When David Bohn laced up his La Sportiva Skylites for the 2011 JFK 50 I am pretty sure he didn't think he had a chance of winning it. David was not there to duke it out with Michael Wardian or run shoulder to shoulder with David Riddle. Like most of the other runners who lined up that day he was in a race of his own making, a kind of parallel race to the one the organizers had planned. No, David was not running the JFK 50 but the JFK Sub-8hr 50.
I think I can safely say that 90% of the people who showed up for the THE 49TH ANNUAL JOHN F. KENNEDY 50 MILE RUN were, like David, also running some kind of parallel race, each with goals and agendas as varied as the individuals running them. As runners, when we hear the one minute warning and scurry to find our place in the mob we all want a reason to be "in the game", even if it is one of our own making. Having those "reasons" is what gets us up before sunrise on days when we want to sleep in, has us donning headlamps at night when we could be home reading a book and has us bundling ourselves up in our balaclavas and mittens in the winter when sitting inside infront of a roaring fire would feel so good.
So I just wanted to take the time to give my CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who ran their version of a "parallel race" this year. Whatever reason got you "in the game", the races you ran were just as important and vital to the sport of running as the official race you signed up for was. Running your own race is the path to realizing your potential and one day you might find yourself not only winning your "parallel race" but surpassing your wildest expectations and placing in a race you didn't realistically think you were in. Which by the way is what happened to David Bohn when he realized that his monumental win in the "JFK Sub-8hr 50" had also earned him a 3rd place finish in the JFK 50 to 59 . Now how sweet is that?!
I wish I had time to list more but here are a few PARALLEL RACES run this year. Please feel free to add to list in the comments-
Kendra winner of the Bear Mountain "cut-offs, cut-offs, I must make the cut-offs" 50 miler
Sara winner of the Oxfam Trailwalker "have fun with the gals, see China and raise money for a good cause" 100km
John F. winner of the Leadville "just finish before sunrise" 100.
Shelley winner of the Finger Lakes "I'll finish even if I'm last" 50 miler.
Ron winner of the Sulpher Springs "just stick to the plan" 100
JD winner of the Burning River "I have a need for redemption" 100 miler
John M. winner of the Run for The Toad "I hope my leg holds up" 50k.