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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Every Single Street - Week 17 - 24% Complete





I was sure I was going to hit the 25% mark with my most recent run. It was my first long run of the year and my first long run to build towards my goal of running every single street of Egg Harbor Township (EHT), NJ. It was the longest distance run I had done since beginning to work towards this goal. I planned to do about a 20 mile run. The plan was to do about an eight mile out and back route and hit a few dead end roads off of that main out and back road to reach my mileage goal. I guess the out and backs on the dead ends added a bit more distance than I expected because after finishing my run it ended up being about 22.7 miles total. I was at 23.46% of streets of EHT complete on CityStrides before this run. I was certain that with this being my longest run since I had begun using CityStrides I would gain more than the slightly more than 1.5% I needed to pass the 25% milestone. What I was not certain of is what exactly CityStrides defines as “percentage complete”. Is it the percent of streets completed or is it the percent of total miles of streets within the city completed? After this long run increasing my percentage complete by only 0.57% (for a total of 24.03%) and previous shorter runs showing greater and unexpected percentage gains, I am guessing the percentage complete refers to percentage of streets completed and does not reflect mileage. A little digging on the CityStrides community page confirmed my guess:


https://community.citystrides.com/t/is-percentage-complete-based-on-number-of-streets-or-distance/18293

Was I disappointed to find that I hadn’t hit that milestone I was so sure I had surpassed? Maybe a bit, but in the bigger picture of this goal it’s not really relevant. After all, the goal is to get 100%. And with this experience I learned a bit more about and have a better understanding of the tool (CityStrides.com) I’m using to accomplish my goal. In addition, I haven’t yet made this project a high priority on my running agenda. I’ve been making small bits of progress on it as it is convenient and while the weather is pleasant. I still expect I’ll start making much greater progress as I get into some heavier training and as the bulk of my training returns to the outdoors.


Scott Snell
February 19, 2020


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Sunday, January 26, 2020

465 Challenge - My First Virtual Event



"Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Challenge as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"

I think I first heard of “virtual” races roughly about three of four years ago, maybe sometime in 2016. As far as I know, they were a bit of a novel idea at the time and not by any means common. Since then, especially in the last year or so, it seems they are growing in number and becoming more common as stand alone events and offered more frequently as “virtual” options for existing and established “in-person” events.

I have to admit, when I first heard of “virtual” races, I wasn’t an immediate fan. Mainly because I didn’t see the need for them personally. I always thought “I’m motivated enough to get out and do my training runs for trail races so why should I register to run a virtual event?” I quickly came to realize that one could use the reverse reasoning of my argument and thereby show the need and value of virtual events for anyone that could use a bit more motivation to get out the door and get some miles. One of the benefits of being a BibRave Pro is that it offers the opportunity to try new products, or in this case races, that I likely would not have tried otherwise. I’ve never been critical of virtual events, but now that I am partaking in one I’m hoping I’ll learn more benefits they may offer beyond just the motivation factor.

The inaugural 465 Virtual Challenge asks participants to cover the distance of Interstate 465 (USS Indianapolis Memorial Highway) which encircles Indianapolis, Indiana covering a distance of approximately 53 miles. The event runs from January 1st through February 29th allowing ample time for athletes of all levels to complete it. The challenge isn’t strictly for runners. Any type of self propelled activity counts towards the 53 mile distance challenge. As the 465 Challenge website states, you can “run, bike, walk, swim, or skip” your way to the finish line.

And if you hit the 53 mile goal prior to the end of the two month event, don’t stop there. The event offers special recognition for any participants who complete multiple virtual loops around I-465! As of now (about one month into the event) I’m at just over two loops and hope to complete two more before the end of the event. 

Now that we’re nearing the halfway mark of the 465 Virtual Challenge, the biggest impression I have taken away from the event is the support and motivation that comes with the community organizing it and partaking in it. From the Facebook group interactions to the motivational emails, there are ample reminders and inspirational stories to keep me moving. And there’s still time to get in on the inaugural event this year! Register at https://www.465challenge.com/ and use code “BIBRAVE” for 10% off registration fees!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Top Five Beast Coast Performances of 2019




5:  Rich Riopel’s 24 Hour Performance to Make the 2019 U.S. National 24 Hour Team


Rich Riopel at the 2019 Dawn 2 Dusk 2 Dawn 24 hour. 


At the 2019 Dawn 2 Dusk 2 Dawn 24 hour Ultra in Sharon Hill, PA, Rich Riopel returned to the world of competitive timed racing with an impressive performance. He ran a steady and consistent race to finish with 161.8207 miles. This earned him a first place overall finish at the race and a spot on the 2019 U.S. National 24 Hour Team! It was also good enough to earn him the third best 24 hour performance of 2019. This move back to timed races came as a bit of a surprise as Rich had moved away from those races and had run mostly specific distance trail ultras since running with the 2017 U.S. National 24 Hour Team at the 24 Hour World Championship Race in Belfast, Ireland. 


I admit that I may be a bit biased for including this performance in my top 5 of 2019 as Rich is a fellow New Jerseyian, but having a Beast Coaster throw down one of the top 24 hour performances of the year and represent ultrarunners on a World stage is pretty impressive in my opinion. 


4:  Alondra Moody and Luke Bollshweiler For Their Smokies Challenge Adventure Run FKTs


Alondra Moody (Ultrasignup photo)
Luke Bollshweiler (Ultrasignup photo)

Last year Alondra Moody improved the unsupported FKT for the Smokies Challenge Adventure Run (SCAR) route from 23h11min to 20h11min. The previous FKT was held by Natalia Traver and set in December of 2018. Luke Bollschweiler bettered the male supported FKT from 14h50min22s to 14h28min33s. The previous record was held by David Worth and set in May of 2011. Their performances earned them both nominations for the Fastest Known Time of the Year Award (FKTOY). The SCAR is a route following the Appalachian Trail (AT) across the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Fontana Dam over 70 miles to Davenport Gap. Given the quick turnaround on the bettering of the FKT for the entirety of the AT in recent years (Scott Jurek - 2015, Karl Meltzer - 2016, Joe "Stringbean" McConaughy -2017, Karel Sabbe - 2018), I predict we’ll see faster FKTs for well established sections of the AT becoming the target more frequently. 


3:  New Male and Female Unsupported FKTs on the Long Trail

                 
                     Jeff Garmire (IG photo, report)


New England friends!!! I am so excited to return to the @greenmountainclub and kick off the 28th annual James P Taylor Outdoor Adventure Series with a talk about hiking the Long Trail this fall. I would love to see you there! Below are some details. 🀩🀸🏽‍♀️🧚‍♂️ • “Rugged Happiness: Setting the Unsupported Female Record on the Long Trail”
When: Friday, December 20th, 2019, 7 P.M. 
Where: GMC Visitor Center, Waterbury Center, VT • “This past fall Nika “Early Bird” Meyers returned to the Long Trail for the second time, however, this time she ended up setting the Unsupported Female Record by finishing the trail in 6 days, 11 hours, and 40 minutes. Through photos, videos, and stories, she will share moments from the journey of deep strength, unexpected fear, sleep-deprived silliness, abundant discomfort, and overwhelming happiness. The Long Trail is where her love for long-distance hiking started and she is excited to share her story with the community that has helped give her the confidence to dream big!” •

Admission is $5 for members and $8 for nonmembers; kids under 12 are free. Tickets are available at the door only. Proceeds support local sections and the GMC Education Program. •

Colorado friends, I’ll be giving a talk in Aspen on January 7th 😁. More details to come. .
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#longtrail #fastestknowntime #longtrail2019 #fallhiking 
#hikingadventures #triplecrownofhiking #thruhike #hikevt #pct2014 #cdt2016 #at2018 #appalachiantrail #longdistancehiking #storytelling #ultralightbackpacking #sheexplores #womenwhohike #optoutside #takemebackpacking #everyoneswilderness #vtraised #trailchat #hikingultralight #forceofnature #palantepacks #vermontsports #vermont #motivationmonday #mountainmonday
Nika "Early Bird" Meyers (photo from her trip report)






Vermont’s Long Trail saw a good deal of FKT action in 2019 with three unsupported records set. The Long Trail is a rugged 273 mile jaunt running from the Canadian border to the Massachusetts/Vermont state line. It has a long history of FKTs, with the earliest documented record I could find being set in 1978 by Dr. Warren Doyle (8 d13h25min). Nika “Early Bird” Meyers set the bar for the female record with a time of 6d11h40min. Although this is the first female unsupported FKT (there is a “self supported” record - Jennifer Pharr-Davis - 7d15h40m) for the Long Trail, it is not the FKT just for the sake of being the only known time. Meyers’ record is only about six hours shy of the male unsupported record which was set in 2010 and was just surpassed in 2019. That 2010 male unsupported record (6d17h25min) was surpassed twice in the past year, first by Josh Perry (6d9h48min45sec) then by Jeff Garmire (5d23h48min). For a record that stood for nine years to be
broken twice in under a month’s span, I believe is a sign of the rising popularity and interest in FKTs.

1.5: Big’s Backyard Has Its First Female Winner - Maggie Guterl

Maggie Guterl at Big's Backyard (photo from Tailwind blog)
There have been plenty of times in ultrarunning events where a female is the fastest runner in the race. I’m not sure if it has been researched, but I would venture to guess that it is even more likely for a female to get the overall win at last person standing events such as Big’s Backyard. What makes Maggie Guterl’s performance at Big’s this past year so amazing isn’t the 250 miles she covered in 60 hours. It’s the fact that Big’s is “THE” last person standing race. It has the highest qualifying standards (a selection from Laz) of all the last person standing races. You have to earn your spot at the starting line by proving yourself with past performances. Basically, it’s an international competition of the best of the best in this style of race. And Maggie proved she was the best one there this year.

1.5: Wesley Atkinson Wins the Pennsylvania Triple Crown Series of Mountain Running

Wesley Atkinson (left) at the Easter States 100 finish with Race Director David Walker (right) (photo from Eastern States website)
Let me start this final top Beast Coast performance with the explanation of the “1.5” and the lack of a first and second place performance. I could not place either Maggie or Wesley’s performances above or below the other. Both amazed me and I did not want to diminish either. Additionally, why can’t we have a male and female Beast Coast Performance of the Year? My blog, my list, my rules. Right? And with that, the male Beast Coast Performance of the Year: Wesley Atkinson’s two year journey to win the Pennsylvania Triple Crown of Mountain Running.

If you’ve been a reader of my blog, you know that I am especially fond of the PA Triple Crown Series. But that is not why I picked Wesley’s performance as male Beast Coast Performance of the Year. He spent both 2018 and 2019 chasing the Triple Crown and achieved that goal in stunning fashion in 2019 setting two course records along the way. It looked like he was well on his way to winning it in 2018 with first place finishes at Hyner 50k and Worlds End 100k, but due to circumstances beyond his control (the cancellation of the 2018 Eastern States 100) he would not even get a shot at finishing it that year. Wesley returned and started the 2019 series with a 10th place finish at Hyner. After that he dominated the series. He bettered the course record at Worlds End 100k from 11:37:52 (2016) to 10:50:38. This set some high expectations for everyone watching Eastern States 100 to see what he could do at that distance. Wesley did not disappoint. He finished first place and took over two hours off the course record from 20:30:36 (2016) to 18:23:47 to finish first place male finisher of the series!