We met Jim Kennedy via Craigslist. Probably a dozen years ago now. Todd’s business before Go Beyond Racing was Nspire, a chip timing company and Jim was hired from a Craigslist ad to be one of the race timers. We traveled to many races around the NW together, timing some really long events, staying in hotels, sleeping in cars (or more not sleeping actually).

Jim was one of those people who would give you the shirt off his back. He was constantly passing along books, movie suggestions, he even introduced the board game Catan to our family by lending us his. Barbara, Jim’s wife is a jeweler, and with her help, he made custom belt buckles for Todd and I with the GO Beyond logo.

Jim was a runner when we met him but was more involved with road relays at that time. After learning more about trail running, he dived in deep, running our Portland Trail Series and then completing his first ultra at the Mt Hood 50 in 2015. He ran in the 24- Hour solo category at Pick Your Poison the next year. Jim also ran the Bristow 24 Hour Run four times and is the person who introduced us to that race.

 

Jim at Bristow Trail Runs in 2017

 

In 2017, he asked Todd and I to crew and pace him there. At this time, he was trying out a different way of eating (Keto or somewhat related to that) and had given us strict instructions on what to make sure he ate and when. I remember it involved pepperoni sticks. This wasn’t the last experience with Jim like this. It was during pacing at Bristow that I realized a loop race wasn’t as awful as it sounded. The opposite actually. If it hadn’t been for this experience, we probably never would have become the race directors for this event. To honor Jim at the year’s race, and recognize his part in bringing Bristow into the Go Beyond Racing stable, we renamed the gnome that has been sighted on course many times over the years to “Jim” and encouraged the racers to think about someone they loved or who loved them whenever they saw the gnome.

 

HydraPak SkyFlask Speed IT 500 mL Water Bottle | REI Co-op $38.00

 

Many people took selfies with “Jim” and told us their stories of losing someone important to them and how saying hi to the gnome helped them through the race, and to deal with grief and relive happy memories. One of our nuttiest experiences with Jim was crewing him when he was running his own creation, the Leif 100. Yes, repeated out-and-backs on Leif Erikson in Forest Park. That was adventurous enough, but Jim chose to do this in the winter when there is not a lot of daylight and harsh weather… and it happened to be a raining like crazy that day and night. We joined in for a shift during the nighttime. I remember Jim had half-and-half in the flask in his vest and bacon in the pockets. Soggy bacon. And wet and fogged-up glasses making it difficult to see the rocky road well. Jim didn’t make his goal that time as he stopped around midnight I think. I would have quit much earlier. It was miserable
conditions.

The other place Jim jumped in feet first was volunteering at races. He worked at aid stations, bib pickup, the kitchen, but most often helped with timing and runner tracking, especially at Mountain Lakes 100. Spending time doing this beside the HAM radio operators intrigued him enough to get his HAM radio license and then he began helping out that way. He even volunteered his son, Brian, to sign that National Anthem at Stumptown, our Memorial Day race in Forest Park. Jim volunteered so much that he was co-awarded the Volunteer of the Year in 2019.

 

Jim on a group snow shoe adventure near Mt. Hood.

 

Probably one of the more special connections with Jim involves my mom. Jim loved running, but also walked quite a bit. During the pandemic, the isolation and lack of interaction with people was really tough on him. He posted on social media that he hoped to find a runner who would let him walk with them during their warm-up and then could go their separate ways. He just needed someone to help get him out the door. My (now 83-year-old) mom is an avid walker and lived not far from Jim. We introduced them and they became walking buddies. This was great for both as it got Jim out and moving,
and he was a faster walker than my mom so it pushed her a bit too. They’d walk in Cook Park, at a nearby track, and through neighborhoods together.

Jim fell while running and thought he may have broken a rib. An eventual visit to the doctor and an X-ray discovered the cancer that he fought for over a year. My mom, our friend Karen Peterson, and Todd and I visited Jim a month or so before he passed, in his home. Knowing that he was going to die made the visit difficult but I’m so glad we had it, and that we were lucky enough to have met Jim via Craigslist.

 

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