CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Florida Prisoner #089956 Given NYC Marathon #49997 to Run the NYC Marathon Behind Bars

From "In a recent letter to the director of the New York City Marathon, Jim Deupree asked to run the 26.2-mile race on Sunday. His would be an unlikely entry. He is incarcerated at a state prison here among the cotton and peanut farms of the Florida Panhandle, midway through a 30-year sentence for armed robbery.

"I am a fairly decent 69-year-old long-distance runner and commercial printing salesman from Indiana presently 'retired' here in Florida," Deupree wrote with dark humor.

He proposed to run, not through New York's five boroughs with 37,000 other entrants, but in the razor-wire isolation of the prison yard of the Jackson Correctional Institute. He would circle a dirt track, one that measures about two and a quarter laps to the mile, until he completed the marathon in about 60 laps. He said he had trained 50 miles a week and hoped to complete the race in four hours.

His aim, Deupree said, would be to raise money for cancer research in memory of George Sheehan, the running guru and author who died of prostate cancer in 1993. Sheehan had written encouraging notes and sent him running shoes, Deupree said.

He had run about 200 of these proxy races of various distances over the past 10 years, Deupree wrote in September to Mary Wittenberg, director of the New York City Marathon and chief executive of the New York Road Runners, the club that organizes the race.

The club eagerly granted Deupree a race number, 49997, and asked that he report his finishing time. "Keep on running!" Robert L. Laufer, a lawyer for the Road Runners, wrote." Story... [Mark Godsey]

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