Washington County News
Washington County News
Donations Announced for Non-Profits from 46th Annual JFK 50-Mile; Largest and Oldest Ultra-Marathon in North America Gives to Local Athletic Groups, Wounded Warrior Project, and Rescue Services; New Runner's World Magazine Video about JFK 50-Mile Posted Online
(Hagerstown, MD): The annual JFK 50 Mile Ultra-Marathon has always been a positive local economic impact for Washington County. Hotels, restaurants, and stores all benefit from the hundreds of out-of-town ultra-marathon guests who visit Washington County each November. In addition to the local economic impact, this year's race raised significant funds for non-profit organizations through entry fees and sponsorships.
"Up through 1992 the JFK 50 Mile, at best, broke even, and for a number of years it operated in the red," says race director Mike Spinnler. "Since 1993, the JFK 50 Mile has been supporting local scholastic athletic programs and non-profits." Spinnler became race director in 1993. "Immediately following our last JFK, we sent a donation to the Wounded Warriors Project, to honor the military and servicemen who have annually competed in the event."
In late 2008 the JFK 50 Mile donated $10,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that assists men and women of the armed forces who have been severely injured during conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations around the world. The program helps veterans enjoy sports, including skiing, fishing, and running. Some of the competitors in the 2008 ultra-marathon individually raised money and awareness for the program. Also, some entrants in the 2008 JFK were wounded warriors.
The JFK 50-Mile has also announced that proceeds from the 2008 ultra-marathon will help support cross country and track and field programs at Boonsboro High School, Brunswick High School, Chambersburg Area Senior High School, Smithsburg High School, Williamsport High School, Greencastle-Antrim High School, Clear Spring High School, and Hagerstown Community College, as well as South Hagerstown High School's Christian Athlete Association, Young Life Christian Association, and Shepherd's Spring. The JFK 50 Mile also helps sponsor the scholarship fund associated with the Chambersburg Road Runners Club Annual Half-Marathon.
Several local fire and rescue squads are also benefiting from donations, and a portion of the event proceeds have been donated to support the USA National Team competing in the 2009 International Association of Ultra Runners (IAU) World Cup 100K.
The JFK 50 Mile is the primary annual fundraiser for the Cumberland Valley Athletic Club that subsidizes Tri-State area scholastic athletes in post-season elite competitions and post-scholastic track and field athletes. Also, the Pete Wright Memorial All-Comers Track and Field Series in Washington County will be made possible, free of charge to students, during the summer of 2009, because of proceeds from the JFK 50 Mile.
Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Tom Riford said that the JFK 50-Mile has long been a supporter of local non-profit organizations, including youth athletic programs and local ambulance squads. However, this is the first year that the national Wounded Warriors Project has benefited from the annual event, which usually includes about a 30-percent participation from active duty military competitors and US Veterans. "From a tourism standpoint, it has been estimated that the JFK 50 Mile has more than a $350,000 local economic impact," said Riford. "ThatR17;s in addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars of positive publicity that is generated. People come here from all over the United States, from several countries, and every branch of the military has teams that participate."
Riford said that the new donation for the Wounded Warriors Project is appropriate, because of the long-standing tie-in with our nation's military. "Of the many awards presented at the JFK 50-Mile each year, the most prestigious is the Kennedy Cup, which is awarded to the top-finishing military team. Each military team can have a maximum of 10 participants with the finishing times from the top-five finishers combined for the team time. Every year we see several hundred active duty military competitors and supporters, and also many veterans. As had been said before, it is always an honor and a pleasure to host and welcome U.S. Military personnel at the JFK 50 Mile. The Convention and Visitors Bureau is a proud sponsor of this annual event, and as a veteran I am personally pleased that the JFK presented $10,000 to the Wounded Warriors."
The 2008 Kennedy Cup was won by a team from the United States Naval Academy.
A new movie about the JFK 50-Mile was produced for Runner's World Magazine. The video is almost 6-minutes long, and is posted online at: http://www.marylandmemories.org/jfk2008.html. The annual event includes 50.2-miles of Washington County's parks (Appalachian Trail, South Mountain and South Mountain State Battlefield, Gathland State Park, and the C&O Canal National Historical Park), includes county and state roads, with the race beginning in Boonsboro and ends in Williamsport. The documentary movie was produced by Maryland-based Oella Works for Runner's World Magazine.
The 2009 JFK 50 Mile is scheduled for November 21, 2009. To visit the JFK 50 Mile website go to www.jfk50mile.org.
About the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP): The non-profit organization provides programs and services to severely injured active-duty service members and their families during the critical time between their initial rehabilitation, while on active duty and their eventual transition to civilian life. The Wounded Warriors Project works closely with Disabled Sports USA to provide positive recreational and year-round sports programs. The mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. WWP serves to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women, to help severely injured service members aid and assist each other and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. For more information, please call 877 TEAM WWP (832-6997) or visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.