John Brower, Rock/Creek Race Team
Number of years running: 12 years
Location: Jackson, MS
Favorite Trail Race(s):
R/C Upchuck 50k, R/C Lookout 50-miler, Pinhoti 100-miler
Favorite Trails to train on:
Ridgeland MTB Park, Butts Park, Natchez Trace Horse Trail… these are the only trails near me!
Favorite trail running shoe(s):
Hoka OneOne Stinson EVO (long runs); Saucony Kinvara (short runs)
Lifelong Running Goals:
One goal I have is to continue to fuel the passion that I have for the sport by encouraging others to try and do something that they think they cannot. In terms of events, I want to do two things before I die: Hardrock 100, and the Silverton 1000.
I began running in October of 2001, the same day that I stopped smoking. I went out and tried to run a mile, and made it about 200 yards before coughing my brains out…at that point I knew something had to give, so I threw away my smokes, and signed up for the New Orleans Marathon that following March (2002). I suffered greatly through that event, but made it to the finish line, and was immediately in love with the sport.
During 2002, while driving down the Natchez Trace here in Mississippi, I spied an opening leading into the woods. I pulled my car over, and realized that it was a trail of some kind… so what better to do than to see where it went! Well, it ended up going much further than I was ready for at the time, but needless to say, I discovered a whole new world of running. I quickly became more interested in finding events that were off-road, and stumbled upon the Stumpjump 50k in Chattanooga. With little hesitation, I mailed in my entry, and was in training for my first ultra! I ran the event and loved it, and ever since my passion has been ever-increasing for the opportunity to run on trails.
I have run in 33 ultras since 2004, ranging in length from 50k to 100 miles, and have been fortunate enough to have some podium and top-10 finishes along the way. My favorite run that I have ever done to date is the Grand Canyon R2R2R, which I will be doing again this year in late April.
The awe-inspiring beauty of the creation that you are taming with every step is so humbling that you cannot help but to be affected by the experience, and I cannot wait to go back!
2012 Season Summary:
2012 began with the back-to-back Blues Marathon and First Light Marathon and then a sub-5 hour Mountain Mist 50k. For training, I then went to Oak Mountian for a 40-mile night run, and followed that up the next day with a sub 3:20 effort at the Mercedes Benz marathon. Next was a 50-mile effort at the Double Top 100 (a slip-and-fall cut my day short!). On the heels of some good fitness, I jumped in to the Umstead 100 in April, and got a pr with my first sub-19 hour 100-miler. Some buddies and I made our bi-annual trip to the Grand Canyon, and wore out a R2R2R effort which, if you have not done, I strongly advise you to do so!
In May, I stumbled through the Run for Kids Challenge 12-hour, and kept stumbling through the Chattanooga Mountain Stage Race, on into my birthday run (death march) in June. In July I focused on my duties as the Race Director for the greatest race in Mississippi, the Big Butts 50k and 100k, and then turned my attention to training for the Grindstone 100 in October, which I managed to survive in 29 hours. After a feeble attempt at the Pinhoti 100, of which I made it 55 miles, I called it a year in terms of racing, and began focusing on my first race of 2013.
Proudest Running Accomplishments:
Finishing my first Marathon in 2002, finishing the Pinhoti 100 in under 22 hours, and watching my wife finish her first 100!
Planned races for 2013:
Jan. 19 – 24 Hours of HOSTELity (96.2 miles, 1st OA)
Mar. 2 – MS50
Mar. 23 – Lake Martin 50
Apr. 20 – SCAR (Smokies Challenge Adventure Run 72M)
May 4 – RFK Challenge (12-hour)
June 14 – Bighorn 100
June 25 – Birthday Challenge (38M)
Sept. TBA – Georgia Jewel
Oct. 5 – Stumpjump 50k
Nov. 2 – Pinhoti 100
Dec. 21 – Lookout 50M