6 brave soles made it to the start line to the RAM which takes place in peak rhododendron season. The balds stand out with distinct colors of pink, red, and orange! The RAM has been an annual tradition for the past three years and we try to run it during peak rhodo blooming season. In the past there have been no female runners/hikers that have finished the entire distance. This year that changed with our very first female finisher, Barbara Babb from Columbia, SC! Way to go Barbara.
2009 RAM finishers
Jim Cobb - SC
John Lewis - ENGLAND!
Mohammed Idlibi - NC
David Petroski - NC
Barbara Babb - SC
Bruce Babb – SC
We started the run at 7:10am and headed North on the AT. We realized this year the trail would be a little longer at 13.7 miles each way (27.4 miles). Now this has become technically an ultra marathon, whoo hoo! How did the AT become longer you ask? Well, apparently some trail work has been done, and a very steep section of trail now has a few switchbacks thrown into it. The grade is not as steep, but the same elevation gain is there, and the trail is a little longer. Despite this fact, this section of trail still is one of my favorites and is very diverse in terrain. A few miles your running on sloppy mud in a pine forest, and then your hovering over boulders that are slippery and loose, tricky stuff. Later you run over some very dense, technical rooty trail. All this with 7,500 of net elevation gain. That’s not all! Check out the long horns that we woke up early in the morning. These guys forced me and Jim to negotiate with them just to cross the trail.
This year me and Jim both made it to 19E (half way point) in exactly 2:50. We had previously stashed some food and water here so that we could refuel. Then start hiking back up. I made it back to the car in a total time of 7:42 and bought a hamburger at the parking lot. The rhododendron festival was going on, and that burger hit the spot for me!
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