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Jeff Morris goes the distance

MotionMasters copywriter, editor and running veteran Jeff Morris, who competed in the Boston Marathon in April, knows the challenges of the Charleston Distance Run. The Charleston Gazette published the following feature article in today’s sports section.

By Bob Fretwell For The Charleston Gazette

Jeff Morris is a familiar figure as he runs the streets of Charleston and has compiled a glowing list of credentials.

Among other things, the 46-year-old Morris ran his first Boston Marathon in the spring, finishing in a respectable three hours, five minutes and 57 seconds, and he’s a regular in the Charleston Distance Run and other area races.

Noting those credentials, the Great Teays Running Club recently named him winner of the Gene Fuller Memorial Award, which is presented annually to the area runner who demonstrates a devotion to the sport.*

The presentation came on July 21 following the Great Teays Run, an annual 5-kilometer race along a cross country-type course at Hurricane’s Valley Park. He ran the 3.1-mile distance in 18:56.

Morris, who works for MotionMasters, a multi-media production company at North Gate, has competed in a dozen Charleston Distance Runs and says the 15-mile test is not unlike a marathon.

“A lot of people liken it to being as difficult as a marathon and, having completed three marathons, I think that’s true, particularly on a hot day,’’ he said. “You come off the hills, and your legs are wobbly, and you’ve got nine miles of flat without any shade. It’s a challenge, and it’s a race everyone points to every year.’’

His best time in the Distance Run is 1:33:10 at the peak of the running boom in 1985.

The Charleston resident, who ran track and cross country at Barboursville High and Bethany College, has run marathons in Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, and made his Boston debut in windy, rainy conditions in April, placing 1,424th out of 20,340 entrants.

“I’ve already qualified to go back next year,’’ he said. “I’d like to break the three-hour barrier while I’m still able.’’

In preparing for a marathon, Morris runs at least 70 miles a week, up from the 55-60 in his normal, year-round training.

Another Kanawha County runner, South Charleston’s Glenn Baldwin, also competed in Boston last spring and finished ahead of Morris in 2:56:39.

The Charleston Distance Run and the accompanying 5-kilometer race are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1.

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