I set out on 4/30/2021 to run the length of the Rock Island State Trail from it southern terminus trailhead in Alta, Il. to its northern terminus in Toulon, Il and back unsupported, a distance of approximately 50 miles. The goals were to learn exactly what the length of the Trail is, perform a training long run in preparation for an up coming 100 mile race in order to test gear and fueling choices and to draw attention to the unique scenic trail that is the Rock Island Trail. The Rock Island Trail is somewhat overlooked by many runners. The towns the trail connects all have high schools with track and cross country programs. I want to run the length of the trail to hopefully provide some inspiration and motivation for these young runners to challenge themselves and enjoy more of the trail and distance than they otherwise might.
I began 7:32 am. The weather was overcast and a cool 50F at the start. I had tried the running the Trail out and back on the previous Monday and failed ending my effort at mile 31. The weather had become hotter than expected (84F). I was running the effort "unsupported" which means I was carrying everything from the start. I didn't have enough fluid/electrolytes and I became dehydrated. This effort my fuel/hydration/gear plan was completely different. I carried less pack weight, more electrolyte powder, ate a high protein breakfast and choose a day with less heat and wind. The run to Toulon went to plan. I maintained a slow steady pace of 11-11.5 minutes per minute which included stops at public water spigots in Princeville and Wyoming to refill my bottles. I arrived at the northern terminus in Toulon at 12:13pm for a total time of 4:51:17 for the point-to-point effort on the length of the trail. I quickly saved that effort on my garmin watch and restarted it for the run back to Alta to also attempt to establish an out-and-back FKT for which I will make a separate submission.
For those wishing to run the course unsupported know there is public water source available in Princeville on the front wall of the Village Hall and there is public water available in very clean modern restrooms at the Wyoming trailhead just feet off the trail. For those planning on running "self-supported" there are gas station food marts in Dunlap (off the trail a few blocks), Princeville (on the trail) and Wyoming ( a block off the trail). For those running "Supported" there are many trailheads and rural road crossing where crew could meet you. There is also excellent cell phone coverage with the exception of a low spot between Wyoming and Toulon. For those who wish to bike the length of the trail know that the libraries in the town are located near the trail and have modern bike tool/tire pump stations.