LUMBERTON — Four times a week, Lumberton police Officer Joe Frederick laces up his shoes and goes for a run.
The runs, which range from nine to 16 miles, usually start near the Pine Terrace Fire Department along Alamac Road and finish several hours later, sometimes near Exit 25 on Interstate 95, other times near Union Chapel Road outside of Lumberton city limits.
Frederick admits it’s not always the most exciting surroundings, but in the back of his mind, he’s got the big city.
In just over two months, he will head back where he grew up to run in the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon.
“It’s kind of boring with just the iPod on, but New York I’m pretty sure is going to be pretty (cool) with the people cheering and people in front of me,” said Frederick, who has lived in Lumberton for 15 years. “Being by myself it sucks, but with a bunch of people in front of me or behind me, it’s going to be a bit more exciting.”
The Nov. 2 race will be the 42-year-old’s first marathon and his first time running in an organized race since he was in high school. He’s got multiple motivations for doing the race, which he’s had his eye on since he was in high school.
Frederick’s primary focus is raising money for three different charities, with an ultimate goal of raising $6,000 to split between the American Cancer Society, the local Empty Stocking Fund, and Team For Kids, which raises money for New York Road Runners Youth Programs.
He’s also doing the race in memory a friend, the late Jimmy Locklear, who he said passed away from cancer earlier this year.
“I’ve never run 26 miles before,” Frederick said. “I’ve run 18 but I just want to give it a try. I figure helping out with Team For Kids and the cancer society, it was a good cause to run for.”
Of the money he raises, the first $2,620 will go to Team For Kids, with any remaining funds split between the other two charities. The main funding website for him is at GoFundme.com/7g7kjg. He’s also had raffles, including a 50-50 raffle that will take place next month, to help raise nearly $3,000.
“I don’t expect much,” Frederick said. “Just two or five dollars. Every little bit helps.”
The causes show in his attire. Since he has no prior marathon experience, he’s entered in the race under the Team For Kids banner and frequently wears his neon green tanktop from the organization, which includes his name on it. Underneath that, he dons a white t-shirt with Locklear’s photo on it.
He started training on March 17, several weeks after his friend’s passing.
“I said ‘You know what, I’m going to dedicate the run in his name,’” Frederick said. “That’s when I started to preparing for the marathon.”
He began by building endurance, walking for 30 minutes at a time, building up to 40 and eventually moving into two and three mile runs. Within four months he had built up to 18 miles.
His schedule includes four runs each week, starting with stretches at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday and Thursdays are the longest runs and Saturday is when he slows down to a conversational pace.
It’s a pain in the knees, but Frederick said after a while the hurt wears off.
“After the seventh mile, they start hurting but after 30 or 45 more minutes, they stop hurting,” he said.
Frederick’s competitive running experience is limited to his high school career, when he ran track and cross country regularly. He’s otherwise kept in shape through both the Army, his regular police work, and casual jogging.
With runs that span multiple hours and a demanding job, it makes for a delicate balance of work and workouts.
“It’s hard with the schedule I work but even when I’m on night shift, I’ll go run at the high school for about 30 minutes,” Frederick said.
He’s lost 30 pounds in the training process and admits that there is the temptation to skip a run once in a while. He can only count twice where he gave in.
“You just say you’ve got to do it. If I don’t prepare, just think of the pain I’m going to be in after I do the race,” he said. “This way, my legs and my body will be ready for it, otherwise I’ll be hurting.”
Team for Kids and the New York Road Runners have helped him with both a nutrition guide and a weekly running schedule that he follows in preparation, though he’s already gone further than they’ve advised at this point. He’s nearing his 20 mile run and will run a full marathon at least once before he goes to New York.
“I know I can do 18, so that’s just 8 more miles. I know I can do it,” he said.