FKT: David Hedges - Nolan's 14 (CO) - 2023-07-15

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1d 15h 6m 40s

I first learned about Nolan’s in high school, back in Chicago, which caused my jaw to drop with its epicness. The day after graduation, in 2016, I drove out to CO to work for the summer before freshman year and get out in these mountains. A lot has happened between now and then, but Nolan’s has always been in the back of my mind, motivating me to train and giving me something to dream about. Over the winter, knowing that I’d get my master’s degree in June and that I’d have till Noemberv to be on my mom’s healthcare plan, I figured that this was my shot to go for Nolan’s, that it would be this summer when I put it altogether. Training and reviewing the route and camping out here this summer has been so so much fun, as was the attempt itself, and I’m immensely satisfied that I got it done.

I didn't believe that the overall time set by Joey Campanelli in 2020 would ever be in reach, but over the last couple of years, as I've gotten stronger, I began to think that maybe I can try. Alex Nichols then commented at some point that he thought sub-40 was possible and I got to thinking that maybe, with a solid crew, I could put the pieces together and do it myself. I still consider Joey's record the stronger one. The level of execution required to run 41hrs through those mountains with nothing but what he started with and his own thoughts is beyond belief. There’s absolutely no way I could have gotten it done without support. I have so much respect for him, his effort, and the amount of stoke he has for this route. Total inspiration. 

Jack Kuenzle was my crew chief. He did a masterful job and made the whole experience that much more enjoyable. He joined me for Mt Elbert and Mt Massive and crewed at Avalanche, Winfield, and Bull/Hwy82. Nikki La Rochelle caught up to us on Massive which where we were greeted by a couple of mountain goats. It was an incredible moment and running down to the Fish Hatchery was a lot of fun, even after such a long journey.

At midnight the night before, Sean Van Horn met me with my night kit on the top of Mt Oxford. We had a great time chatting away, summiting Belford together and saying farewell at Elkhead Pass.

On Friday, Henry Harris crewed me at Alpine and started running with me at the Avalanche Trailhead. I had run out of food and fluids on Princeton just before—it was brutally hot and exposed—and hit a low point going up Yale. Henry revived me and we rallied, running through the afternoon in maybe the most beautiful corner of the Sawatch. Henry was a fantastic guy to train and bounce ideas with in the lead up.

Finally, Alex Nichols deserves an immense amount of credit for this. He let me join him—I wasn’t helpful enough to be considered a pacer—on the second half of his own record back in 2018. Witnessing what he did out there opened my eyes to what was possible in the mountains and as an athlete, changing my life.