FKT: Marlin Weekley - Katy Trail (MO) - 2020-09-13

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
3d 10h 8m 7s

Started Thursday September 10th 4:38 am at the Katy Trail beginning by the water tower in Clinton, Mo. David Gossett crew me almost the entire distance to Machens, Mo. The day was mist fog and light rain. 62 degrees and a breeze out of the northeast. The largest town between Clinton and Boonville was Sedalia. I saw only 2 people on the trail during this entire 30 something miles. Sedalia had a detour in place the routed me through town streets adding at least 1-2 miles to the trip my calculations showed. The last 11 miles into Boonville were after dark. I had no pacers on the first day making those last 11 miles into Boonville quite lonely. Day one I stopped at the Boonville Spur trailhead and spent the night at the Quality Inn about 1/2 mile off the trail. A 6 am Day 2 start was a copy of day 2 with misty rain and temps in the low 60s - actually great running weather. After running past the depot in Boonville and through some turns past the casino there I turn north over the bridge with a fresh cup of coffee from my crew and crossed the Missouri River and headed to Old and the New Franklin. Coming into Rochport I had to run through a bit of water in a creek where the bridge had washout. Soon I was coming through a tunnel and into Rochport for resupply of tailwind and fresh brownies then on to McBaine. My next "quality" stop was before Easley at Coopers Landing a campground right on the Missouri River. My sister Nona Jackson joined us at North Jefferson trailhead and took over driving the support van. David paced with me from North Jefferson to Tebbetts trailhead where I concluded the second day. David and spent the night in the Plaza hotel in Jefferson City. Day 3 Saturday 4:00 am I woke up to thunderstorms and heavy rain. There was nothing to do but wait it out. David and I grabbed a "Big Breakfast" at the local McDonalds and headed to the Tebbetts trailhead. There we were confined to the van until the storm passed. It was now 6:38, over 2 hours behind "the plan". It would be a late night/ early morning finish if I stuck to the plan pace of 17:30 we end the day with a 16 mile/min average thank goodness. David had to leave for about 8 hours.My good friend and running buddy Holland Warren took over driving the support van. Before reaching Portland I was met with a boulder slide blocking the trail! Now what? How far would I have to backtrack? Where would I run to to get back on the trail? .I had no cellphone service so I couldn't let Holland know. There was only one option - carefully pick my way up, over and through the rocks and downed trees. Taking my time on the wet rocks I soon made it back on the trail unscathed. David returned at McKittrick. Daughter Megan and son-in-law Nick Leider met us at Treloar. Arriving in Marthasville Nick and I were treated to a fantastic hamburgers and fries Megan got from the local bar and grill. Nick paced me to Augusta where we arrived about 12:30am. Megan and Nick stayed in a local B&B there. I crawled into the van and after some housekeeping and getting gear ready for Day 4 I turn out the light and enjoyed a solid 2 1/2 hour sleep. Waking at 3:45am I was back on the trail at 4:08am to be exact - who forgets watch readings at those hours? David had forgot to give Megan a thermos of coffee when she drove him to his hotel room in Washington - yuck! A 4:08am start alone AND no coffee. I wasn't sure how much more I could bear - lol. This day Day 4 the weather was beautiful. The morning was crisp with a light fog. As I ran through the dark early morning hours tracing the outline of the river a quarter moon with Venus right below followed my every step. This day would be warm if not hot. Not a cloud in the sky - beautiful. Coming in to St. Charles the number of other trail users started picking up. I decided to ask a few people how much further to Machens. The first lady just started laughing, rolled her eyes and said "Machens is a very long way from here". When I explained I had already run about 220 miles since Thursday morning she was quite surprised. The next person I asked was a man who after considerable thought guessed it was just a couple miles up the trail. I thanked and continued on my way - I knew it was about 21 more miles. When I arrived at the train depot in St. Charles not only was David there with the support van but David's wife Holly, sister Nona and Megan and NIck were there too to meet me. Megan and Nick had to get back to their home in Chicago so had stopped there for pictures and to wish me well. Their presence was very uplifting. Nona took over crewing responsibilities at this point while David jogged the last 12 miles into Machens with me. Reaching the "end of the line" literally I was greeted not only by Nona and Holly but also by Holland and his wife Kris. They had driven all the way back from Edwardsville (Il.) to see me finish - a real friend for sure.

At age 68 I never thought my body would allow me to have such an adventure but it rarely complained and to have such great family and friends take time out to be there for me made it all worthwhile. Everyone who does these sorts of runs must have a David. Without him it wouldn't have been possible to have such a great life experience. I am very thankful and blessed to have been able to add to the many wonderful running memories. Many believe you should have a "why" when you embark on unique challenges. I had no "why" only a "why not". My parting advice - go run the Katy Trail.

Marlin Weekley