November 30, 2022 / Community,Race

Race Athlete Spotlight: Jason Hendry

Jason Hendry is gearing up for his fourth race at the 2023 Walt Disney World Marathon® Weekend presented by State Farm.

Meet Jason

Why did you choose to join the Race to End Duchenne team?

I joined the Race to End Duchenne team because I wanted to run for my son, Jake, and all the boys that cannot. I feel like I have a purpose, something that I can control, even if it is only for that weekend in January.

How many races have you participated in?

The 2023 Disney weekend will be my fourth consecutive race.

How do you prepare for races?

How do I prepare? This question really makes me wonder why I do this! Usually around September, my wife, Jenn, begins to ask if I am going to start running. I, of course, say yes. Around November, I try on my shoes. December, I think about it some more. The night before the race I start training. It usually begins with arriving just at closing to pick up my bibs. I run. Gather all my things and say to myself, “yeah, I am good.” Go to bed late, wake up too early, and head to the corrals. I bend a few times, play with my music. After three years, I still cannot figure out how to play good music. I wait for my group to start, and I am off! I mean, is there any other way to prepare?

Do you have any fundraising and/or training tips or pointers you would share with other runners – either advice someone gave you or you’ve discovered on your own?

Training advice? Get crazy, neon, bright shoes. I love the comments as I run by. I know I will never win; my goal is to finish. That is my focus. A friend once said, “just don’t let the white vans get you.” So, as I run, I try to at least get ahead of a few hundred people. In my mind, I calculate 10 runners per van and keep my mind busy figuring out how long 50 vans scooping runners will take. I also say to myself, “if I can make it in the park, the scooper cannot get me!” I know it is not sound advice, but it keeps me going. I am a finisher. I try to find someone who looks like they know what they are doing and follow them about 20 feet behind. I will follow their lead and I will be perfect.

For fundraising, I try to personalize my story, my son’s incredible journey, and the hope that PPMD has given my family. PPMD is truly our second family, and we are forever grateful.

What will be the first thing you do when you finish your next race?

As I near that final stretch, I stop for a moment and just look around. Look at the runners, the spectators, the people cheering you on. It fills my heart, it makes me cry, and for a few moments I again think of why I do this. For my son and those who we support. Crossing the finish line, seeing my family, and giving my son, Jake, that hug is my top prize. When he says, “Dad, you did it,” I have truly won all the gold I need.

Join Jason in the Race to End Duchenne

Race to End Duchenne is Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy’s signature program that raises funds to support our mission to end Duchenne muscular dystrophy. When you join the Race to End Duchenne you are supporting PPMD’s vital work in advancing research, care, and advocacy to help those with Duchenne live longer, stronger lives. Join the team at one of our upcoming races!

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