450 mile run in New Jersey

Posted on February 29, 2008 by


Running a 26.2-mile marathon is tough enough for most.

Imagine doing nearly three of them in one day.

And then repeating that incredible madness for six straight days.

That’s what ultramarathoner Jody-Lynn Reicher plans to do the week of April 21-27 when she attempts to run the length of New Jersey not once, but twice.

First north to south, then south to north.

Total mileage: 450 miles.

She’s taking on this monumental task to raise pledge money for five charities: Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund http://www.semperfifund.org, International Brain Research Foundation www.ibrfinc.org, Pediatric Brain Tumor Research www.ironmatt.org, Team Fox-NJ www.teamfox.org and The Mary Therese Rose Foundation www.marysfoundation.org, plus increase awareness of the scenic beauty of the Garden State.

The 45-year-old massage therapist from Waldwick, N.J., is no stranger to these wild feats.

She’s completed the nasty 135-mile Badwater race through Death Valley, Calif., and also holds the North American women’s 24-hour treadmill running record, 114 miles.

In all, she’s completed 35 ultras (races of at least 50K/31 miles) since 2001. According to information on her Web site, she’s covered 100,000 miles during her 30 years of running.

Much has been written about women’s ultra running. The exploits of Ann Trason and Sue Ellen Trapp have been well chronicled. Trason finished second overall twice in the Western States 100. Trapp has been a giant in 24-hour races.

Reicher has made her mark, too. She’s already run the length of N.J. one-way in 55 hours, so this latest venture is not uncharted territory.

Local ultra-runner Chris Mortensen, who has run Western States once and the Vermont 100 three times, believes Reicher will have a daunting task but expects her to get the job done.

“I think 450 miles in six days will be tough, no doubt about it,” he wrote in an email. “The fact that she’ll be finishing upstate [many more hills than the southern end of the state] makes it much tougher. Hitting those hills after several 75-mile days will be a shock.

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“But it’s very do-able for an elite ultra-athlete. She’s a phenomenal runner, but I would think her previous Badwater accomplishments would be tougher, though. Badwater you have the 130-degree heat and basically 135 miles uphill. The N.J. run would be a pretty cool accomplishment. It’s great that she’s running for charity.”

The only possible drawback Mortensen sees is the high-profile nature of the event.

“If you want to run for charity, that’s great,” he said. “I’m not sure why she’s promoting her book on the charity/race Web site. But, then again, those charities are better off because of her so who is the publicity harming?”

Both Mortensen and Bob Curci have run the Hellgate 100K, a gut-wrenching race in the Virginia mountains starting at 12 midnight in mid-December. So they know what the ultra challenge in the sport is all about.

Curci also wondered about the motives for the event.

“My initial reaction was another ultra runner bringing attention to themselves,” Curci said. “Ultra running is different than road racing, track or the Olympics. It is such a small sport. There is no publicity. Most of the racers are just challenged by the distance.

“I don’t want to deny that this will be a hard event, but it isn’t even a race. She’s doing it by herself. And I don’t want to belittle her efforts to raise money and awareness for various charities and for New Jersey. It’s just that my initial reaction is that it doesn’t inspire me.”

For more on Reicher’s run, visit the Web site at www.ultrasforcharity.com.  

Wayne Fish can be reached at 215-949-4215 or wfish@phillyBurbs.com.