This would be Doug’s 77 mile foothills run. He paced me in Laurel Valley back in March so in return I would be pacing him on his run. Coming into this I was not sure I was healthy enough to be able to make it through this section much less pace another runner. About 2 weeks before D-day I started feeling really good and the weekend before I paced another friend on his 100 mile event which brought back that love of running for me. I knew then I was ready to help my friend on his quest to complete this very mentally and physically demoralizing run.
Friday we all got together at Table Rock State Park where we would get everything in order and finalize the plan. I drove with Andy to Sassarfas mountain at about 11pm this would be the 1st aid stop for Doug. At 12pm Doug and Dan started the run and it would not be until about 3:30am when Doug would reach us to get his aid for the next section. Once he reached this point Andy and I were off to the entrance of Laurel Valley where I would start my job as pacer.
As Doug reached Laurel Valley we got him and me ready for this long stretch. It is a 33ish mile that takes all day. This place seems like it goes on for days never ending never letting up. It was strange at points to be running here again thinking that the last time I was there was with Doug in my run. We started off great then hit a snag taking the wrong turn or better saying NOT taking the right turn. This would put us off pace by about 45 minutes. It was dark, cold we were tired and knowing how long this takes without getting lost was a mental crush. Once we got back on track it took Doug a good hour to get past the mental block of getting lost for that long, but he snapped out of it and was good to go. Again this was a long never ending section of trail. As we finally hit the 13 miles to Whitewater Falls sign we knew we were almost out of there. The only problem is that the last 13 miles takes just as long as the first 20. Thinking that all we had left was a staircase next to the big rock, that one flat section, the crap wooden bridge, the metal bridge, the last stare case and then we would be out. Breaking it down like this helps the only problem is you tend to forget how much stuff is really out there and how long those 13 miles takes. These being my 6th time through here I still forget crap. Well 3 bridges latter and over 2 hours we finally hit the short flat section where Lester was waiting on us. He was a joyful site for Doug and me. We knew there was not far to go after that. We kept asking where the hell it the Dad Creek sign????!!!??? Really where the fuck is it? That would let us know there was a little over 3 miles left. We finally get there and I tell Doug that I was going to push up so I could get there a little before him and let everyone know to get ready for him. That was my plan but Doug stayed on my heals the whole way. I looked back saying how the heck am I going to get there before you if I can’t get any distance? “run faster” he said. Yea right I was shot out NOT going to happen. About the last mile it has some flat parts and I was about to get maybe a 30 sec lead on him. As I pulled up to Whitewater Falls I see the rest of the crew I yelled “runner up” and told them what all Doug needed. This would be the end of the day for me. I was planning on being there till the end but personal dealings came up and I talked to Doug about during the run and he was ok with me leaving saying that when we got out my job was done. Doug went on to finishing and finished so strong taking the 6th fastest known time. Amazing!!!!!! I remember the 1st time I met him and our 1st race together. He is truly a testament of how hard work and training pays off. This run takes a lot out of a person and the last 26 or so miles you are constantly looking for reasons to drop. It is not the kind of run you can take lightly and you have to overcome a lot to get to the end. I am proud to have been a part of his journey to the finish.
Here are the links to the finishes and another for the Foothills Trail 100 Mile Challenge which this being my 3rd run through LV this year I’m happy to say I got on that list.