Marathon schmarathon. When 26.2 becomes routine, one goes searching for a distance that appears more challenging. So how about a 50 mile foot race? The JFK 50 is America's oldest 50 miler. At 5:00 a.m. on November 21 I started my journey in the dark somewhere in Maryland. At 4:30 p.m. that day, somewhere 50 miles further away, I collected my medal for completing the ultra endurance race. It was amazing.

Wondering if a 50 miler is in your future? Read on to find out more what it's all about and decide if you'd like to add it to your bucket list.

Why I Ran

Because I could. I was bragging about running a marathon to a stranger at a wedding and she came back with Hey, you should run a 50 miler with me. I thought... Why not? I never even contemplated running 50 miles but I was up for the challenge. Now that I know what it is like, I wanted to write about it so others can learn more and maybe set a goal for 2010 to complete one themselves.


I was expecting to have to do a bunch of really long runs, but to my surprise the longest run is a fall marathon, which I completed in Chicago in October. Other than that, I competed in several fall endurance events back-t0-back weekends, which I think helped prepare me for the 50-miler.


Fueling for a 50-miler is not really different thanfueling for a marathon. You eat healthy foods. I enjoyed black bean soup, sweet potatoes, quinoa, thick crust veggie pizza, oatmeal, shredded wheat cereal, fresh fruits, sandwiches, and pasta during my training. I had extra carbs in the 48 hours before the race and I got plenty of sleep. Oh, and I can't forget the carrot cake! I had a piece after dinner the night before the run. I have to say, if nothing else, I enjoyed it so much that it helps lower any pre-race anxiety. I went to bed in a great mood.

During the race, I hydrated with water andsports drinks. I had peanut butter sandwiches, bananas, pretzels, cola, and soup. The soup was so good I can't even tell you.

After the race I was so hungry. I had a slice of pizza, a happy meal and a sweet potato and steak dinner between 5:30 and 9 p.m.

Should You Try One?

Only you can answer that. I would say it is a good idea to have two marathons under your belt just so you understand the basic requirements for endurancetraining and fueling. Nutrition is key for finishing the race strong and injury-free. Here are some other things to consider:

  • Learn more about ultra endurance racing.
  • Are you injury-free?
  • Do you have time to train?
  • Can you find a race and get in?
  • Can you sign up for a fall marathon?
  • Practice fueling during your training.
  • Set a goal to finish, but have a race plan. For example, I planned to jog five minutes and walk two minutes during a flat 28-mile portion of the race.

Good luck no matter what race you attempt!

By Rebecca

Reprinted from Dietsinreview