Scott Air Force Base News

Retired Marine goes the distance with ultra marathon competitors

Sean Kerr, Military Sealift Command director, is a retired Marine and ultra-marathoner. He also serves as a guide for individuals such as 1st Lt. Lauryn Thomas, former 375th Air Mobility Wing executive.
Sean Kerr, Military Sealift Command director, is a retired Marine and ultra-marathoner. He also serves as a guide for individuals such as 1st Lt. Lauryn Thomas, former 375th Air Mobility Wing executive.

Serving in the Marine Corps requires a significant amount of discipline and commitment. Abiding by lawful orders without hesitation is expected. Conditioning one’s mind and body is fundamental.

A sharp mind and fit body enable Marines to be successful on the battlefield and in garrison. Sean Kerr is all too familiar with these requirements.

I enjoy the solitude in training (nobody wants to run for five hours at 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning), the camaraderie on the running trails, as well as the mental and physical challenges. You quickly realize your human limitations after running 20+ hours straight.

Sean Kerr, Military Sealift Command director and ultra-marathoner

During his Marine Corps career, Kerr was a logistics officer and retired in 2010 as a Lt. Col. after 21 years of service. He then joined the Military Sealift Command as director of the Navy Transportation Support Center detachment at United States Transportation Command, which provides direct, on-site sealift support to the command. But rather than “drop his pack” towards the end of his career, Kerr picked up the pace.

At the age of 40, Kerr ran his first marathon.

After a few marathons, he started running farther and longer in a natural progression. He ran his first ultra-marathon in 2009 at Gambrill State Park, Maryland. The distance: 32 miles.

“I enjoy the solitude in training (nobody wants to run for five hours at 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning), the camaraderie on the running trails, as well as the mental and physical challenges,” said Kerr. “You quickly realize your human limitations after running 20+ hours straight.”

Ultimately, Kerr believes “rising above those limitations brings a sense of accomplishment.”

Kerr considers his greatest accomplishment finishing the 2017 Georgia Death Race in 21 hours.

To date, Kerr has completed more than 10 ultra-marathons, including three 100-milers and an attempted 200-miler which he was unable to complete because he injured his knee at the 112-mile mark.

In total, Kerr has finished three 50 KM races, three 50-milers, one 60 KM race, one 68-miler, one 100 KM race and three 100-milers. He is currently training for the Mohican 100-mile Trail Run in Mohican State Park, Ohio, this June.

Kerr considers his greatest accomplishment finishing the 2017 Georgia Death Race in 21 hours.

“It’s a 68-ish mile point-to-point run in the North Georgia Mountains with over 40,000 feet of elevation change,” Kerr said.

He said another great experience was competing in the Bigfoot 200 Endurance Run in August 2017, which starts at Mount St. Helens in the Cascade mountain range and finishes in Randle, Washington.

The race is 206 miles long and has over 42,000 feet of ascent and more than 86,000 feet of elevation change. Unfortunately, he had to stop at the 112-mile mark due to the previously mentioned knee injury; it was his first and only incomplete finish.

I plan on running ultra-marathons until my doctor tells me to stop or until I get to a point where I physically can’t put one foot in front of the other.

Sean Kerr, Military Sealift Command director and ultra-marathoner

“Despite the disappointment, it was an incredible experience running around the lava fields of Mount St. Helens (which erupted in 1980) and along mountaintop ridge lines with amazing forest, mountain and lake views,” said Kerr.

When asked if he planned on slowing down anytime soon, Kerr said, “I plan on running ultra-marathons until my doctor tells me to stop or until I get to a point where I physically can’t put one foot in front of the other.”

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