50-Mile Kennedy Walk (now starts at Cabin John VFW)

Event Details

50-Mile Kennedy Walk (now starts at Cabin John VFW)

Time: February 8, 2014 from 4am to 9pm
Location: Great Falls Tavern Park's Cabin John VFW
Street: 11511 MacArthur Blvd‎
City/Town: Potomac, MD
Website or Map: http://kennedy50.org
Phone: Ray Smith (703) 732-7724
Event Type: kennedy, walk, (march), historic walk, rfk, jfk, 50-mile, 50-mile hike, great falls, harpers ferry
Organized By: Ray Smith/Paul Kiczek
Latest Activity: Feb 6

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Event Description

As of 2:00 pm, EST, from Great Falls to Harpers Ferry, we have days of bright sun until Saturday. No snow or ice here on the ground to speak of. The temperatures are to be between 27 and 40 degrees during Saturday's walk. We do have precipitation predicted that morning between 10 am and 2 pm, flurries accumulating to 0.11 inch. We are scheduled to pass through Poolesville then, where we will have two volunteers, supplies, lock house 25 & an outdoor fire ring. We have three or four volunteers at our lunch stop, White's Ferry and several vehicles to sit and warm in.

It's always "the hawk," wind gust potential that concerns me. We are blessed with the "winds at our backs," coming from the east and negligible 3-4 mph Saturday. The towpath is in a lowland valley with trees to act as windbreaks anyway. It's also a well-graded for draining and great overall walking surface, even with precipitation, right? Last year, even with strong head winds and a bit of ice, we all did well.

Great Falls, 22066 area code: http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/great-falls-va/22066/hourly-weather-forecast/9160_pc?hour=49


Last year our crew of two, received many kudos as the element that really made our event. This year we have seven volunteers and five full support stops. We still need a volunteer driver for those two walkers who have requested a vehicle ride back to DC on Saturday night.

Remember, it's not a race it's an adventure? It's a learning process and you will get farther each time you walk with us, OK? We challenge you to entertain each other. Comedy relief goes a long way, right? Quinn's Pub, our finish, is going to provide us a singer and two special soups. Celebrate with us there and find out if you win the special en route Story Teller Challenge prize. 

There are changes that you should know about.  

1) We will be picking up guests at the Bolger Center (Potomac) and bringing to the start at 3 a.m. “sharp”  on Sat morning.

2) The exact starting point has moved to the VFW hall on MacArthur Blvd about 1/2 mile from the Great Falls Tavern.

3) We'll end at Quinn's Pub and lights out at either the Town's Inn or the Econo Lodge in Harper's Ferry see attached for more information.

4) Rides will be provided back to the start and Wash DC on Sunday morning. Saturday night return to DC driver volunteers please contact us if you have room.


The route is flat, well maintained and takes place on the towpath trail. However, the trail can be dangerous for walking in the winter months due to ice and mud, especially near the finish and in the dark.

NOTE: The FreeWalkers will now offer SAG support services as an option for $15 per person. There will still be an option to walk the route independently with the group free and without support.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Robert Quinlan on January 27, 2014 at 11:00am

Ray- how's the snow down there?

Comment by Ray Smith on January 22, 2014 at 9:53am

Here's the new start location; the Cabin John VFW. It's within Great Falls Tavern Park on McArthur Blvd, en route to the C&O Towpath.  It adds .8 mile and gets very close to what we believe RFK walked in 1963. 


Comment by Jim Boyer on January 2, 2014 at 12:04pm

Did it last year looking forward to this year. My crew is waiting and ready to go. See You at 4 AM Feb 8

Attending (30)

Not Attending (3)

In Their Footsteps

These FreeWalkers have demonstrated our spirit of determination, adventure and community and help set the standard for the rest of us. Awards were presented at the June 22nd Celebration Event. Click here to learn their personal story and what it means to be a FreeWalker.

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Our 5th Anniversary of the toughest walk took place on May 10, 2014. 50 miles, 2 states, a lot of everything. SeeNJ2NY50.org for details.

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Gloria Franco 50
Ian Hochstead 50
Kelly Koley 50
Malaravan Mani 50
Glenn Markulin 50
Albert Walker 50
Tom Glynn 46
LeAnn Holland 46
Will Holland 46
Robert Quinlan 45
Paul Kiczek 45
David Ascher 35
Ron Palochko 28
Nancy Jonap 24
Cory Storch 24
Ken Kurland 17
Risa Olinsky 16
Renee Scott 11
Orville McNally Jr NA

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A 23-mile hike along the Columbia Trail on Apr 26, 2014 from High Bridge to Long Valley and back. Led by Bob Quinlan with 15 or so companions.

Laurie Beekhuysen
Adriane Berg
Pat Emannuelle
Renata Luisi
Risa Olinsky
Ron Palochko
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William Radkovich
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Three FreeWalkers experience a 50-mile hike in the Netherlands. They join the 7,000 walking an event dating back from the original 1963 fad and devotion to JFK. Learn more about the April 19, 2014 event at Searching for the Kennedy Spirit

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Glenda Almeida 12
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Laurie Beekhuysen 12
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Kelly Boero 12
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Jixia Liu 12
Renata Luisi 12
Dan Lurie 12
Glenn Markulin 12
Risa Olinsky 12
Ron Palochko 12
Robert Quinlan 12
Cory Storch 12
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Al Walker 12
Adriane Berg NA
Armand Boero NA
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Words to Walk By

Why We Walk

Why choose this as our goal? Why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do these other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.

-From President Kennedy’s 1962 speech at Rice University

Why We Don't (Walk)

Why choose doing as little as possible as our goal? Why take a long nap? Why, 35 days ago, insist on flying first class across the Atlantic? Why does Texas play Rice?

We choose to look at the moon. We choose to utter platitudes in this decade and do few other things, not because they are hard, but because they are easy, because that goal will serve to attract votes, because true challenges are those that we are unwilling to address, ones which we are willing to pass onto others, and ones which we intend to ignore.

From FreeWalker, Art McDonald, Rock Hill, SC

Read Art's inspiring essay "On Walking RFK's 50"

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It's New! Yet Old School!

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Distant Thoughts

A Winter's Walking Challenge

40 hearty FreeWalkers faced a cold and dreary February for 17 hours to re-kindle the Kennedy can-do spirit.

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List of entrants for the X-Jersey Challenge as of May 27, 2014. The goal is 100 miles across NJ in 2014.

You can join anytime but you must record your miles at crossjerseywalk.org

Al Walker 100
David Ascher 100
Paul Kiczek 95
Kelly Boero 80
Glenn Markulin 63
Dan Jeffries 52
Cory Storch 44
Gayle Shepardson 26
Olivia Lewis-Chang 12
Yoha 12

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