Upper Peninsula Road Runners Club Hall of Fame
Fred Jacobs, Iron River
Inducted into the UPRRC Hall of Fame in 2018 as the 43rd member.
Fred Jacobs is known to most Upper Peninsula runners as “Fast Freddy”. He has been a member of the UPRRC since 1986 and served as President of the club from 2008 to 2010. In addition, he was the UPRRC Male Runner of the Year in 2008. One race that you can expect to seen Fast Freddy at is Run Your Bass Off in Crystal Falls, in which he always runs with a fish hat and carries a creel and fishing pole which led to his caricature being on the race T-shirt in 2008.
Fred was a math teacher at West Iron County Schools for 20 years and the cross country coach for seven years, running vicariously through the legs of his athletes as their training improved his training and he continued pumping out 3 or 4 marathons a season. Fred’s allegiance to the University of Michigan was demonstrated when he had hit a deer with his PT Cruiser. After the repairs were completed, he had the car painted in the maize and blue to resemble the Wolverines football helmet. All of his family went to Michigan and he continues to follow the teams in all of the sports. While at U of M, one of his favorite running routes was through “the Arb”, which was the beautiful arboretum on campus. One 10K race there was started by the legendary coach Bo Schembechler holding a sawed off shotgun provided by the race sponsor Washtenaw Sheriff Dept.
With 35 years of running behind him, Fred shared that it wasn’t so much the miles, but the memories, both highs and lows. One of the lowest points was in 1989, when Dave Lori (UPRRC President 1988) died in his arms while they were administering CPR to him on the high school track in Munising at the Pictured Rocks Road Race. One of his better memories was finishing with a PR at the Fox Cities Marathon in the 1998 with a 2:47 which remains his lifetime best.. Two years later at the Fox Cities Marathon, he was the second master’s finisher and at the Apple Valley Motel, site of the awards ceremony, he met and chatted with John Elway (Denver Broncos) and got his autograph which was a bigger thrill than the $75 prize money from the race. Some of his mentors over the years included Bud Velin, Bill Sved, Dean Juntunen, and Jim Engel who made an impact on his running for various reasons.
“My favorite race has to be the Paavo,” Fred relates, “not because of the heat, humidity, or Hwy 51, just the barricades you have to conquer throughout the race. I do love the Mojakka at the end of the race and bring a container as Bill will attest. As for favorite distance? Currently it's the half marathon because of my older legs and the growing popularity of it, but when I was younger I loved the 10k's and my PR of 35 something in Escanaba would be a testament.”
Fred is now retired from teaching, however, he keeps busy maintaining a 60 acre farm by himself at the age of 60 and he still does a few marathons each year. His philosophy is “still get out everyday for at least an hour everyday for some type of physical activity. Whether its running or cross country skiing, or snowshoeing, it's critical that I get out and get some fresh air. If my life comes to a point where it gets so busy that I can't even find an hour during the day to exercise, then it's time I take a look at my life and make some adjustments. Of course being single with no kids grants me this freedom. If I could give any advice to some of you out there debating running or racing: the hardest part is taking the first step out the door. All of us have run feeling lackadaisical or not "into it" but it's funny how by the time we finish 99% of the time we are going to feel better about ourselves than before we left. Running doesn't build character, it reveals it.”