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Running…on anything but empty

Three runners with ETMC Crockett ties spend their spare time on the track

Crockett Runner Caddenhead 
Jerry Caddenhead, an avid marathon runner, looks over nutritional supplement in the ETMC cafeteria pantry. 

CROCKETT – When most people think about taking a morning jog, they have a trip around the block in mind. When an ETMC Crockett dietitian, his friend and a doctor talk about a morning run, they usually mean something in the neighborhood of 10 miles. And that is just their morning jog. The evening run is usually another 5-10 miles.

Of course, a 25-mile run during the course of one day is nothing for marathon runners Jerry Caddenhead, Jason Currie and Dr. Christopher Haeckler.

Caddenhead, an ETMC dietitian, and Currie ran together in the 114th Boston Marathon on April 19. Currie also has a connection to ETMC: his mother, Margie Currie, has been a volunteer at the hospital for the past several years. Dr. Haeckler has qualified to run the race in 2011.

The 42-year-old Caddenhead ran the 26.22 mile event in 3:42:36, which was only 10 minutes faster than his 49-year-old investigator friend Currie, who finished in 3:56:22.

Running in the oldest annual marathon
The Boston Marathon ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events.
The event is the oldest annual marathon and attracts an average of about 20,000 registered participants each year. At the 100th running in 1996, the number of participants reached 38,000.

The marathon is open to all runners, male and female, from any nation, but they must meet certain qualifying standards. To qualify, a runner must first complete a standard marathon course certified by a national governing body affiliated with the International Association of Athletics Federations within a certain period of time before the date of the desired marathon.

Besides the Olympic trials, it is the only major American marathon that requires a qualifying time and is considered one of the more difficult marathon courses.

Crockett Runner Haeckler 
Dr. Christopher Haeckler is pictured running in a 2002 marathon. 

Although Dr. Haeckler did not run in the Boston Marathon this year, he did run in the Texas Marathon in Kingwood on Jan. 1, finishing with an impressive time of 3:42:13.

A member of the 50 States Marathon Club
As a member of the 50 States Marathon Club, he has participated in marathons in all but four states: Vermont, Wyoming, Minnesota and South Carolina. To finish his quest he competed in Vermont on Memorial Day weekend. The following weekend he is scheduled to run in Wyoming, and then two weeks later he will go to Minnesota.

The 58-year-old doctor has been running since the eighth grade, and says he has always enjoyed it.

“Each race is an adventure,” he said as he described various trips and connecting flights he has made to reach certain destinations to run marathons. He said one holiday weekend he ran three marathons; one in Pocotello, Idaho, on Saturday, Sunday found him in Albuquerque, N.M., and then it was off to Colorado Springs, Colo., on Monday for another 26-mile jaunt. Sometimes he even flies his own Mooney airplane to events.

Dr. Haeckler, who has 56 marathons under his belt said, “As we train for all of this it is amazing to see what the human body can do.” He said his wife, Kathy, is a half-marathon runner who goes a distance of 13.1 miles. He said she runs locally with a group and she participates in the Fifty States Half Marathon Club.

Crockett Runner Currie 

Marathon runner Jason Currie is congratulated by his wife Sandra and daughter Morgan after qualifying for the Boston Marathon. 

On an average day he runs about six miles and perhaps cross-trains in the afternoon, noting the specifics of the training depend on the particular event you are training for and what works for the individual. About he and his wife, he said, “We are regular runners, we put our time in and enjoy it.”

Caddenhead said he would like to run the Boston Marathon again in a couple of years. “We ran the Boston Marathon the first time just to enjoy the experience. Next time we will concentrate on our finishing time,” he said.

His next marathons are scheduled in Houston in January 2011 and in Groveton in April 2011. He said he was introduced to running by a friend and has been running seriously for the past 10 years, averaging 50-100 miles per week. Prior to becoming a serious runner, Caddenhead studied Tae Kwon Do and earned a black belt in the sport.

He would like to compete in the World Marathon Majors which consists of marathons in Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York. “It is something I would like to do. You have to have goals,” he said.

When training he said he consumes 3,000-6,000 calories a day and that preparation for a marathon involves running, nutrition, and time, adding that he enjoys training by himself because he likes the peace and solitude of being on the road.

Running seriously for 10 years
Currie, an investigator for a law firm, has been running seriously for the past 10 years, and on an average day will cover about 5-10 miles. If he is in training for a marathon, he could increase his distance to 45-50 miles per week, he said.


While he has always enjoyed running, at the age of 34 was inspired by a photograph of Dr. Haeckler taken during a marathon. He said that is when he began to take running seriously. On his first day he said he lasted 12 minutes, but continued training and has participated in five marathons.

About the Boston Marathon he said, “It was really a very neat experience.” His fastest marathon was in November 2009 with a time of 3:23:20.

His training paid off, Currie said, when his wife worked at a school in Crockett and one of their cars had somehow been left in town. So he ran from Kennard to Crockett, taking dirt roads to cut a little off the 16-mile trip, and drove the car home.

Ironically, Currie and Caddenhead grew up within a quarter mile of each other in Kennard and in recent years have re-connected through running.

Currie said there are times that the family dog, a miniature Dachshund named Jack, will accompany him to a certain point in his running pattern and then wait for him to return.

When traveling the roads of Houston County you might see one of these men fulfilling their love of running.