This year’s Rock/Creek StumpJump 50K marks the beginning of the RiverRocks celebration, a multi-day event that brings world-class and amateur athletes to the Scenic City to compete in a multitude of events, celebrate Chattanooga’s outdoors lifestyle, and enjoy live music and fun festivities.
Chattanooga runner, Kevin Boucher, will be competing in the city’s new Ironman at the end of September, but this isn't stopping him from entering the StumpJump 50K less than a week later. Not only is he planning to run, but judging from his past performances (he has the 7th fastest time at StumpJump), he'll presumably be at the front of the pack. Ask him whether or not he'll be trying to win, and you're unlikely to get a clear answer.
In fact, getting any factual information about Kevin is quite difficult. If you're querying his friends and acquaintances, they typically smile or chuckle and then offer up adjectives like: funny, dry sense of humor, amazing athlete, hardworker (his boss didn’t say this), funny, kind, strong, and funny. Since he grew his beard a few years ago and has repeatedly grown out his hair, an additional adjective is hairy. In fact, Kevin claims to be a poster child in the making for Hair Club of America, who he plans to approach about a sponsorship: “At my best this season, I was the 9th hairiest person in North America,” he offers. “This should count for something.”
In the meantime, Kevin races for Rock/Creek and his bio on their site will tell you that he was born in the late 70’s, ran cross-country at an ivy-league caliber university in the southeast, grew a beard, mastered the art of consuming near toxic quantities of coffee on a daily basis, started racing triathlons to overcome a fear of spandex, and trimmed the beard into a mustache. His occupation is listed as: still not a fighter pilot.
If pressed for more information, Kevin will admit that he originally wanted to be a tiger when he grew up. “This could explain why I have found life to generally be a major disappointment,” he adds before offering a glimpse into his high school athletic prowess: “I was a strapping 6 feet 130 lbs. and produced an error message on the electronic body fat analyzer at the school health fair…so my parents suggested I check out the cross country and track team and strongly consider doubling up on all meals and why not throw in a few meal replacement shakes as well.”
Much can be made, and is made, of Kevin’s hairiness. At a costume run at his Crossfit gym, one of the owners, a remarkably hairless David Yann, dressed up as Kevin, sporting a huge fake beard, and random patches of hair affixed to his person. Bystanders claim it was difficult to tell the two apart.
Kevin’s Crossfit involvement underscores another aspect of his character: his unbelievable fitness and irreverent style. Matt Sims , Rock/Creek Race Team captain, StumpJump founder, and accomplished multi-sport athlete offers up the following insights: “When I met Kevin 10+ years ago, he was a fanatic runner and triathlete and very disciplined with his training. Somewhere down the 10 year road, he traded his regimented schedule and 115 pound body in for 115 pounds worth of hair and an extra 60 pounds of muscle. He started showing up at races and killing everyone while wearing cotton cargo shorts and cotton tees. The most classic Boucher memory is when he started StumpJump 50k a solid 10 minutes late and finished in the top 10 (again wearing cargo pants) after carrying a plastic Dasani Water bottle to hydrate.”
Stephen Smith, a running and Crossfit friend of Kevin’s, was one of the people Kevin passed on his way to a 7th place win. What impressed him was that Kevin was unphased by his late start and having to catch up: “He went on to beat me by like 45 minutes. He's always one of the best runners in the field, but not always concerned with winning or even trying to win. He seems to just go out and have fun without making sure everyone around him knows why he didn't do as well as they thought he should.”
Kevin has run the StumpJump 50K six times, with respectable finishes each time (2nd being his best and 15th his worst). Who knows if Kevin will wear cotton cargo shorts in the Chattanooga Ironman, or if he'll carry his Dasani water bottle at StumpJump. But one thing's for sure: he’ll thoroughly enjoy both events.
Kevin is a triathlete at heart but he probably won’t tell you this. Nor will he admit to having a strong work ethic, a great deal of toughness, and a huge dose of talent. Yet the qualities are evident in Matt Sims’s story about a 6 man relay race from Ft. Collins to Steamboat a few years ago where the runners traveled around in a van which Kevin named “the stank tank.” Matt says the majority of the runners would get into the van after each running leg and stretch and complain and talk about how bad they hurt, but Kevin never stretched, never complained of tight or sore muscles. He was always ready to run, “whether that was 3am or high noon,” and he would step out of the van and start ticking off 6 minute miles. “It was then I realized that he was completely unaware of his talent,” Matt says, “and that it is unique and unmatched.”
Clearly 'humble' can also be added to the list of adjectives for Kevin.