View Full Version : Trail Running Group - Pennsylvania

Lemni Skate
01-09-2011, 07:37
I, even though pretty out of shape, find myself as the assistant coach of a high school cross country team. We are planning on taking some of the kids this summer to do a trail run/backpacking trip on the southern Pennsylvania section of trail.

We have a support truck. I'm thinking, wt most, we'll have five kids and three adults. We want to start at Pen-Mar park and head north. These kids are in excellent shape and probably run between 25 and 50 miles per week (10 - 13 mile long runs each week) and two of the adults can also (1 will be leading the way, one will be sweeper in the back.

I will be the "special double secret sweeper" as I'm sure I'll be the slowest in the group (though I plan to have run a 10 miler by then).

Typical day should be:
Wake up with very short hike to support truck to trade in backpack for water bladder.
Trail run (3 - 6 miles) to support truck to pick up real backpack again.
Backpack to camp (6 - 9 more miles).

These kids are in shape, but none have carried backpacks. Packs shouldn't be too heavy since we will never have to carry much food (meeting support truck twice a day). It's a good thing they don't have to carry heavy packs as I'm not sure any of them weigh more than 120 lbs.

It looks like we'll hit a few places with swimming and showers and things available.

I want this to be a great experience for the kids that will hopefully get some excitement going about our teams; I also want it to be a great experience for anyone who runs into this pack of 8 people. The kids are great and as long as I've taught them trail etiquette I can't see them bothering many people (we definitely won't be staying in shelters unless it's a real emergency).

I'm going to require any kid who plans to participates to do two days of trail maintenance with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club this spring.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Things not to miss? Things to look out for? Things to avoid?

01-09-2011, 10:50
First, let me say that my remarks are coming from the standpoint of someone who is NOT a trail-runner OR someone who has done any supported hikes.

I see that you plan to keep your group size under 10 persons - good. ATC policy discourages groups larger than 10 persons - groups tend to use up/degrade resources at shelters/campsites faster than individuals (especially if more than one group pulls into the same site for the night).

I'm assuming that you plan to do this in early to mid-June, so the trees will be "leafed-out" and you'll probably have as much shade as possible. Bring plenty of sunscreen anyway - it's IMPOSSIBLE to carry a backpack on sunburned shoulders! Also, at this time of the year, water should still be available along the trail in reasonable amounts (unless the area hasn't had much rain), but you might want to plan on using your support vehicle to carry TWICE the amount that you think you'll need.

How do you plan to communicate within the group during the day? Cell phones? (Think chargers and spotty coverage.) FSR 2-way radios? (Think chargers/batteries and limited range.) How many in the group will have had - at a minimum - basic First Aid/CPR training? Wilderness First Responder training? How will you evacuate someone who is injured? (Remember, the EMS system doesn't work too well "off-road" - and that's where you'll be.)

In terms of trail etiquette, "the Golden Rule" goes a LONG way toward making friends. In terms of "giving back"/"paying it forward", the trail maintenence is a GREAT idea, and I'm sure that someone in PATC can come up with a project or two. In terms of generating excitement for the team...I assume that someone in your group with a smart-phone can post a blog or send a daily update to the folks back home????

Have fun. Keep us posted, too.

01-09-2011, 11:14
How long are you planning on being out?

Lemni Skate
01-09-2011, 13:25
We will be out 1 week. Safety is the first concern. The coaches have to be trained in first aid and I'm a pretty experienced hiker (mostly around SNP). I just know some of these kids are going to fall in love with the trail. Good comments and I've written down your advice so I don't forget to address it. Hoping for a June date with the run being very early in the day.

01-09-2011, 14:38
Sounds like great fun - have you given food logistics any thought?