This week’s spotlight is on someone that is so inspiring and such a great a guy, incredible member Jason Lee Hinerman:
It was early June of 2022 when I decided to join the Frederick Steeplechasers. I was done with my Spring marathons and half marathons and needed a short, fast June race to stretch the legs. The Summer Solstice 8K was being advertised on my social media feed at that time. I have been meaning to expand my local tri-state running community network to the Frederick area for a specific reason. I have a lot of childhood memories in and around the town of Frederick, and some family who reside in the area. I remember the early ‘In the Streets’ events and Carrol Creek being in ruins from a previous flood before being reconstructed into a beautiful scenic route I get to run on with y’all when I attend the Wednesday evening Pub Runs.
Networking with other runners has been a big part of my success as a runner in the short time I have been involved in the sport. I’m also a member of the Shenandoah Valley Runners, of the TRT Thundersquad, a group of former and current Two Rivers Treads ambassadors, and of the most local crew to me, the Harper’s Ferry Ultra Running Team (H.U.R.T.). I started running a little over 4 years ago for a multitude of reasons that added up all at once, and I literally cashed them all in for a pair of running shoes. Disgusted with my chain smoking, becoming demobilized by a neurological disorder, hitting an all-time low in life, and being plain out of shape, were motivating factors. The ultimate trigger to take that first step was when I walked by a television airing the 2019 Boston marathon. On April 16, 2019, I laced up to run it all out. The best decision of my life, that has saved my life and given me more life than I have ever lived before. It started with completing a single mile, which didn’t happen immediately. I knew that all I had to do was pace myself and run without stopping. After completing one mile at a time day after day, I was able to do two and then three miles in one single running motion. The hashtag #runwithoutstopping was coined at that point and my Instagram handle of the same, runwithoutstopping, became the title of an ongoing journal. Those three words would define a universal method of achieving everything I have to this point. I made goals from the start. The first being that I will eventually do the local JFK 50 Mile race, which goes by my childhood home at mile 19. That would be in the future, so I started with building up to the local Freedom’s Run Half marathon within my first 6 months of running. I did it too. I ran every single day that I could, despite the several set back injuries of a beginner, and managed to complete the race. I ran so much to train that I was added to a 100 day run streak Facebook group. This became an extra challenge to see how long I can endure. Before a year I would complete my first 100 day streak. I wanted to do more half marathons after that, but unfortunately this was when Covid was shutting down the country. It was all extremely heartbreaking to me since I had barely begun to discover and experience every event and thing that the local running community had to offer. One thing was for sure. I wanted to do a marathon distance before the world ended, and that is what I did. I plotted a route on the C & O Canal towpath and completed my first marathon distance before my first year of running was up. 2 weeks later I did it again. Then I restarted a new running streak, the one I’m on today. I grabbed a Hal Higdon Marathon training plan off the web, and I started to actually train for something. The Freedom’s Run Marathon hadn’t been canceled yet, so I made it my goal. Inevitably it would be canceled, but I ran the course anyway for a virtual completion, and it went very well. 3:57.00 for my very first big marathon Personal Record. This was great, but I still wanted to experience a live marathon race. Most all had been canceled at this point, except one local race of significant distance… the JFK 50 miler. Ahead of schedule, with only 18 months of running experience, in November of 2020, I ran and completed my first of three JFK 50 Mile races. Yes, I continued for the next two years and will again this year, also running every single day as a devout run streaker.
Since that time, after covid, I have completed many 5k to half marathon races, eight marathons, three 50Ks, two 8-hour endurance races, and three 50 milers. I have been on beautiful scenic adventures within hours travel distance here in the Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania areas in cities and forests, roads, and trails. I love all forms of running and the various terrains. I did all of this uncoached and learned to design my own training plans. Recently, I decided to up the game towards a 100K distance goal. Of all the races available, I chose the Laurel Highlands Ultra 70.5 mile race. It involved 22 weeks of training for both high elevation and distance endurance. It also involved a series of training races that seriously tested my abilities, including: the Hyner 50K, the most difficult 50K I’ve known yet; followed by the local Frederick Half Marathon and 5K, a first time experience; then a double half marathon weekend starting with the very challenging Harper’s Ferry Half Marathon and ending with my first Marine Corps Historic Half marathon. All these races, meeting up with H.U.R.T., and my intense training plan worked out great, until the big race at Laurel Highlands recently on June 10, 2023. As much as I thought I was trained, as much as everything like hydration and nutrition was working, as much as I paced myself on those inclines, those mountains ate me up in the first 32 miles. I called it after determining that I would not be able to make the next 6.8 mile distance to the next checkpoint. A huge heartbreak to actually make that decision and being my first ever DNF (Did Not Finish). Not a total disappointment, because the original point was to test my abilities and now, I have a new wall to work on getting over.
Throughout this journey, I have been told that it is inspiring to many different people for many different reasons. In general, I notice that we all have something to work through, and it’s not going to be done sitting down. It takes work, and it works if you work it. I’ve verified and documented it for everyone. Everything that I have learned about distance running and training plans are totally free to those who can use them.
As of now, I am taking it easy, but still running every day. My running streak that started with the first marathon training program continues and has recently gone over three years. I also renewed my Steeps membership celebrating 1 year with this very friendly and involved community organization. You’ll probably see me at the Pub Run and if you are registered for the upcoming Catoctin 50K, I’ll be there. It’s a pleasure to run with the Steeps and I’m excited for another year of joining in on the meetups and events.