Bellingham woman pursues lifetime milestone in Ski to Sea

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 23, 2014 

Ski to Sea: Carey Jones

While Carey Jones is nearing her goal of competing in each of the seven legs of the Ski to Sea Race by competing in the mountain biking leg this year, she's just beginning a quest to run a half marathon in every state.

MATT MCDONALD — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

Carey Jones doesn't claim to be a world-class athlete pursuing gaudy physical endeavors.

It's more determination than any other possible trait, leading her to construct goals that would make the more common person laugh before realizing that no, she isn't kidding.

And with this year's Ski to Sea competition nearing on Sunday, May 25, the 41-year-old will be checking off another leg - the cross-country bike portion this year - eventually leading to her goal of doing all seven legs of the race.

"I'm just a driven person," Jones said in a phone interview. "I've always enjoyed pushing my personal best. I'm just not afraid to go out there and do my best, and compete against anybody else."

Having already done four of the seven legs, Jones has just the cross-country biking, downhill skiing/snowboarding and road biking portions to complete.

Ski to Sea is a physically demanding race, but it was an even-greater challenge three years ago when Jones suffered a motorcycle accident that forced her to pull out of the cross-country biking leg she was signed up to ride. In haste, one of her teammates on the US Bank-sponsored team switched with her, allowing her to fulfill the running leg despite the jarring pain in her arm.

It was also by coincidence that prior to that year's Ski to Sea, she was preparing to run a half marathon. The downhill geography of the course, though, still presented problems for her and her injured arm.

"The running is pretty intense - falling into your step," she said. "I held my arm close to my body so it wouldn't feel so much shock."

The running leg, which so far has proven to be her favorite leg of the four she has done, also prefaced a growing aspiration of hers that is far more difficult than completing the Ski to Sea version of hitting for the cycle.

Jones has set out to complete half marathons in every state. She's already crossed 10 states off her list and will head to Colorado this year for No. 11. And of all things to spark Jones' desire to do so, it was an elderly woman she crossed paths with in her first half marathon that was closing on doing the same thing.

Of course her love and passion for running, too, has proved a valuable motivator while taking on such an endeavor.

"It's just hard to explain. It's such an experience after running 13 miles and crossing that finish line," she said. "People are just encouraging you, and I don't know, it's pretty special. After my first one, that's it, I'm addicted."

But before that, she will gladly mark off another leg in her quest for Ski to Sea prestige.

Reach Alex Bigelow at 360-715-2238 or alex.bigelow@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-715-2238. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for other Whatcom County sports updates.

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