Finish Time: 18:24:24
Total Distance: 67 Miles
It was 3:18am and darkness permeated the trail. My two petzel headlamps and my fenix handheld illuminated the path that I had galloped on all night. My mind had been tricked, and I was at the Folk Art Center off the Blue Ridge Parkway 34 miles away from the summit of Mt. Pisgah. The thick white condensation of my breath was even more visible with my triple light beams. I was happy to be here in six hours and forty minutes. In past years it too me longer.
I quickly swallowed two slices of Akropolis pizza and loaded as much food as I could in my one bottle waist strap. It was cold, but I was soaking wet in sweat, and felt warm. I knew better this year to take an extra layer along, despite the mind telling me not to do so. In the 2011 Pitchell, I dropped out at Beetree Gap due to being unprepared for the cold. So I carried along a bright yellow light down sweater, which worked for me, but will likely not use again under these circumstances.
Just before leaving my car, which doubles as the largest aid station for any runner attempting this monster of a run, I grabbed a cold 9 hour hold triple shot Americano. I picked it up a few hours before the run. I guzzled in the caffeine, which jolted my body to keep me awake thus far. Up until now I was wide awake, running alone since 8:38pm Friday night.
As my previous week winded down, I constantly hit the refresh button on the weather forecast. I had Pitchell fever. A night run that goes on throughout the next day from the summit of Mt. Pisgah to Mt. Mitchell has been a keystone run for the Pisgah Nation. I’ve been running it for seven years, and only once before I had completed it from summit to summit. That was in 2007, and for the last thirteen miles or so I ran on the parkway, so not a true finish. This year however, I felt would be a different story.
I made my way to Tim and Lindseys home, where I met her parents and brother. The whole family was participating one way or another in the Pitchell. We ate pizza, and made an effort to attain super hydration. Later Matt, and his parents joined us. I shuffled thru my aid drops, and organized everything I needed to get this adventure done on my own. Tim, Matt, and I drove to the Folk Art Center and dropped off my car. Here I made the mistake of taking all twelve of my aid drops with me in Tim car, not thinking about how the aid drops after the FAC would be dropped.
We made our way to the Hwy 74A South (mile 31) aid drop, Hwy 25 South (mile 26) aid drop, French Broad River Bridge North (mile 26), and dare I say Sleep Gap South (mile 14) aid drop, and just past the Stony Bald Overlook South (mile 6) aid drop.