Weekend Pick: JFK 50 Mile Race in Boonsboro, Maryland, Nov. 22

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What’s better than running the country’s oldest 50 mile ultra-marathon? Running it in a town called Boonsboro. Be sure to pull that up on a map or your friends might not believe you.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 11.48.24 AM
Image from the 1967 JFK 50 Mile Race – history in action!

In all seriousness, however, November 22 brings the 52nd annual JFK 50 Mile Race to Boonsboro, Maryland.

This Saturday, many of the best from the ultra-marathon community will gather for one of the most competitive distance races around. Registration for this ambitious event filled up months ago, but don’t miss your chance to watch these superhuman racers – maybe you’ll get motivated to join the elite crew — or at least work on someone’s crew as a feeder or pacer — next year!

During his administration, John F. Kennedy called for a nationwide resurrection of physical fitness and launched a whole chain of ultra-races across the country. Now, I doubt that Kennedy ever actually ran any of those 50 miles himself… but the sentiment remains. While most of these died out after the Kennedy assassination, The JFK 50 Miler has been the only race out of the original set to occur annually since 1963 and serves as a memorial to its namesake.

The JFK 50 Mile Race invites anyone to accept Kennedy’s challenge, but most participants hail from various branches of the U.S. Military. Special awards, like the Kennedy Cup for the top-finishing military team, honor these racers in particular. However, officers and civilians alike seek out this event for the rich history and inspiring atmosphere it offers.

The 50 mile course, already strenuous enough in distance, takes runners off the road to add yet another level of difficulty. The race takes runners through Boonsboro to the Appalachian Trail, as well as over the local C&O Canal Towpath, where the terrain is far from gentle. Rocky climbs, sharp switchbacks, and country hills all make this extreme event even more of a trial for the ages.

Not for the faint of heart, the JFK 50 Miler stands among the top ultimate adventure events for the strongest competitors known to man. Come support these impressive runners as they raise the bar for athletes everywhere!

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