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Road Racing Jones: Don Kern, Director Metro Health G.R. Marathon

Underwriting support from:

/Courtesy of Don Kern

This periodic feature of The Rapidian will reveal the road racing jonesing* of Grand Rapidians.

My record is doing four marathons in a month. Usually it is at least one.

I've run a least one marathon every month for 79 consecutive months.

I never have to do that build up thing. I'm always tapering.

I've run all seven continents three times; 21 countries and all 50 states. This is how I see the world.

Last year I arthroscopic surgery in both knees, so I'm not as fast as I used to be. I need to pay attention to the healing process.

I'm just a kid yet, I'm having a blast,

I don't have any doubt, that on any day I could get out of bed and run 26 miles and be just fine.

I have won my age group a few times, those are usually small races where not a lot of people in my age group showed up. They could have! I'll take it when I can get it.

Started running in 1994, beginning of track season, my daughter was on the team and I went out to run two miles on the track with her. Found I could run two miles without stopping. Started building up a little bit. Ran a 10k on Labor Day for my first race.

Never was in track in high school. I had asthma as a kid, my mom was pretty protective of me.

I earned my high school varisty letter in debate.

It was about 30 degrees in Antarctica, like running a trail run in Michigan in the winter.

Oh my gosh! The Inca trail to Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes. I was up there, looking down into the ancient city of Machu Picchu; there it was, right in front of me! My heart was in my throat, my breath went away. 

Every marathon has its own character. Some are better, some are worse. They're all different, there are some I just get through. But they all have their good stories.

There's always something out there to enjoy, be thankful for, cool people to meet.

There's always a memory with every marathon.

I don't ever go to a marathon where I don't see people I don't know. Went to Beruit for a marathon in 2007, ran into four freinds I knew there, didn't know they were going to be there.

Anywhere in the world I run a marathon, I'm going to run into somebody I know.

The biggest criteria for choosing a marathon is going to a place I've never been before.

I'm a master of the speed vacation.

If you're doing it on foot, you can see the mountains, the scenery or the coastline (like Big Sur) and take it all in for 26 miles.

I make a point of visiting microbreweries along the way.

* Jones or jonesing: a strong need, desire or craving for something. An obesession; a burning desire. The undeniable passion or love for someone or something.
Courtesy of Urban Dictionary.

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