Jon Karczmarek

Fells Point Ultra Training Coach

Running for me started my freshman year of high school. I was a scrawny kid who needed a fall sport to meet people and stay in shape for spring baseball. I’ve always been realistic about the amount of work and effort required to achieve goals, but if you had told me before that summer that I would quit baseball, and run cross-country, indoor and outdoor track for the next four years, then I would have probably laughed it off. Needless to say, that’s exactly what happened. I had never known such a sport that you not only had the opportunity to ‘play’ every day, and I also didn’t realize that if you wanted to be a better runner you had better ‘play’ a lot more than you thought you could. I have carried with me several philosophies towards my running. Some are spiritual and give a regular run meaning. Some are physical and remind me that endurance comes from enduring discomfort. There is a constant battle between these realms. There has to be. Otherwise, we would get bored and no one would go out on the street for a run in the rain.

Running for me is what I do to feel connected to myself. It’s my thoughts. It’s my actions. What I do today will have an impact on the goals I set for tomorrow, a week from now, or years from now. If it wasn’t enough to convince me to run all those seasons in high school, then maybe it’s enough that I took to the trails in college. From then up through today, I have run thousands of miles, most of which on the trail. I have completed numerous runs at the ultra-distance and have been looking to push further and further. I love hearing how other people have started to push themselves to be where or who they want to be. It reminds me to keep everything in perspective and keeps me striving for my own goals.

I’m not here to tell you to be better. I’m here to listen to how much better you want to be and to help you see it through. There’s so much to learn through running and everyone gets their own takeaways. What we learn is ours to keep, but that doesn’t mean we can’t share along the way.


Jessi Ceiri Valencia Hike