Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Our Running Rigger

Hello, my name is Jarrett, and I am a run-aholic. This was never more true than Saturday November 22, 2008 when I successfully completed the JFK-50 mile ultra-marathon in 10 hours, 39 minutes and 10 seconds. Other than being an avid sailor and racer in the Annapolis area, I am striving to feed my obsession for endurance running. The JFK-50 miler was by far the most excruciating physical activity I have done. I've been addicted to the outdoors ever since I can remember and I've run numerous trail marathons, 50-kilometer (31 miles) runs, marathon distance and various trail races over the years. You've probably even seen me around Annapolis on my daily training runs.

The JFK-50 starts at 7:00 am near Hagerstown, MD. The course is comprised of the 16 miles on a particularly hilly section of the Appalachian Trail, a 26 mile section on the flat C&O canal toe path and a final 8 miles of rolling hills. The AT section is actually quite fun with new terrain on the narrow single track section with rocks galore. The C&O section is a slow, daunting and grueling path that gave me plenty of time to contemplate just how insane I was to start this epic journey. Time passes and so do the miles, there are numerous aid stations that become a real pleasure. Stocked with PB&J sandwiches, cookies, candy, and of course Gatorade; these heavenly stations are a source for calories and a snap back to reality that this is more than just a race. As I make it to mile 42 and come off the toe path, I realize that I've come this far and even though the pain is excruciating, there is no stopping now, not with only 8 miles left. HA!! … those last 8 miles are an eternity all to themselves. "Rolling hills" is an understatement as every incline feeling like I am summiting a 14,000 ft Colorado peak. The finish is in town and a welcomed sight with announcer and crowd cheering on the runners who have donned reflective vests; I crossed the line at 5:40 pm. Yes, that's right, I saw the sun rise and set all while running.

This run is a true test of grit and determination. Pace is slow and it's a battle just to keep going. I was not the only crazy person out there as I shared those 50 miles with 1000 other runners and none more important than my fiancé Meredith. She is a running goddess with many marathons under her race belt. We endured the pain together running side-by-side the entire way. Each of us knew that if the other weren't there, we wouldn't have finished.

Knowing just how intense the JFK-50 is and how crazy you have to be to even think about running it, I am seriously considering doing this again next year. The physical and emotional turmoil, weeks of recovery, the endless hours and miles of training have me wanting more. My name is Jarrett and I'm a run-aholic.

Jarrett is the assistant rigger here at the shop so he's responsible for a lot of the custom rigging that goes out from eye splices to life lines. He's a stand-up guy and apparently also insane. Seriously though, the following Monday in the office he was asked if he would do the race again and he responded with an immediate yes. If that's not crazy I don't know what is.

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