Jesse Garrant’s goal in his first ultramarathon isn’t just to cross the finish line at the JFK 50 Mile, but to finish the rigorous test of human endurance with a smile.
The 39-year-old native of Plattsburgh, N.Y., said he’s ready for what he described as “the next challenge” in his life after running several marathons, including the Pittsburgh Marathon and the local Freedom’s Run this year.
“I like to set goals, I like to set challenges, and this one will be exciting,” said Garrant, who learned of the race after moving to Berkeley County about two years ago.
Garrant, a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard, said one of his colleagues at the National Maritime Center in Martinsburg had run the JFK 50 Mile and had a bib number from the race at the office. Garrant said the rich history of the race appealed to him.
Garrant said when he was younger he dreaded running the 1.5-mile physical training run required by the Coast Guard.
“I didn’t actually start running until I was 29,” he said.
Garrant began by running a mile and increased the distance from there. Now, he can’t get enough of the feeling and satisfaction — both physically and mentally — he gets from running, he said.
He began running ultramarathon distances (more than 26.2 miles) that he mapped out on his own to train for the JFK 50 Mile. He said he also prepared for the event by doing research, which included reading a few books.
Though he has never run the JFK 50 Mile, Garrant said he hopes to finish in 8 hours and 30 minutes.
Garrant said his wife has been very supportive of his running adventures, but admitted she does find his desire to run ultramarathon distances “a little odd.”
“I feel refreshed and eager to get started, actually, as crazy as it sounds,” Garrant said.
Editor’s note: This is the final 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.
The Garrant file
Name: Jesse Garrant
Residence: Martinsburg, W.Va.
Occupation: Lieutenant, U.S. Coast Guard, National Maritime Center
Number of JFK finishes: First attempt
The JFK in one word: “Journey”