By DAVE McMILLION
6:11 PM EST, November 11, 2012
Hagerstown resident Dave Fox enjoyed running as a teenager li
ving in the Midwest.
But he got away from the sport, then developed an interest in it again after graduating from culinary school at James Rumsey Technical Institute near Hedgesville, W.Va.
While working his first job after culinary school, Fox met a friend who competed in the JFK 50 Mile.
“He just said, ‘Hey, you want to do this 50-mile race?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ I had never run an ultramarathon before,” said Fox, who completed the race in 11 hours and 19 minutes in his first attempt.
He said he expected it to be a one-time event, but when the next year rolled around, he thought “what the heck,” and signed up again.
Fox, 43, has finished the ultramarathon 19 times, enduring freezing temperatures, finishing in the top half of the field and sharing the route with one of his sons one year.
Although he cherishes his memories in the JFK 50 Mile, Fox said this year probably will be his last at making it an annual feat — though he said he expects to be running “the rest of my life” and won’t dismiss the idea of tackling the event again at some point.
Fox said the time he spends at his church and at his job, and the fact that his three boys are starting to get involved in sports, leaves less time to prepare for an event like the JFK 50 Mile. Fox said he usually trains for up to three months, a regimen that includes running four times a week, including one long run.
Fox said it’s a fitting time to step away from the event, given that it will be the 20th race he’s run and the 50th running of the ultramarathon.
Fox grew up in the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois. He moved to this area in the 1990s.
Fox, whose best time in the race is 10 hours and 18 minutes, said he can remember when 350 people ran in the event that now attracts about 1,000 starters.
He said he thinks the ultramarathon is popular because it gives the average athlete a chance to accomplish something that “seems above average.”
“Some people might think it’s abnormal, but to me it’s been an adventure,” Fox said.
Name: Dave Fox
Occupation: Culinary services director at Twin Oaks-Williamsport Retirement Village
Number of JFK finishes: 19
The JFK in one word: “Adventure”
Editor’s note: This is the first story in a five-part series about some of the people who will compete in the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon Saturday in Washington County. The event takes participants from Boonsboro to Williamsport along paved roads, the Appalachian Trail and the C&O Canal towpath.
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