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.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!
Facebook Twitter Google+ Akta rygg. That means watch your back. In Swedish. If Syracuse (5-7-4, 2-4-1 Big East) is going to come from behind to make the playoffs and have other Big East teams watching SU’s back this year, it will be due, in large part, to the international makeup of the roster. Swedish imports Patricia Lind (Stockholm, Sweden) and Cecilia Borgstrom (Bromma, Sweden) are now starting to pick up the speed of the American activity — on and off the field. ‘I came here because you can combine soccer and studies,’ first-year defender Borgstrom said. ‘In Sweden, you can’t really combine sports and education. That’s like two separate worlds. Coming here to get a good education and develop your soccer skills, while also learning to speak English more fluently, is the best of both worlds.’ Her English is fine. And after already starting 15 out of 16 games this season, her soccer game isn’t bad, either. But before any of the success these two international players have been a part of in an SU uniform, there was first an important mental checklist that needed to be assessed prior to making the trip overseas. Part of that checklist included the pedigree of the head coach. Lind and Borgstrom are two of seven players currently on the Syracuse roster who were born outside of the United States.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Fellow overseas import and sophomore defender Laura Jackson (London) was well aware head coach Phil Wheddon has a global pull. Jackson’s high school and travel teams had links with New York-area schools like St. John’s, Providence and Rhode Island, but Wheddon’s broad sense of the game made Syracuse a relatively easy first choice. ‘Once the coaches get news of international players, it kind of just spreads like wildfire,’ Jackson said. ‘This really stood out to me because the coaching staff is well known around the world. They’ve brought in some of the best players in the world. And with the program being a new one, you can’t really lose anything.’ Wheddon, a native of Basingstoke, England, began his collegiate coaching career at East Stroudsburg in 1992. He moved on to become the assistant and goalkeeper coach for the men’s and women’s teams at Southern Connecticut State from 1997-2000, winning two Division II men’s national championships along the way. From 2002-08, Wheddon worked with both the men’s and women’s U.S. national teams, helping the men to a 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup and leading the women to gold medals in both the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. So traveling to Sweden over two years ago to see Lind and Borgstrom play must have been easy. ‘I just had a contact in Sweden who said you should look at this player,’ Wheddon said. ‘And I went over and watched Patricia play, and I happened to see (Borgstrom) at the same time. I just saw them playing a game, and that they had a lot of potential athletically. Both of them were a physical presence on the field, and I thought it was something we needed.’ Borgstrom and Lind were both members of IF Brommapojkarna when Wheddon made his European recruiting visit in 2008. They, along with Jackson, admit that the game in the U.S. is much more speed oriented, whereas in Sweden and England, more focus is placed on individual technique. It has taken them each a little while to get used to the American game, but the stuff off the field has come much easier. Before practice on Tuesday, Wheddon had just received a call from Jamaica about a possible 2011 prospect. If it turns out she’s up to his recruiting standards, maybe these players will have to ‘akta rygg’ as well. But for now, Lind and the rest of the internationals are content with their newfound lives with the Orange. ‘I wanted to do something different,’ Lind said. ‘Education back home is free, so if it didn’t work out here, I would have something back home. But this is a really good experience. A life experience.’ [email protected] Comments Published on October 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm