With most ultramarathons canceled or significantly altered due to the pandemic, I decided to train to establish an FKT on the D&H Trail this summer. I spent time training on the route on weekends, exploring the parts of the trail I wasn't familiar with. Route finding turned out to be a piece of cake, as the trail is easy to follow and all road crossings are straight across the road and back onto the trail, except one spot around mile 32-33 that I was familiar with.
The day started out cool and clear, with temps right around 60 and low humidity. I was able to maintain my goal pace of 8:00 through the first 25 miles before I started to tire a bit. A few cramps in my right hamstring and calf started to crop up around mile 30, which turned the last nine miles into a mix of running around 8:45 pace with bouts of walking to calm the cramps. The heat and humidity kicked in around the three-hour mark, and in hindsight I now realize I didn't drink enough during the first half of the run when it was cool and comfortable. It was also my first time doing this distance on entirely runnable terrain, as I typically compete in ultras that are technical with a decent amount of vertical gain/loss.
I carried all of my nutrition with me - Gu, Clif blocks and Honey Stinger waffles. My sister resupplied me with water at the 18-mile mark and again with three miles to go. I didn't have anyone running with me, and saw less than 10 people throughout the entire effort.
While I hoped for a faster time, I'm glad to have established this FKT and possibly motivate some of the faster road runners to take a shot at it. I'm confident there are people in the local community who could knock an hour or more off this time.
Just wanted to add that I started in Simpson, Pa. and ran north to the NY/PA border. Forgot to include that in the report.