View Full Version : Running southern portion of trail

01-29-2013, 00:02

I am a marathon/ ultra runner, living in Hawaii and planning a run of the first 400 miles or so of AT, to get an idea of the possibility of running the whole trail (I imagine doing some run/ walking as previous posts have suggested due to the terrain). I'd like to do much of it self supported, but also would like to assemble a team of support along the way. Is there a good community of trail angels on the AT? Any advise from those who have run the trail or know trail/ ultra clubs in the area who would be willing to help support? I've hiked the PCT in 2005 and other long distance trails and run the perimeter of Hawaii in one go, but the mountainous terrain will be new to me. Cheers and mahalo!

01-29-2013, 00:15
Google Jennifer Pharr in Asheville, She has & may still hold the record. Her & her husband own a running/hiking shop in Asheville. She'd be the best source of information.

01-29-2013, 01:51
I don't see how you could pull it off self-supported. Your gonna want a support vehicle to meet you at the end of each day so you don't need to carry any significant amount of gear or food. If your not looking to break any records, you can be mellow about it and do short days with zeros mixed in. Even though your running, no sense killing yourself, eh?

01-29-2013, 08:29
I have run much of the southern 400 miles though not in one shot. There may need to be clarification on terms. Often when I trail run I will have my full PCT thru gear, base weight about eight lbs, to allow me to spend the night on the trail if something up unexpected happens. I could see a pretty straightforward plan to do the first section of trail and resupply using normal resupply points such as Neels Gap NOC etc. There could be a couple of points that you would want a drop such as Newfound Gap in the Smokies but all of this assumes that you would be self sufficient. If your goal is not that and you would HAVE to have support during or at the end of the day then, short of a dedicated crew, you could probably cobble together a number of slack packs with local shuttle services. There are quite a few in the early sections of the trail.

02-04-2013, 09:28
Wait on the the weather to turn friendly so you can get your kit to <20lb and do a lot of the south. Resupply will require a little hitching. Smokies are no biggie -just a 70 mile stretch with no resupply. I have friends that slack it in a day every year. Talk to us at IMTR (http://www.facebook.com/groups/111104795577026/) when you close in on Damascus if you need any help or maybe somebody will run a ways with ya.

02-04-2013, 09:40
As far as trail angels go, there are plenty of people willing to take your money in exchange for services. You can get a random hitch in and out of towns, but as far as dedicated people who just give out handouts because they think what you are doing is awesome, no. There are so many people who make wild claims about how they are going to hike the trail that people are desensitized to this kind kind of stuff. Most of those attempts fail miserably so folks take the idea of I will believe it when I see it.

03-14-2013, 18:09
Thank you for all your input folks! I'm thinking that I'll try as much self supported as possible and use some shuttles for slack-packing as suggested. Malto and JJJ, thank you for the advise! Very helpful and I'm sure I will be posting again with follow up questions.

Yelowsirocco, why so cynical? What's up with that?

03-14-2013, 19:33
Yelowsirocco, why so cynical? What's up with that?

Because once you've hung out on this forum for some time, people with plans similer to yours or even more unrealistic ones come on here and talk about it and then either never attempt the feat or fail miserably with in a few days to a week. Such grand plans and goals are with out exception made by those who have no experiance on the AT and have no credability, so they have no clue what thier getting into and how unrealistic those goals are. Therefore, the cynicisim.

Your going to have to do some serious planning and setting up of the logistics. Asking questions on the forum might point you in the right direction as to where to look for that info and some general advice, but it will fall way short of what you need. A good start is just to do a traditional thru hike so you learn exactly what your up against along the whole trail. Then decide if running it is even practical or advisable.

03-14-2013, 19:49
Yelowsirocco, why so cynical? What's up with that? For the most part, folks on WB just don't get trail running ( there are exceptions). I think it's a regional thing. Trail running appears to be more popular out west (it sure is in Colorado, like folks love to run 14ers), I would assume so in Hawaii as well. Just take the cynnicism in stride.

03-14-2013, 20:23
YOu might want to also contact David Horton in southern VA.
He would have a list of ultra runners in the area and who might help.
Here's a plan for you:
Start at Springer and send and send a box to Neel Gap (mile 30) that way you can start out with a very light pack and get an idea of the weather and the kind of climbs in the southern Appalacians.
Then try to go all the way to NOC at mile 130 If you have to resupply earlier, hitch to Hiawasse (mile 70) or Franklin, NC (Mile 100)
Try to skip Fontana as it is well off the trail and try to go all the way to Hot Springs NC (right on the trail).
If you have to bail sooner, Newfound Gap in the middle of the smokies will get you down to Gatlinburg TN.

Sorry, Don't know the exact milieages and my database won't open. But you should have a data book with you at least.
GOod luck and have fun.

03-14-2013, 20:29
For the most part, folks on WB just don't get trail running ( there are exceptions). I think it's a regional thing. Trail running appears to be more popular out west (it sure is in Colorado, like folks love to run 14ers), I would assume so in Hawaii as well. Just take the cynnicism in stride.

In general it does tend to be a somewhat regional with the concentration out west, but even in the East the sport/activity has exploded in the past 10 years. Many trail run organized events fill up within days of posting the registration entries. This year, the Vermont 100 filled up within days of opening. Lately the Umstead 100 in North Carolina has been filling up under 10 minutes. The Oil Creek 50K in PA fills up within a few days and even our local Croom 50 miler here in Florida sold all its 250 slots a couple of weeks ago. It is crazy how popular this is becomming. The JFK 50 is nuts. I should have done it years ago before it got so crowded.

I understand there is a nice 100 mile trail run in Hawaii and it is suppose to be real popular (HURT 100?). LBC, have you done that one?

03-16-2013, 00:05
I get what you're interested in doing, I've done about 70 ultras and marathons, mostly on trails. My concern would be the problem of getting soaked with sweat and not being able to dry the soiled clothes. Maybe getting chilled and unable to warm up. This is a big problem even with just hiking in the southern Appalachians, especially in rainy weather.
Horton would be a good contact. He might make a lot of things possible for you. Great guy.
But yes, trail running might not make sense to hiking-oriented trail angels and businesses. The most successful trail runners on the AT have always had an RV driving around to service them.