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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Safety First! Road ID Sidekick Product Review



"Disclaimer: I received a Road ID Sidekick to review 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!"


Feels like it's been awhile, but I'm finally feeling like a runner again after about two months of little to no mileage. This past weekend’s runs made up my longest distance weekend since injuring my leg. Saturday and Sunday, May 30th and 31st, I ran two consecutive days covering 8.5 and 5.3 miles respectively. For most ultrarunners this is nothing to make note of and certainly doesn’t necessitate any kind of post on social media. For me, it is a low mileage weekend compared to what I consider a normal weekend, but under my current circumstances I was pumped to make it through two consecutive days of running with increased mileage and without any pain in my left calf. These were my first back to back runs that felt like training and not recovery since getting injured on March 30th!


The injury took me out suddenly a little over two miles from home. I was running along feeling good when my calf started to ache a bit. I thought I’d run through it, but it only got worse until the pain was so bad that I couldn’t run on it anymore. I’m not superhuman and I don’t like pain, but I like to think I can deal with it pretty well. Anyone who runs 100 milers has to have a healthy tolerance for pain and discomfort. This pain was different though; it wasn’t induced by exhaustion and was far more debilitating than anything I had experienced during an ultra. I could not physically run on that leg. As I hobbled the two miles home I thought I should call my wife to get picked up and avoid any further damage I may cause by limping two miles home on my messed up leg. I didn’t have my phone so I considered trying to borrow someone’s phone to make the call. Unfortunately, even if I had found someone willing to help out, I don’t know my wife’s phone number. I could have tried calling my phone in hopes she would answer it, but I thought the chances were slim so I just hoofed it home in typical IPOS fashion. Thankfully, I’ll never be in that situation again as I now have my wife’s number on my Road ID Sidekick attached to my Suunto which is on my wrist every time I run. I hope that I will never have a need to use my emergency contact number while out on a run again, but having it on my wrist every time I go out for a run gives me an added bit of comfort.


Having my wife’s number on me at all times while running wasn’t the reason I decided to get a Road ID. The main reason was for worst case scenario situations like getting injured and becoming unconscious while trail running or getting hit by a car while road running. This added safety feature that never even crossed my mind until I needed it made me such a believer in the benefits or Road IDs that I decided to order one for my kids. I think they’ll love the tye dye design I ordered and they’ll always have our phone numbers on them in case of emergency.


What else is there to love about the Road ID Sidekick? After my short time of being a Road ID Sidekick user, here’s my short list:
  • The Sidekick fits Suunto. When I ordered my sidekick I was a little nervous because I only saw it advertised as fitting Garmin GPS watch bands on the Road ID website. I figured a watch band is a watch band and it would most likely fit. Thankfully it did without any problem.
  • The Sidekick fits comfortably on my watch band and is always on there so I don’t have to even think about another item to grab before going for a run.
  • I loved the freedom of personalization allowed for the engraving of the face plate. There are plenty of lines and characters allowed. I even had an extra line after all of my essential info so I added one of my favorite running quotes: “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” - Haruki Murakami - What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir
  • Every face plate comes with a lifetime guarantee on engraving which is comforting as I plan on taking my Sidekick on some rugged adventures. I can’t be certain, but I expect my Sidekick will outlast my watch.
If you’re still on the fence as to whether a Road ID is right for you after my short list, here are Road ID’s top  10 reasons you should wear ID:
  1. If you can't speak for yourself, ROAD ID will speak for you.
  2. ROAD ID enables First Responders to immediately contact family members and friends.
  3. ROAD ID enables family members to provide additional details about your health or give consent for potentially life saving procedures.
  4. ROAD ID enables hospital staff to locate vital medical records.
  5. ROAD ID can communicate medical conditions or allergy information to medical staff.
  6. ROAD ID can prevent serious delays in treatment by saving crucial time during the "golden hour" of medical treatment.
  7. It's far better to have Road ID and not need it than to need ROAD iD and not have it. It's not just a piece of gear, it's peace of mind.
  8. Accidents happen far more than you think they do. Each year approximately 450,000 of us are taken to hospitals unconscious and without identification.
  9. ROAD ID looks good on and makes a statement about your athletic lifestyle – not to mention that studies would probably prove that people that wear Road ID are considerably smarter than those that don't.
  10. ROAD ID can save your Life. Period.
If you decide to pick up a Road ID, be sure to use discount code "SAVE25BRP" for 25% off any ID!


Saturday, May 16, 2020

High Desert Drop Bag Gear Review - Ditty Drop Bag


I received a High Desert Drop Bag (Ditty Drop Bag) as a part of a swag package included with my entry to the inaugural Mines of Spain 100 mile trail race in October 2017. Since then it has become my “go to” and favorite drop bag I’ve used at any ultramarathon. It’s durable, keeps my gear dry, and cleans up easily after a day of getting tossed around and thrown in the dirt.

Some Quick Stats:
  • Front Identification Panel
  • Water resistant 400 denier nylon packcloth
  • #8 nylon coil zipper for easy access as well as security
  • 1/2" nylon webbing carry loop
  • Available in four easy-to-see colors
  • List price: $22.00 Plus shipping
  • Weight: 3.7 oz
  • Dimensions: 13.75 in × 16.75 in × 1 in

The Ditty Drop Bag is the smallest size drop bag offered by High Desert Drop Bags (Bishop, CA). They offer two larger size drop bags: The Dirt Bag (18.5 in x 19.5 in, 21 liters) and The Ultra (28.25 in x 19.5 in, 39 liters). Even though it is the smallest drop bag they offer, I have found the Ditty Drop Bag has plenty of room for everything I have wanted waiting for me at an aid station. I most recently used it at the Blackwell aid station (mile 80) of the 2019 Eastern States 100. For that race I easily fit all of the following in my Ditty Drop Bag.

In addition to the Ditty Drop Bag’s tolerance for rough handling without showing any signs of wear after a couple years of use, the other feature that stands out to me about this drop bag is the identification panel. It’s an aspect of the bag that may seem like a big fat nothing burger. At first take that was my thought about it as well. After using it a few times though, I realized how handy it was and how much more convenient and dependable it was than my previous methods of labeling my drop bags. In the past, I had attached some type of paper tag with all of my pertinent information to my makeshift drop bag with safety pins. To waterproof my homemade tag, I would seal it in box tape. This worked fine, but was a bit cumbersome and I always worried about the tag getting caught on something and ripped off or being made unreadable from rain seeping through my waterproofing. My other drop bag method was to just use a large Ziploc bag. This was super easy and completely waterproof, but I always worried about the bag tearing and losing some of my goods. The High Desert Drop Bag identification panel resolves all of these concerns. Now I just slap some duct tape on the panel and write my info on with a sharpie. Quick, easy, and no worries!

For me, High Desert Drop Bags have set the standard for other drop bags. No other bag I’ve used has worked as well or as conveniently as a drop bag than the Ditty Drop Bag. If you’re frustrated or even just kinda irked about a few issues your drop bag has caused you, I would recommend at least looking at what High Desert Drop Bags has to offer.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Testing Nabee Compression Socks for Running...Errrr Recovery



"Disclaimer: I received Nabee compression knee high socks (15-20 MMHG) to review 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!"

Use Discount code “BIBRAVE20” for 20% off all socks (one time use)


I need to preface this product review by saying up front that the trial as a whole did not go as I had hoped. The reason is in no way a result of the quality or performance of the Nabee compression socks I received to test out, but entirely due to the quality and performance of the muscles in my left calf. Midway through the testing period (which was going swimmingly up to that point) I was forced to take an unwelcome hiatus from running due to a (self diagnosed) muscle strain in my left calf. As a result, my “test runs” with Nabee compression socks went from literal test runs to figurative “test runs” using Nabee compression socks as a means of recovery. 

My common recovery view.
Even though it was only about a month ago, it feels like a different world today compared to when I first opened the package that contained my Nabee compression socks. Let’s take a trip back to that world. The most notable feature that jumped out to me the first time I tried them on was how easily they slipped on compared to other compression socks I’ve used. Likewise, they have also been far easier to take off. It may not sound like a huge issue, but I’ve worn other compression socks that felt like I was fighting the tidal forces of a black hole to pull them on. Nabee compression socks slipped on with almost no effort. This is an even bigger factor in ultrarunning events long enough to make it beneficial to have a sock and shoe change. It’s hard to describe how frustrating it is to struggle through a compression sock change after 40-60 miles of running when you’re already completely exhausted. Yet there you are, expending energy and straining to pull those knee high socks over swollen calves in hopes of feeling rejuvenated. Yes, it usually helps, but at a cost. The ease with which Nabee compression socks slip on and are removed gets you the benefits of the sock change without the cost of the struggle.

Still in place after 21 miles of running. 
All of my runs wearing Nabee compression socks up until my injury were great! They were comfortable on my feet and allowed my toes to spread which I particularly look for in a sock. I can’t stand when a sock makes my toes feel like they are being forced to scrunch up together. The seamless toe of the sock made for extra comfort and zero blistering. The top cuff of the sock didn’t cause any irritation during my runs and always stayed in place without any readjustments. The longest test run I wore my Nabee compression socks for was my 21 mile birthday run (no, that’s not the run that I got injured during). They performed great and still not a single blister without any other preventative measures taken. The breathability of the fabric of the socks was especially appreciated during that long run. It was one of the warmer days of early spring, but having the extra coverage on my lower legs didn’t bother them or make them feel overheated at all.

After my 21 mile birthday one (preinjury).
I was loving the feel of my Nabee compression socks on my runs. Then during one fateful run I was sent on an unexpected detour. I wasn’t wearing my Nabee socks during this fateful run. It started off feeling fine. I found a one dollar bill on the ground about a half mile after leaving the house at which point I thought to myself “this is going to be a great run!” I was planning to hit some streets to add to my “Run Every Street” project. My legs felt a little sore to start but they started feeling good after about a mile. Then pretty suddenly I had a pain creep up on the back of my left calf. I figured it would just go away so I kept running. But it didn’t go away. It got worse. I walked a bit thinking it was just a cramp that needed to work itself out then I could run the rest of the way home. Unfortunately every time I tried to start running again the pain only got worse. I ended up hobbling about two miles home hoping that after a night of rest it would feel better.

Graph of my pace during the run that I incurred the injury during.
The next morning as I limped out of bed, I realized I was going to have a longer recovery period than one night. On a positive note, I had my Nabee compression socks to provide the “C” for my RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). As I write this review it’s been about two weeks since my injury. I haven’t gotten back to running yet for fear of reaggravating the injury, but I am able to walk without a limp again and pain free so that’s an improvement. The comfort of the Nabee compression socks has been very much appreciated as they provide compression to help with my recovery. My only regret is that I got the super plain, boring black/grey design rather than one of the many festive designs that Nabee offers to improve my spirits while I’m not running. 




Scott Snell
April 12, 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hope During Dark, Uncertain Days




“Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
- Stephen King - The Shawshank Redemption


Over just the past few weeks the situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has escalated from “just a hoax” to a global pandemic. As a result of policies dictated by governments worldwide, group gatherings and in person social interactions have been restricted to various degrees in an effort to slow the spread of the disease and avoid inundating health care institutions with a flood of patients requiring critical care beyond their capacities. The terms “flatten the curve” and “social distance” have become everyday common language.

With restricted group gatherings came race cancellations and indefinite postponements. It began with large marathons, smaller shorter distance races next, and finally trail races followed suit. It may seem a bit shallow to be concerned with race postponements and cancellations when people are dying due to a global pandemic, but running is more than just a hobby to many runners. The majority of their social relations may revolve around meeting up for group runs. Running may be an important part of their daily routine that motivates them for the start of the day or relaxes them at the end of the day. It can be the primary activity that keeps them focused, happy, or realigns them mentally. It can be a way of life. For me it’s a bit of all of those things.


So what is a runner who thrives on the camaraderie of group runs and the competition of races to do during these dark, uncertain days when all or a portion of one of their coping mechanisms may no longer be available to them. My best advice: maintain hope that this is temporary and all the aspects of running that we are currently missing will return. In the meantime while we wait out this indefinite period of social distancing, we can make the best of a challenging time and use the tools available to us to fill in some of the missing pieces. What options am I suggesting to replace racing and group runs? My short list includes virtual races, virtual group runs (Zwift), fastest known time (FKT) attempts, Strava king of the mountain (KOM) attempts, or your own personal run every street project.
 

I ran my first virtual race earlier this year, the 465 Challenge. It was basically an online challenge to finish as many 53 mile loops as you could running, biking, walking, hiking, or using any other self propelled means of travel during a two month period. I wasn’t a strong proponent of virtual races prior to running the 465 Challenge, but it did help get me motivated to pick up my training so I would be ready for my biggest running goal of 2020: to PR my longest distance run at my first 24 hour race. Unfortunately, I just received notice last week that the 24 hour race I intended to achieve this goal at was canceled to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The race was scheduled for the end of April so it didn’t come as a surprise; I was basically just waiting for the announcement to be made. Actually receiving the announcement and reading it was still a bit depressing.

In my opinion, virtual races can’t replace actual, in person races. But maybe they’re better than no races. I’ve almost decided to register for a virtual race happening next weekend, the Quarantine Backyard Ultra (QBU). The format of the QBU follows the standard last person standing rules, but will use a Zoom meeting to let participants interact between laps. I think this race has the potential to be a lot of fun and to allow me to run a distance PR thereby achieving my top 2020 running goal. I just never imagined I would run my longest ever run while competing against other runners in a Zoom meeting.


Of my other suggestions, another I am making use of is progressing my project to run every street of Egg Harbor Township. I personally have found this to be a fun, long term goal to work towards. For me it adds a little spice to what may have been otherwise just a routine solo run. It may take a little extra planning at times or force you to slow your pace, but it is a project that will likely take you to places that you had never and may have never discovered otherwise. It also allows you to track your progress towards a goal. For those benefits, it is a project that I have found rewarding and am thankful I began.

So if race cancellations/postponements and a lack of group runs have got you down when you you’re already stressed, nervous, and/or sad from all of the other repercussions due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, I encourage you to try to find some solace in some of the offered suggestions. Keep your chin up and continue forward progress as we navigate this storm. And please, never lose hope.


Scott Snell
March 28, 2020


Thursday, February 27, 2020

What I hope to accomplish at my first 24 hour race and how a virtual challenge helped jump start my training for it




"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!"


Having run races slightly over 100 miles in distance and lasting over 30 hours, the time and distance that I want cover at my first 24 hour race do not worry me. My lowest tier goal (to run further than 105 miles) is definitely achievable for me given my past performances. My main concern is where my fitness level is at this point. After Eastern States 100 last August, I didn’t do a lot of running. In fact, I took much of November and December off, running only 102 and 48 miles respectively. I can’t exactly explain what happened leading up to Eastern States and shortly after. Maybe I was a bit burnt out on running altogether after a summer of training and more racing than I had done any previous year. Maybe it was more mental exhaustion from the summer long cycle of training to racing to training to racing over and over. Maybe I was putting too much pressure on myself to perform at a certain level at every race I ran. Maybe it was just that running wasn’t cheering me up like it used to. Whatever it was, it affected my relationship with running and just over the last two months I am beginning to feel like I’m getting back to a healthy place and a happy relationship with running.


I needed to feel good and be happy about running again if I wanted to have any chance of reaching my goals at my first 24 hour race. The motivation to run had eluded me longer and more successfully than it ever had since I had taken up running. I credit at least part of my renewed motivation to the 465 Challenge. This virtual challenge began on New Year’s Day of 2020, which is the point that I decided I needed to get my lethargic arse back into gear if I was going to be ready for the 24 hour race I had picked to run. The 465 Challenge lasted two months with the goal being to accumulate at least 53 miles in any form of self powered movement. The 53 mile challenge wouldn’t be enough to get me prepared, but the virtual event also offered incentives to do additional miles through their looper challenge. For the looper challenge every participant tracked how many 53 mile loops they could complete during the challenge. As I write this,I am currently at 300 miles or a little over 5.5 loops. Honestly, I do not know if I would have dove into my training with such commitment if it weren’t for the virtual challenge. The support and encouragement from other participants has been great for the last two months and I will miss it as I continue to train for the next month leading up the the 24 hour race.

What do I want from this 24 hour race? Obviously to reach my bottom tier goal of a distance personal record (greater than 105 miles). But there is more that I hope to have achieved when the 24 hours have passed after the start of the race. I want to be happy about my run. I want to feel proud of what I did. I want to be excited about the other races I plan to run this year. I want to put all of the negative thoughts and feelings I had towards the end of last summer behind me and I hope that running will be a tool to help me achieve that.



Scott Snell
February 27, 2020

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


Other "Every Single Street" blog posts:
The beginning
Week 1


Twitter: https://twitter.com/beastcoasttrail
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/runscottrun/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beastcoasttrailrunning/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/snellscott

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!