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JFK 50 miler a rite of passage; Running

Capital - 11/23/2018

The JFK 50 miler is an annual event that many, many, many local runners have completed, many, many, many times. It is a rite of passage for any local ultra-runner and the 56th annual race (56 times this race has been run!) held on Nov. 17 was no exception. There were dozens of runners from the Annapolis area, including finishers Chris Trumbauer, Meghan Curley, David Phipps and Butch Rodak among others, out there running from Boonsboro, onto the Appalachian Trail, past Harper's Ferry and Antietam on the C&O Towpath and finishing on the long, hilly road to Williamsport. As any runner will tell you, this year's race featured outstanding snow on the AT, hiding the rocks and turning the AT and the C&O into a muddy, sloppy mess.

There was one runner who deserves a special mention. That is Adam Popp, an Air Force veteran and member of US Military Endurance Sports. Adam, who has his master's degree in rehabilitation counseling, was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team Leader and a 12-year combat veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

What makes Adam unique is that he is an above the knee amputee. Adam placed second at the 2017 Boston Marathon in the Mobility Impaired division and was the first amputee to finish the race, and he's also the first above-knee amputee to complete a 100-mile ultramarathon within the 30-hour cutoff.

At JFK, Adam didn't let South Mountain, the mud, the rocks, Weaverton Cliffs, or the mental challenge of the 26.2 mile section C&O Towpath (which is a marathon distance during the 50 mile race) faze him, finishing the race in a most impressive 9:34:29 (186th overall).

As Adam reflected upon his run: "When I started running three and a half years ago, I would have never imagined being able to get through the Appalachian Trail section, especially in these snowy conditions. However, with the support of a lot of individuals and organizations like USMES, and a ton of training, I have been able to continue to set and achieve big goals. These were the most challenging trail conditions I've faced as an amputee runner, and I am really proud of my result."

JFK is known for challenging runners to give their best, and attracts world class runners every year, and Adam is no exception. Congratulations to all the finishers of this great race, honoring the legacy of JFK's pronouncement in 1963 that a military officer should be able to hike/run 50 miles in 20 hours to maintain his/her commission, echoing a similar requirement of President Theodore Roosevelt, a challenge taken up by avid non-military citizens throughout the country.

ROSARYVILLE VETERAN'S DAY 50K: The annual Annapolis Striders 50K (31 miles) took place Nov. 10 in Rosaryville State Park, located just outside Upper Marlboro. The race consisted of three laps on the single track perimeter trail, with a short section of road at the start and finish.

The race is known for being a great beginner trail run for those new to the ultra-distance, and also for being fast. Well, fast if you take the risk of tripping over the thousands (and thousands) of roots that are there waiting for you, hidden under the recently fallen leaves. Dance with the roots and fast times are ensured.

This year's event saw great weather, a little mud on the trail to keep things interesting, and fast times. Alex Heatherington repeated as the male winner with a 3:48 (7:20/per mile) and Krista Offield won the women's race, and was 8th overall, with a 4:38 (8:58/mile). There were 137 overall finishers. This race also honors our veterans and finishing first in the veteran category were Jason Dexter (4:18) and Beining Xiao (4:54).

If you've never been out to Rosaryville, you should go. It is a great place to run, hike, bike, ride a horse or just enjoy the park. And after your physical challenge of choice, there is a Starbucks down the way and a Bojangles (try the Southern Maryland ham biscuit; it'll change your world).

LIGHTS ON THE BAY 5K: The annual SPCA Lights of the Bay 5K was held Nov. 16. Directed by Phil Caroom and Kathy Hanson of the Annapolis Striders, this low-key race features a nighttime tour of the lights at Sandy Point. Congratulations to all the finishers on completing this fun race. If you've never done it, put it on your calendar for next year so you too can get up close and personal with the lights on the bay.

PATRICK LEE 5K: The 4th annual Patrick Lee Memorial 5K is scheduled for Saturday at 9 a.m. It is put on by the Pascal Youth and Family Services, a nonprofit mental health organization providing mental health therapy and medication management services for clients of all ages with various diagnoses.

The race honors Patrick Lee, who never wanted Christmas gifts because he felt it was unfair to those less fortunate than himself. All proceeds of the 5K go toward helping those in need this holiday season as well as throughout the year. The race will start in front of Pascal Youth & Family Services at 570 H Ritchie Highway in Severna Park, moving onto the B & A Trail, and finishing up back in front of the office where Santa will be waiting for each runner/walker with hot chocolate, water and cookies. Information is here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fourth-annual-patrick-lee-memorial-holiday-5k-fun-runwalk-registration-47062063900

RUNNING CALENDAR

Nov. 24 - NCR Marathon and Half Marathon Sparks, MD Information: ncrtrailmarathon.com

Dec. 9 - Annapolis Striders Anniversary Run, 10 a.m., Quite Waters Park Information: annapolisstriders.org

Bob Cawood writes about running for The Capital. Contact him with items for his column or the running calendar at rhbc@cawoodlawfirm.com.

Credit: Bob Cawood - Bob Cawood writes about running for The Capital. Contact him with items for his column or the running calendar at rhbc@cawoodlawfirm.com.

Caption: Adam Popp, a 12-year combat veteran of the U.S. Air Force and an above the knee amputee, placed second at the 2017 Boston Marathon in the Mobility Impaired division and was the first amputee to finish the race.

courtesy photo

 
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