By Chris Garman
For most, running is a form of exercise and a way to stay in shape throughout the year, but for Kimball Byron, it means a lot more.
Since the age of 12, Byron has participated in the JFK 50-mile run, and on Nov. 17, the 57-year-old will take to the course once again. In an event such as this, only those who are dedicated to training and keeping in shape participate.
"Training is a lifestyle," Byron said. "Setting a training program is wonderful if you are disciplined enough and life doesn't get in the way."
A Frederick County native, Byron has found everyday life to be the biggest obstacle throughout his years of training as a runner. With children and work involved, his training schedule does not always go according to plan.
Because Bryon has participated in the 50-mile run so often, he said the chance to relive his experiences had been a key form of motivation.
"My biggest motivation has always been coming back to what I feel is home," Byron said. "Motivation can also be a selfish thing. I come to run the JFK 50-mile every year to reflect on my life. I can count on memories triggered by every mile of the course, whether it was running a section with my father or having the support of my family."
One thing that separates this event from others is the competitive aspect. Most who participate in this event are not out to record the best time, but rather to, in Byron's words, survive.
Bryon said he survived by relying heavily on past experiences.
"I have been passed by a blind man on the rockiest part of the Appalachian Trail," Byron said. "I have been humbled by groups of women running past me like I was stuck in the mud. But experience has taught me to continue, taught me to survive."
Bryon said the highest hurdle he had to get over during his years running this race came in 1974, at the age of 19. In 30-degree temperature and freezing rain, Byron continued to push forward. With the help of his mother, who gave him a waterproof raincoat, he was among the 17 percent of runners who finished the event that year.
The perspective Byron has on running has translated to perspective on life, he said: Preparation and motivation allow him to survive each day.
"Run for comfort," Byron said. "Run for the experience. It's what I do now."
More Cheap Seats:
• Blast Rearing Pair Of New Keepers
• Former Bees Visit Life-changing Coach
• Mustangs' Freshmen Breaking New Ice
• Eight New Members Enter Lacrosse HOF
• Byron Knows His Way In JFK 50-Mile Race
• Shoes For Grades Targets Better Marks
Issue 179: November 2012