On June 1, 2019 I ran unsupported from the start of the Lenape Trail in Branch Brook Park, Newark, NJ to the trailhead at the Locust Grove picnic area in South Mountain Reservation, Millburn, NJ. I started at 5:10:10 AM and finished at 9:58:27 AM. Some intermediate split times are below:
1:36:13 (12.43M) - Mills Reservation (1st trail section)
2:15:30 (16.98M) - Hilltop Reservation - Cedar Grove Park entrance
2:57:01 (21.98M) - Eagle Rock Reservation
3:38:28 (26.96M) - Entrance to South Mountain Reservation (Mayapple extension)
I ran the Lenape Trail Race fat ass event for the first time earlier this year in March. There was 4-6" of fresh snow on the ground at the start, so it was definitely an adventure. I had a lot of fun, and I kept it in the back of my mind that I wanted to run the route in better (normal) conditions. We have continued to have a historically rainy year here in NJ - it looks like no end is in sight, so I decided to just give it a shot anyway. We had heavy thunderstorms and tornado warnings on Wed/Thurs, but Friday was dry and the humidity finally let up a bit. I decided on a super early start on Saturday morning. Overall the conditions weren't too bad, weather-wise was ok. The worst trail conditions, as expected were the last 7-8 miles in South Mountain Reservation - a lot of mud.
Logistics- I drove to Branch Brook Park and parked by the roller skating rink. I carried all of my fuel and hydration and didn't make any stops. I carried 54 ounces total between Maurten 320 and water - I ended up drinking way less, probably only half. I guess it was due to the lower humidity than what I have been training in recently. After the run, I picked up a Playa Bowl in Millburn and walked home from there, going to pick up my car later in the day.
I would say the best time to do this run is the Spring, if the trail conditions are good i.e. dry. Possibly the winter if it's not too cold and icy. Right now (early summer) a lot of sections of trail are starting to become overgrown, especially with all the rain we've had. You also have to run through some sections of tall grass, so ticks may be a concern.