It was a weekend of firsts for Glenville State College Admissions Counselor John (J.T.) Fox. A trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina the weekend of February 14th, was the first ever visit to the popular tourist spot for Fox. He made the trip to compete in his first ever marathon.
Fox, a Fall 2005 graduate of GSC, has been training for the 26.2 mile run since late October. He was a member of the GSC Pioneer football team while in college and also played football and ran track for Gilmer County High School, but until recently, he was never a serious runner. Dr. Danny Nicholson, GSC Senior Vice President for External Relations, an avid runner, inspired J.T. to start running with him, setting the lofty goal of running a marathon.
Fox and Nicholson would rise early every weekday morning to train. Starting at 6:00 a.m. they would run the roads of Gilmer County for an hour, covering between four and six miles each day. On Sundays, the duo would train in the afternoon with runs of between eight and twenty miles. Warm, cold, rain, sleet, or snow, Danny and J.T. ran.
On Saturday, February 14th, Fox realized his goal by completing the 2009 BI-Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon. He hoped to run his first marathon in under five hours. “ It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. There were times when I didn’t think I would make it. When I reached the twenty mile marker, I thought what in the world have I gotten myself into. The last six miles were really a bear,” said Fox. But with the encouragement of other runners, he kept going and crossed the finish line in four hours and fifty-five minutes. “When I crossed the finish line, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I just ran over twenty-six miles. That’s like running from Glenville to Weston,” he said.
Nicholson only ran the half marathon (13.2 miles), so he could take pictures, encourage his running partner, and watch Fox finish. Having completed several marathons himself, Nicholson can appreciate the effort that Fox put forth. “For J.T. to make a commitment to train for and complete a marathon is amazing. It is a celebration of the human spirit,” said Nicholson.
Fox and Nicholson have resumed their training and plan to run in another race this summer, although it may not be a marathon. However, they do plan to run another marathon in the future, the Boston Marathon.