A New Podcast to Start a New Year?

by John Calabrese

2024 Redeye 50k Race Report

I always love doing the VHTRC’s Redeye 50k as a strong jump start into the New Year. I’m not the biggest fan of Prince William Forest Park, the host site. My struggles there are well documented! It’s not a bad park, I just forget how to run there. but I love catching up and being with friends on new year’s. It’s totally worth it. This is my account of my 4th Redeye 50k.

Race Morning

Redeye 50k director Dave Woll assembling the masses to tell them what’s what prior to the start of the run

I was supposed to go with my girlfriend, Denise Freeman, in separate cars, but she overslept. It may have been for the best, because she only had enough spare time to do one loop before she was going to have to leave for work.

I arrived at the parking lot/start area about 30 minutes before the 8 AM-ish start of the run. I got on my gear, went to the bathroom, and then went to the start to talk to friends. I saw Tony Taylor there, which was funny because just two days previously we were running the Boyers Furnace Forty-miler! I talked to a lot of other people, then Race Director Dave Woll gave us the safety brief, and sent us off.

Kim Herring and her shoes, out on the trails.


I started off with Tony Taylor, and we chatted about Boyers, as well as other stuff.

After a while, I got ahead of Tony and found myself running with Carol Cohen. We had a pretty sobering conversation about life, and if your reading this Carol, thank you for listening to me vent all my demons!

Then Carol went ahead- she’s extremely strong right now, and she did great at Boyers, too. I then fell in with Kim Herring for awhile, and we had a great conversation about running shoes. She also used to work in run specialty, so we made the last bit of loop 1 go by quickly. Thank you, Kim!

Aid Station

We checked in with RD Dave, and, unfortunately, Kim was done after one. I was sad because she was so cool, but shortly after my buddy Charlie Poffenberger joined me.

Charlie and I have run a lot of races together. We just always seem to randomly link up over the years at VHTRC events.

Charlie pausing next to the bridge over the Quantico Creek

Podcasting Through Loop 2

Charlie and I talked a lot about sports on this second Redeye loop. A lot of chatter about the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers. I vented a lot about Stefon Diggs [Editor’s Note: A wide receiver for the Bills.] and his lack of production in the back half of this season. We talked a lot about the Steelers’ QB depth chart, and why in the hell Mitch Trubisky was rated higher than Mason Rudolph. [Editor’s Note: No doubt this is a question each and every one of us is asking ourselves.] Then we launched into a lengthy discussion about the Steelers running backs and how firing the Offensive Coordinator has changed the running game so much.

To make this middle loop even nicer, we met up with Quatro around TREC, who had a giant bag of tea cookies! He was running a reverse “social loop” with Chelsea Smith and Dan Aghdam, and Quatro was like a roving aid station.

John Calabrese smashing some snacks! He takes his aid station snacking very seriously; this cranberry nut muffin didn’t stand a chance.

Loop 2 was filled with great discussion and snacks, and I needed all of these distractions, too, because I was feeling pretty rough. This was not just from running those 40 miles at Boyers. I never feel right at Prince William Forest, so this loop was good. Loop 2 ended up being pretty nice! Yay! PWFP isn’t all bad.

On To Loop 3

It started snowing lightly during the final loop, and this made me happy, because we never really seem to get snow here.

By this loop, Charlie and I had exhausted most of our sports talk, so the conversation now drifted to murderers, weirdos, and Hollywood. The gateway into this was chatting about OJ Simpson. Charlie has actually been in the same room with him! We talked about OJ’s scary charisma, and how there’s only a few people in this world that can light up a room like him. I kind of regret not talking about Bobby Fisher as a follow up. [Editor’s Note: I am not sure which Bobby Fisher or Bobby Fischer John harbors these regrets over, so choose your own favorite here!] But we talked about Armie Hammer, David Fincher movies, which then drifted into popular conspiracy theories that I will not share on this race report because I don’t want to get on any watch lists. [Editor’s Note: Too late for that!! 😁]

The last 3 miles of the 50k we tapped into great movie performances to bring it in in style. Al Pacino in the Michael Mann movie Heat. If you have not seen this, or it’s been a while, do yourself a favor and watch. He’s so far over the top it’s amazing. We just did impressions, and were able to bring it in to the end.

John celebrating his finish with RD Dave and his newly won swag - the 2024 VHTRC coaster!


A lot of other runners came in with us. We joked around for a bit, but then I had to leave to get to Denise. I wish I could have stayed longer, but I had been out there all day, so I felt bad and really wanted to get home.

Thank you!

Thank you to RD Dave and his other volunteers, the runners, and everyone else crazy enough to show up to run on New Year’s Day! Thank you to everyone I ran with and had great conversations with. Charlie, I think we should make a podcast, if you read this, hit me up man. If we can kill all these hours on ultras, I’m sure we can crank out at least 100 episodes!


Last updated January 6, 2024