FKT: Daniel Zick - AT Four State Challenge (PA, MD, WV, VA) - 2017-11-11

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
13h 32m 51s

I made it successfully! I completed the Appalachian Trail Four State Challenge on Saturday unsupported! Four states and 42.7 miles with a total moving time of 12:05:15, 13:32:51 hours in total overall from start to finish, stopping only to take a few photos, a few bio breaks and to fill up water at the Washington Monument and again in Gathland State Park. I started the long journey in PA at the Mason Dixon Line at 5:38 AM and ended up in VA at the VA/WVA State Line outside of Harpers Ferry shortly after 7:00 PM. The temperature starting out in PA was a chilly 18 degrees and it never really got above freezing the entire trip, but overall the weather was perfect and couldn't ask for anything better.

I had to carry with me all the food I’d need for the entire trip in the back of my hydration vest. I started out the morning with a cup coffee, a banana and bagel with cream cheese right before I left the hotel and went through 2 Clif Shot Bloks, 3 Clif Bars, 1 UCAN Snack Bars, 2 bananas, 3 KIND bars, 3 GU Energy Stroopwafels, an apple and a small bag of pretzels along the way eating every 45 min to an hour. I also carried two 16 oz. flasks in my hydration vest along with a 12 oz. hand-held flask and had to refill twice, once at the well at Washington Monument State Park and again at the well at Gathland State Park. One of the flasks had electrolyte mix in it which also provided some additional carbs and a few calories and the other was plain water.

I tracked the run on my Garmin Forerunner 235 which lasted a surprisingly long time with the heart rate monitor and bluetooth turned off considering how cold it was. When I reached Gathland State Park its battery life was down to around 37% so I decided to hook it up to my portable charger to make sure it would last the remainder of the trip. The portable charger was able to bring it up to 100% charge in a very short amount of time.

For those interested in the data I posted the run to Strava here:

Overall the run for me was a huge personal success and confidence boost since the most I've ever run in a day was a half-marathon in distance and had hiked with a full pack on was 20 miles on the Black Forest Trail several years ago. I have to admit that going from 13.1 miles to 42.7 miles and expecting to run all of "runnable sections" was a bit bullish on my part. There were a lot more rocks than I had expected and most of which were hidden under a layer of leaves which made it more difficult and risky if I were to try and run the whole thing. My goal to complete the challenge in 10.5 hours was a little off, but I think if I were to do this again earlier in Fall before all the leaves have fallen and when temperatures are above freezing I would most certainly improve my overall time of 13:32:51. I would also note that the entire time while I was on the trail I wasn't in "race mode" or trying to go out for a FKT which played into why I was okay with falling off my goal pace and by Gathland State Park my only goal was to just finish.