On Saturday, November 22nd, the 52nd Annual JFK 50 Mile Run will taking place, with over 1,000 runners set to compete. The JFK 50 Mile Run has had a long history in Maryland, starting back in 1963, one year before the beloved President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The run was initially created to increase the fitness of America, as part of the late president’s campaign for a healthy America. After JFK was assassinated, the run was changed to the JFK 50 Mile Memorial Run in 1964, in honor of him. Even though this race is open to the public, it was designed for military officers to keep up with the requirement that President Teddy Roosevelt set in which his military officers must be able to cover a 50 mile distance on foot in 20 hours.
In recent years, the race has been a huge success. Every year, thousands of participants come out from across the U.S. and abroad to join the race and test their physical ability with America’s bravest. Teams from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and various running groups around the U.S. compete for the top prize. This year, 1000 participants will be competing for themselves and also for 27 different charities around Maryland. Ages for this race also vary from 18 to 80, all of whom must reach a qualifying time prior to the race.
All finishers within the 12-hour time-limit will receive a JFK 50 mile finisher’s medallion while the top 10 men and women as well as the first male and female in the various age divisions will be recognized at the awards ceremony. Along with this, the top six male and female finishers will receive prize money. If you happen to beat the existing record for the course, you will receive an additional $2,000. But the most prestigious honor of the race is the “Kennedy Cup”. This award is given to the top place military team with the lowest time of their top three competitors.
After the race, runners will be invited to join the post-race celebration at the Ramada Inn Plaza in Hagerstown. Runners are entered free of charge, while guests and spectators will be admitted at a nominal fee. Hotel accommodations and such can be seen on the race website at www.jfk50mile.org. Although it is too late for entries, spectators are more than welcome to come and support the runners. The race will be held rain or shine. Race Director and past winner Mike Spinnler says, “We are very excited about the 52nd Annual JFK 50 Mile. A full field of 1,000 participants are coming from throughout the United States and abroad for one of Maryland’s most internationally-recognized sporting events.” So come out and show some support for the men and women running this tremendous feat!