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Athlete Profile: Endurance Runner, Jack Cary

December 14, 2015
Jack Cary

Jack Cary

All About Jack Cary

There are some people whose list of accomplishments boggles the mind. John (Jack) Winfield Cary III is one of those people –  and his seemingly endless list of adventure and other types of races includes running up Mount Fuji in Japan. Jack Cary, age 39, of Burlington, Ver., is the co-owner of The Endurance Society, an organization he founded with fellow endurance athlete Andy Weinburg (also from Vermont).

The organization focuses on providing an excellent adventure experience for endurance athletes who are interested in pushing their limits. Cary, who had developed a keen sense for outdoor and adventure sports, became interested in designing and managing endurance hikes, which led to managing endurance races. Cary got hooked on adventure sports at the age of 27, having spent 6 months hiking 2,000+ miles from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail in 2003. He did not run his first 5k until his early 30s and quickly progressed into trail running, marathons, ultras and extreme multi-day adventures. Cary describes himself as a spontaneous wanderlust.

“I’ve always been a bit extreme, impulsive, walk to the beat of my own drum, all-or-nothing type. Part wanderlust, part risk-taker, part Attention Deficit. Like when I decided to hike the Appalachian trail; I had never really heard of it until 2002, when I stumbled upon a single page from a A.T. thru-hiker’s journal. At that exact moment, I said to myself: “I am going to hike the Appalachian Trail!”

Cary saved up money, quit his job, sold his car, and in March of 2003 started hiking south. After completing the hike, he moved to Burlington, and literally camped there for the first week or two before renting a small apartment. Vermont has a number of running groups, and in 2007 Cary joined one and immediately appreciated the support and camaraderie the group provided. “It didn’t take long before I was going on long 5- or 6-hour training runs,” he mused. “I don’t run fast, but I seemed to have developed a knack for gutting out the longer stuff. I am sure my time on the Appalachian Trail helped.” Cary regards being an endurance athlete as more of a lifestyle than something he spends time training for. He likes to hike and train with like-minded folks, such as adventure-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts.

To encourage his endurance practice, Cary has surrounded himself with people who are faster, stronger and smarter.

“I also like to take new adventurers under my wing, to expose them to the joys that I experience doing these types of events,” Cary said. In the last five years alone, Cary has competed in a few ultras – some of which he DNFd. But for the most part, Cary can boast that he’s finished a handful of ultra races and marathons and has led hundreds of sunrise/summit group hikes in Vermont. In terms of running, he’s run to the summit of Mt. Fuji, Japan (solo, before sunrise), run The Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim, finished the Spartan Death Race three times, skied a 50k Nordic Race, hiked in the Swiss Alps and climbed Mt. Rainier. Further, Cary has designed and administered physical and mental challenges for a number of adventure races – making him qualified to manage the race series that The Endurance Society is marketing to endurance athletes who are looking to push their limits.

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Athlete Profiles