JFK Splits 2010
Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010
Nearly one hundred team members donned Reston Runner uniforms on Saturday for the JFK 50 Mile Run event, making an impressive show on the trail and at the aid stations. Fifty of our runners started the race with 50 support crew and family members in their blue pinnies ready to serve at every turn.
This event is unique not only in the length of the run, but in the depth of participation of walkers, runners, family, and friends of the Club. Team members register for the JFK in July, then gather for potluck dinners, road trips to the Appalachian Trail, race survival training sessions, pre-race pasta feeds and post race celebrations. This JFK program is famous for building friendships and sparking relationships (and even a marriage or two).
But in the end, runners must pin their numbers on their shirts and line up at the starting line, ready to discover what the day will bring. This year it brought perfect weather (36 degrees at the start, raising to nearly 60 midday), lots of rocks on the trail, hot soup at the aid stations, and stories of triumph and volunteerism at its best.
Forty-six Reston Runners finished the 50 miles, making it the 15th year in a row teams have represented the Club. Of these, 18 were first time JFK runners and 18 were women. The average age of our finishers was 46 years, ranging from 25 (Jesse B) to 65 (Kishan B). While more than half of our men were over 50, we had only one 50-something female (Deedee, of course).
Our Awesome Support
30 Reston Runner volunteers and 20 family members met the runners every 10 miles to provide support and encouragement. While our 50 day-glow running shirts are impressive on the trail, we are best known for our throngs of energetic support teams at the aid stations. Dennis K used his connections to provide beautiful drop bags to every runner, and Team Captains Debbie M, Kevin H, Jess H, and TJ hauled those bags to each aid station and organized their flock of RR volunteers to be all they could be.
These efforts were not lost on our runners. First timers Richard K, JoAnne H and Chris J noted that, “Coming into each aid station I was greeted by warm smiles and complete desire to help me make it onto the next one. Along the course it seemed like every time I encountered a Reston Runner I was greeted with a warm exchange and words of encouragement,” and “Just knowing I would see friendly, happy faces at the upcoming stops totally motivated me.” And finally, “I don't think I would have completed my first JFK without the awesome support of the Reston Runners. There was no better feeling than seeing the blue Reston Runners shirts at the aid stations because I knew I was in for a brief but reinvigorating reprieve.”
Will F, Manfred B, Paul S, and Michael F captured runners splits at the aid stations, while Pat K made sure the soup was hot, John N biked the course with his pharmacy, and Pons took copious photos. Helen H and Ann D kept the whole crew machine running in their roles as Crew Team Czars. Throughout the year, Todd W, Will F, Helen H, Mike S, Jess H, Dave C, and Ellen M worked behind the scenes to help Anna organize the prerace events and materials. Cliff D and his team of massage therapists made sure each Reston Runner was massaged back into health after their long day.
How They Ran (Splits And Details Here)
Our runners did us proud. The first timers (6 women and 12 men) finished with an average time of 10:23, while our veterans (12 female, 16 male) averaged 9:57. Clearly we are faster than the average JFK finisher (the 1014 finishers averaged 10:30). While every freshman finishes with a PR, only ¼ of our veterans accomplished this feat. For those veterans running their fastest JFK ever, they averaged 40 minutes improvement over their last PR. The rest of us ran an average of 35 minutes slower than our best times. First time ultramarathon men’s times were not too shabby: Dave M ran 7:45, Ned W 8:14, Richard K 9:06. But it does seem that experience pays: James B 7:24, Mike B 7:35, Doug B 8:07.
While each runner’s finish is a remarkable accomplishment, a few of our finishers deserve special mention. Deedee L (8:21) won her age group by 70 minutes, improving her own time by 16 minutes. Gina H (13:34) is a true RR success story, having joined the club through the Women’s Training Program to run the 5k 3 years ago. Padma B was seen wringing her hands until late morning, fearing for her husband, Kishan, who’d had a bad fall during an AT training run last year. While Kishan was the last official runner off the mountain this year, his trail caution paid off, allowing his joyful wife and daughter to welcome him to an impressive 11:11first time finish. Finally, Jesse B (11:33) is a second generation RR JFK finisher. Having crewed for his parents most of his young life, Jesse finally decided to see what it was like from the other side. Jim B (9:33) gave Jesse a two hour head start and caught up at mile 47 to finish hand in hand in full father-son glory.
As every runner knows, the numbers don’t really tell the whole story. One 10-hour finish is simply not the same as the next. For one runner, it’s a victory beyond belief – a feat that will transform their running and life story. For the next it might represent a passable-day-turned-disastrous with a dramatic crash-and-burn ending. Most, strangely, are a combination of both. Each race carries a unique personal meaning for us – a meaning grounded in the choices that enabled us to get to the starting line, the challenges we overcame during the long training season, the people who shared those runs and life stories with us throughout the summer, and the hopes we had for this particular event.
Congratulations to the team for another successful year.
-Anna Bradford (#16 in 10:26)