FKT: Michael Stowe - New River Trail (VA) - 2020-04-20

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
8h 16m 49s

I had planned to run the Boston Marathon on my 50th birthday -- April 20, 2020. When the race was canceled I settled on a new challenge: Running 50 miles the full length of the New River Trail (Pulaski to Galax) to celebrate 50 years. I started in a steady rain at 7:47 a.m. when my daughter Eliza dropped me at the Pulaski trailhead. The first four miles felt easy despite the wet conditions. I arrived in Draper (4.2 miles) where Eliza had driven to meet me and run with me for seven miles. I changed my wet shirt and put on my Nathan hydration vest that was packed with gels, chews, turkey bacon, homemade energy balls along with a couple of water bottles (one that included a water filter). Eliza ran with me until mile 11, a little past Allisonia before she turned around. The rain stopped around 10 a.m. and by 10:30 the sun was out. Felt good when I arrived at Foster Falls (mile 22) a few minutes after 11 a.m. The park was closed because of COVID-19 but I had banked on the soda machines outside working. The machines were stocked and I was able to buy a Gatorade and a Pepsi. I ate some peanut butter pretzels, drank the entire 16 ounces of Gatorade and half of the Pepsi (8 ounces) before going down to the river to filter some water for my bottles. My wife Linda met me at Byllesby Dam (mile 35.3) with more gatorade, some energy balls (made of dates/coconuts/coffee) and some pickle juice. My watch battery was running low so I connected to her car charger while I refueled. When I grabbed my watch to head out I saw that it had somehow saved the first 35 miles of my run while charging. Disappointing, but no big deal, I started my watch again to capture the last 15 miles. All went well until the last 3 miles when my quads started cramping. I slowed way down and enjoyed the beautiful day. Linda met me at the finish. The trial is actually just under 50 miles so I added a bit on after finishing the trail. Can't imagine a better way to spend my 50th birthday. Even better than running the Boston Marathon. Happy Trails to all.