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give to her every ten miles so we had a mental and physical countdown throughout the race. This was awesome.


So, we’re off at 6am, it’s dark and cold and for the first few miles we run through the Jacksonville Beach area and a few quite beach neighborhoods. Throughout this part everyone was just trying to get into a groove and I was primarily trying to find a pace that would allow me to run all day and without aggravating my knee. Our first meeting spot was a small park approximately 13 miles into the race. I was feeling good here. I shed some clothes and quickly gave her my 1st bracelet, took some preventive Advil and exchanged my handheld water bottle for a 70oz hydration bladder. This stop took about 7 minutes, and I was off.


The next section had us running through some of north Florida’s most beautiful neighborhoods, including Ponte Vedra Beach and Saw Grass, (home to the PGA Tour Players Championship). At this point we are running on A1A parallel to, and about 100 yards from the ocean on a wide bike lane. The temperature was climbing and the sun was peeking through. Awesome running weather.


The miles clicked by, and by Mile 52 I was about 11 hours 20 minutes into the race and at least 40 minutes ahead of the schedule that we had prepared for, (I am glad too, because I would need that extra time later). At this Aid Station, (AS5), it was almost dusk, so I changed into dry, warm clothes, including running pants, pullover and 360-degree reflective gear and headlamp per the race rules. Now, for a lot of you that know me, I am typically in bed by 8pm and up by 4am, so running throughout the night was going to be interesting. 


As it turned out, the night portion was not bad. The wind turned a little more easterly, but I enjoyed it and even got to see a shooting star somewhere near Palm Coast, (Mile 61ish), out over the ocean…amazing. I was getting into a rhythm after the Mile 52 stop utilizing a run/walk routine after running all the first half.


After about Mile 70 I began noticing blisters that had rapidly developed at the base of my toes and forefoot on both feet. My left achilles also began throbbing.  I called Andrea and we met at a convenience store for a quick medical stop around Mile 76. This was surreal. At this point I was sitting on the back of our SUV and Andrea had a headlamp on, kneeling in the parking lot popping my blisters and duct taping my feet, (best wife ever!). We see two guys walk up from the gas pumpers and asks if they can take a “selfie” with us. They said they had seen the line of runners along A1A and finally learned what we were doing. They thought we were crazy and that no one would believe their story, so they asked for a selfie with us so he could post it on their Facebook page. Crazy, but I kid you not. You never know who you’ll meet alongside the road at 2am…Super nice people though…


From this point forward, each step was in agony and the race became more of how much can I tolerate. I was glad I had banked extra minutes the first 50-60 miles. My achilles and feet were trashed. My knee was inflamed, but I kept going. Each step was a step closer to the end. 


I kept reminding myself that I was running for Matt. I was running for all those that donated on my behalf. I was running for my wife. She’s out here taking care of me and making sure I keep making relentless forward momentum. I had worked too hard and put in too many hours to quit. It never crossed my mind. Not once. Did it suck? Absolutely. The last 19 miles were unbearable. But I embraced the suck and powered through. And in that process, I never felt more alive or empowered. We are capable of so much if we focus and push towards the goal.


I crossed the finish line 26 hours and 47 minutes after I started running. I burned 26,437 calories and drank over 312 ounces of water. My feet are bruised, my ankle swollen, and I can’t feel three of my toes…plus my left big toenail is black and will most likely fall off next week…


But, I got to spend over 30 straight hours with my wife. And I wouldn’t trade one second of the experience.


I want to thank everyone who contributed. Your generosity is amazing and I am truly humbled. There was not a moment that went by where I was not thinking about Matt, his parents, or your support. It was the inner strength I needed to push me through. Thank you again.


I have attached several photos from the race, plus a spreadsheet based on notes my wife took detailing the process through aid stations and other parts of the race we employed. If you’d like to see more, just shoot me an email and I can send you a Dropbox link.


Enjoy your Holidays, Joe & Andrea Horton

Well, it’s done, and WE DID IT!

101.25 miles in 26 hours 47 minutes!!!


And over $30,000 towards the Matthew Vernon Poyner Foundation!!! Thank you, Vern, and Dawna Poyner for allowing me to run on Matt’s behalf and to help your Foundation. It was my honor!

I also want to thank my wife. There is absolutely no way possible that I could have trained so much, and/or finished this race without her at every step. She was my support crew, my medic, my cheerleader and I am super lucky to have her!! Thank you babe.

So, here’s an overview of the race experience…


The race started at 6am on Saturday morning, 12/10/16. Approximately 120 people toed the starting line in Jacksonville Beach, just steps from the Atlantic Ocean. It was cool and breezy, about 50 degrees. I slept good the night before and we were ready to put all the hours of training to use. My wife, Andrea, was going to be my crew for this race. We had planned to meet along the course every ten miles roughly at the major aid stations.  She would have in our SUV all the necessities, including, M&M’s, fruit, water, Gatorade, Advil, socks, shoes, knee braces, Tiger Balm, Lidocaine patches, PB&J’s, snacks, headlamps, batteries and anything else that we could think of that I might need during the day and/or night.We had also devised a plan for me to wear 10 rubber bracelets that I would

The Matthew Vernon Poyner Memorial Foundation wants to thank Joe for making us the beneficiary of his amazing accomplishment. 

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