April 14, 2010
Starting on May 1, 2010, a team of two ultra runners from Northern Alabama will attempt to set the Fastest Known Time on the 335 mile Pinhoti Trail.
In March 2008, the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail was officially linked to the Appalachian Trail by way of the Benton-MacKaye Trail. In Alabama, most of the trail lies within the Talledega National Forest as it begins near Weogufka and traverses along the ridge line over technical terrain for 185 miles northeast to Tecumsah at the Georgia border. From there, the Georgia section of the Pinhoti Trail travels another 150 miles to the Benton MacKaye Trail, which is a connector to the Appalachian Trail.
Attempting this adventure run are Rob Youngren and Eric Charette of Huntsville, Alabama. Born in Woodland, California and attending the Virgina Military Institute for a degree if Physics, Youngren has a long history of ultra running, have completed the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in 107 hours during 1998. Rob has completed over 130 ultra marathons in his career and more recently won the Antarctica Marathon and is a member of the Wasatch Speed Goats. Originally from Kingsford. Michigan, Charette has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Eric has a more recent resume of ultra running with some impressive performances and was selected to the 2010 Team inov-8 US for ultra running.
"I've had this idea to run the Pinhoti Trail for some time now and am excited that it is now coming to fruition," noted Youngren. "The Pinhoti Trail is the 3rd longest National Recreation Trail in the United States according to American Trails and we are hoping to bring to awareness to this fantastic trail system and the volunteers who maintain it."
Guiding them along this journey and serving as crew chief will be Josh Kennedy of Huntsville, Alabama. Josh has run every section of the Alabama Pinhoti trail and with his military background he will diligently guide Youngren and Charette along their voyage. Josh himself is no stranger to long miles on the trail, having completed over 70 ultras and marathons, including a sub-24hr finish last year at the Arkansas Traveller 100 Miler.
"When Rob and Eric first approached me with this idea I was on board right away as I knew that this was going to be an epic adventure," stated Kennedy.
This adventure run will be an attempt to establish the Fastest Known Time (FKT) of the Pinhoti by running it end-to-end. The attempt was publicly declared on the Fastest Known Time website on December 1, 2009. In keeping with the "rules" for FKT attempts as noted by Peter Bakwin and generally accepted by the ultra running masses, Youngren and Charette have created a website to track the progress of the effort which can be found at http://pinhotitrailadventurerun.blogspot.com/ During the adventure run, near real time status updates will be made and once the event is over, all official distances and notes will be complied and documented for future attempts to break the record. Follow along with Twitter updates at http://www.twitter.com/PinhotiTrailAR.
More information on the trail can be found at the Pinhoti Trail Alliance website http://www.pinhotitrailalliance.org/ or on the Georgia Pinhoti Trail Alliance website at http://www.georgiapinhoti.org/.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010