute port a potty stop and realized time was getting on so I had to run to the start line, a good way to warm up. Lining up I ran into a couple of familiar faces, Mike Oliva and Mike Arnstein, a couple of NYC boys. Arnstein came in second here last year so he was determined to take top honors this year. But he had lots of competition with many others hoping for the same results as well as setting new course records. At this race you not only had ultra marathoners but also some of the top road runners in the country so the field was full of impressive runners from all over the country such as Michael Wardian, Mike Arnstein, Oz Pearlman, Serge Arbona, David James, Matt Levine, Mike Oliva and many others. Immediately after the start a runner next to me said hi. I looked over and it was Reno Stirrat, one of the best 50+ age runners in New England who usually kicks my butt in the shorter distance races. The JFK 50 was longer than he had ever gone before so it was to be determined on how he might do. The first few miles were mostly uphill until we joined on to the AT. At that point I crossed the mat in 28th place in a large group of runners. From there it was a mix of road and trail as we continued to climb. We even walked up some
After the awards ceremony another 50’s runner came up to me and we chatted for quite a while. He had run this race many times and was running this year to try to break the
|Eric Clifton and Jack