FKT: David Harlow - Mt Le Conte (TN) - 2020-10-31

Route variation
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1d 20h 41m 22s
GPS track(s)

I ran the Star of LeConte on October 29-31. My route went up Bullhead and down Alum Cave. Here is where I picked up Andrew Ruthenbeck. From there the two of us ran up Alum Cave, down the Boulevard/ AT to Newfound Gap and back up to the Leconte lodge, then back down Bullhead to the parking lot. My wife Dana crewed us at Alum Cave trailhead and Newfound Gap. After resting I ran unsupported up Rainbow Falls, down upper Tillium Gap to Brushy Mountain and Porters Creek Trail to the trailhead, and then returned to the lodge via that same route and then back down Rainbow Falls to the car for more rest. Finally I ran the full length of Trillium Gap Trail to the lodge and then back down.

As mentioned, I had crew support at the Alum Cave trailhead and the AT crossing at Newfound Gap. I also had supplies in my car at the parking lot for Rainbow Falls/ Bullhead/ Trillium Gap shared trailhead. I refilled my water every time at the water pump at the lodge except possibly once. I slept for 90 minutes and 150 minutes at two breaks at a hotel three miles away in Gatlinburg, resuming at the Rainbow Falls/Trillium Gap Trail sign both times.

The weather was one of the biggest challenges. Tropical storm Zeta went over the park the night before, and the road to the trailhead reopened just hours before my run started. That storm had cleared, but a cold front arrived about 3.5 hours into the run bringing rain, fog, and strong winds. The winds at Newfound Gap may have been 60 mph or more as it easily shook the crew car. The weather on the second day was much better once the fog burned off. Temps ranged from about 60 at the warmest point at the base of the mountain, and mid-20s on the second night at the summit.

Much of the route was run at night. Partly this was because of the early evening start time after the work day ended and partly by design to avoid the large crowds on the most popular trails. Navigation is easy on all of the trails except Brushy Mountain since it gets little use and the freshly fallen leaves did a thorough job of hiding the trail bed. 

I'm excited for the person that will one day beat this record. I'd be happy to help make it happen.