The Thousand-Mile Man

By Hannah Wallace July 31, 2004

What's a self-described high-energy guy going to do to let off steam? If you're banker Jody Hudgins you run marathons, 38 of them since 1987. That's 988 miles of pavement pounding, including the Boston Marathon three times and the New York Marathon six times.

"Running keeps me calmed down a bit," says the former Carson-Newman College football player who is now executive vice president and senior regional commercial loan manager at First National Bank in Sarasota. "I get fidgety if I don't get out there."

And get out there he does, at 4 a.m. every morning except Friday-10 miles of running on Tuesday and Thursday, 15 to 20 on Saturday, then 25 to 35 miles of biking every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday. "Rainy days I get to rest," he admits.

Hudgins was 33 when he ran his first marathon, the Chicamauga in Chattanooga, Tenn., which wound through the Civil War battlefield of the same name. "At 22, 23 miles when I knew I was past crashing and burning, I knew I had it," he says. "It was exhilarating."

He is also proud of the first time he qualified for the Boston Marathon, in 1990. "I had to run under three hours and10 minutes in order to qualify, and after I did it I can remember saying, 'I'm there.' Then, in 1997, five of us went out to Colorado and ran the Pikes Peak Marathon, up to the top and back. That was memorable."

A member of the Manasota Track Club, Hudgins joins a group of three or four runners on weekdays, and anywhere from 10 to 20 runners on weekends. "I used to run more like 60 miles a week five days a week, now it's more like 40 miles a week," he says. "That's because, at 49, my body needs more time to recover."

Hudgins says he's "very quietly sneaking up" on another marathon this fall, but isn't officially preparing because "I don't want to put too much pressure on myself."

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