FKT: David Martin - CT Appalachian Trail (CT) - 2020-07-19

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
11h 45m 58s

At 5 am I started on Hoyt Road in Sherman, Ct to begin what would be the one of the toughest events of my life. Brad Amery joined me on my run from Hoyt Road to Bulls Bridge.  At the start, Alan Darrow came to the recuse at 4:45 am and brought blister kits, trekking poles (which would end up saving the day). When the clock hit 5 am Brad and I started to bulls bridge.  We held a great pace and at that point in the day it was on the cooler side.  It still felt humid and we used headlamps to navigate the terrain.  We arrives at Bull Bridge where Jack McCarron took over.  My boyfriend Art made sure I had my water and fuel and we started up Schaghticoke Mountain.  My dad surprised me to say hi here too. This was terrain I was nervous about, but Jack and I handled it well and made it to Kent Connecticut ahead of schedule.  Here I met up with Ryan Hall who helped me push to Route 4 in Sharon.  At this point Acid reflux kicked in, and I was trying to ease the symptoms in any way possible.  It was slowing down my run.  I thought possibly the electrolytes or cliff bars were a bad choice considering the heat, so at Route 4 I took in watermelon, got rid of the electrolytes, and drank a lot of water.  At the point the temperatures were hitting 97 degrees and it was getting hot!  From there, my PhD advisor Dr. Casa and Ryan joined me on the trek to West Cornwall Rd.  This was a tough segment and I tried to concentrate on my pace.  We got to the road and I decided to change up my shoes and socks since they were soaked, and put AMP Human lotion on my legs.  Art was there to help me eat and drink.  He always had a chair out for me and a tent to sit under.  He filed my Camelbak every time and make sure I had enough food in there.  His parents were there and his mom helped me as well.  I cooled, hydrated and then made my way to route 4.  This was by far the hardest segment.  I pushed ahead and I started to feel incredibly weak, hot, and the acid reflux was bad again.  Gretchen Tuff came to the rescue hiking back up the trail to find me and told me I was close to route 7.  She motivated me to push on. I finally saw the tent with 20+ people cheering me on.  It was an incredible feeling.  Renee, Corey, Rick Steiger, Denise, Dr. Casa's family, Nathan Samuel were all there to help me. I took in some red bull, more watermelon, and pushed on with Tutita and Navia Casa joined me.  They were incredible and help my bottle for me so I could run without a vest.  I got to Great Falls, sat for a bit, cooled, and started up to Canaan Rd with Gretchen. This leg of the trip made me hopeful.  I felt so much better at this point and I was able to converse with Gretchen about life which took my attention off the pain I was feeling.  The last mile was tough, and Nathan came up the til .5 miles from the end to let me know I was close. We got to Canaan Rd and I sat and cooled.  I looked at my watch and saw it was close to 3 pm, 2:55 to be exact. After looking at Drew's and Scott's attempts I knew they spent anywhere from 1:50-2 hours making it to the end from there so I knew I had to get going. Nathan and Gretchen both joined me as we ran down the road to the trail entrance. We got to the trail entrance and we began our run up the mountain.  The trekking poles here were crucial!  We made our way up to lions head in what seemed like the longest trek ever.  At one point I stubbed my big toe and it felt like half of the toe might be falling off.  We made it to lions head and began the trek to the top of bear mountain lookout.  At one point we turned the corner and saw this huge Rock wall and Nathan and I cursed at the same time.  Once we got to the top of the wall I was walking a lot, and Nathan said lets go Dave try to pick it up on the flats.  I did, and then Gretchen ran ahead and her jogging in front helped to motivate me more. We got to the lookout and the highest point on Bear Mountain and that gave me a sigh of relief.  I then knew I had the steep descent to the Sages Ravine sign. I had practiced this the week before, and tried to think of the best paths down the steep rocks.  Nathan kept yelling at me to slow down as I slid down the rock faces, but I wanted to get to the bottom so bad.  Once the descent of the rocks were done, Nathan and I ran to the finish.  Art's parents were there and they stood right on the Mass/CT boarder to let me know where it was and to cheer me on.  I wanted to make it all the way to the sign even though I saw that the previous records had their official times posted from the crossing of the actual boarder. Nathan ran right behind me and I'll never forget him saying once we saw the sign, "Hit that f$c*ing sign!  I hit the sign, gave Nathan a hug, gave Art a hug, and collapsed to the ground where I thought Id stay for the next 24 hours. Dillon from NIX was there, Art's parents, and Gretchen who took her time coming down the rocks due to protect her knee met us shortly after.  We all smiled, laughed, and then made the slowest walk ever out to the cars.  There we tried to clean up and made out way to Lakeville where we celebrated at the Boathouse and I handed out custom made arrowheads from Woodbury Pewter with "AT" inscribed on them to everyone who ran. I chose the arrowheads because we ran through the Schaghticoke Indian reservation and land full of Indian history.  The arrowheads also signify courage, strength, and are meant to ward off evil spirits, so I felt that was appropriate of our day!  I had little to no appetite, but was so happy to have some fresh fries and take a couple sips of a celebratory beer. 

Upon coming back to life and loading my GPS data, I saw something happened to my map before I hot Bear Mountain. I'm sure the gamin watch didn't like being that active in the heat, So what I did was submit my friend Nathan's GPX file as well who was behind me the hole time.  I also have the picture of us crossing the Mass boarder taken by Art's mom who was standing on the line, so I can submit a location/timestamp for that photo too if need be. We started the day at 5:00 am and the GPS has Nathan and I crossing the Mass boarder at 4:45 pm.  

I want to thank everyone who helped make this happen on one of the hottest days of the year.  I am humbled by the amount of amazing, caring, loving friends and family I have around me and It wouldn't have been possible without al of their love for me.  This will be by far one of the most memorable days of my life.