FKT: John Parker - Warner Parks Red, White & Blue (TN) - 2022-04-26

Route variation
9 repeats (100 miles)
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1d 3h 57m 19s
GPS track(s)

This is an attempt I have been wanting to do for quite a few years now. The Warner Park system Nashville TN is my favorite place to run on earth.  For years I lived right around the corner from them and would spend many hours running, hiking and biking in them.  For being in Nashville city limits the trail system always blew my mind.  The trails can be extremely technical in a lot of spots, from very rooty and extremely rocky.  There are lots of smooth sections running through valleys of deep forrest. Every season out there is unique and beautiful.  The elevation gain and drop is relatively significant, especially if you do a few sections for hill repeats.

I finally found a weekend to make it happen in the spring when the greenery is stunning out there.  I was planning on doing un-supported, but as the day grew near I decided to ask my friends Jon Cox and Rebecca Jones to support me.  I was coming in town from Florida and it just made things easier, and Io figured why not have some fun with my friends.

This Monday Jon picked me up from my hotel and we set up their truck at Edwin Warner park as an aid station.  We got to the park, devised some sort of a plan, mixed up my tailwind, and I set out at 9:37 am.  As I was nearing the top of the first loop of Edwin Warner Park of around 300 feet of gain the skies absolutely opened up.  I put on my rain coat that ended up only being a wind breaker.  It rained hard for about an hour and I was soaked through, but not cold.  The trail was mostly standing water and flowing water on the descents.  My feet stayed wet for a good 8 hours.  

My goal was to be near 24 hours.  I kept well under target for the first 3 loops of 11.2 miles.  I actually knew that the goal was slipping away after the fourth loop.  I was still well on target at a little over 10 hours for the first 45 miles.  Once loop 5 started it was now dark by the time I got back to the truck to grab my headlamp.  I set out on the 5th loop power hiking.  Rebecca caught me at the bottom of the blue loop and proceeded to finish loop 5 and 6 with me.  Loop 5 we did some slow running on flats and fast power hiking.  Loop six was almost complete power hiking and speed walking.  We did not run but kept a good steady pace.  When loop 6 was ending I told her if I kept this pace I would be out here over 30 hours which I was not going to do.

Loop 7 I went out to finish the night alone.  Mentally I never faltered, but my left knee and hip were just stiff and when I tried to run a few times it just was not happening, so I continued to hike and take in calories.  Finally, at the end of loop seven I started to get it back and ran in the last mile and a half that are a descent and flat connector trail.  

Loop 8 Jon came out with me.  At this point I was feeling a lot better,  the morning sun was coming through the trees, the greenery was stunning, and now I had company.  Jon definitely paced me and we ran every flat section of that loop.  We saw Becca and Jon said, "She is going to push you and you are going to hate that last loop."  By the time Jon and I finished loop 8 I was starting to feel really good.

Loop 9 was just mentally appealing because it was the last time I would be going on every section!  I met Becca at the bottom of blue again and was considering running it all in.  She came up with the strategy of run a mile then walk a mile.  The first mile we ran we went hard.  I was running about my fastest pace of the run yet.  Half way through the last loop I started looking at my watch and telling Becca I wanted to break 28 hours and we would have to push it the last four or five miles and crush the last flat mile and a half.  My goal was to do sub 8 the last mile.  I always like making my last mile on my runs my fastest.  We power hiked up the last steep rocky descent and other than that ran the last four miles.  When we got to the home stretch she grab my poles and opened up.  I felt like I was going low 7 minute splits but was fluctuating between mid 8s and mid 7s.  In my mind I felt great and physically that last loop was the best I felt since loop one.  The final push brought us in under 28 hours by a little over 2 minutes.

It felt good to set a pretty high bar for whoever takes the challenge on next.  I have no doubt someone will go sub 24.  I think on the right day I could do it and might even make another attempt in a year or two, just to spend time in the park again.  Definitely have a new level of respect for Jason's unsupported 100.  

Glad to have a little part of Nashville running history and the fastest known 100 mile time win the Warner Parks.  Do yourself a favor and go run out there.  Middle Tennessee running is incredible.  Bigs takes place about an hour from the Warner parks every year, and the Barkley's are a couple hours away, as well.

Until next time...





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I regretfully submitted, pasted in Word to save the body, and realized this is riddled with many grammatical errors!  Oh well, lol.